WORCESTER'S MP has called on the Prime Minister to use “every diplomatic tool in the box” to cool down tensions in Gaza which has already led to the deaths of more than 500 Palestinians.
Robin Walker who attended a protest outside the Guildhall in Worcester on Friday has asked David Cameron to do everything he can to de-escalate the violence in Gaza and bring both sides to the negotiating table.
He spoke during a statement by the Prime Minister which was announced to talk about the crises in Ukraine, the shooting down of flight MH17 and the Israeli invasion of Gaza.
Mr Walker told the PM: “I am sure that everyone in the House wants an end to rocket attacks, but on Friday I met literally hundreds of my constituents—people from mosques, churches, and people of no religion at all—who had taken to the streets of Worcester because of their deep concern about the humanitarian situation in Gaza. May I urge the Prime Minister, on their behalf and mine, to use every diplomatic tool in the box to impress on both sides in this conflict the need to bring about a ceasefire, come to the table and work towards a long-term peace?”
The Prime Minister replied: “That is absolutely what we are doing. In particular, we are pushing this Egyptian ceasefire plan, to which others are prepared to sign up. We need Hamas to sign up to it, too. When we get to the talks process, we need to press Hamas to accept the Quartet principles, which include Israel’s right to exist. It is difficult to negotiate with an organisation that does not accept that the country with which we are negotiating has any right to exist.”
Mr Walker met hundreds of his constituents on Friday where they had gathered to express their concerns about the humanitarian situation in Gaza. While not taking part in the protest, he was there to listen and to hear their concerns so that he could reflect them in Parliament.
Mr Walker visited the Palestinian territories in 2011 when he travelled to the West Bank and met with spokesmen from both sides in the long running conflict as well as a number of well-known human rights groups. In his maiden speech in the Chamber, he raised concerns about the blockade of Gaza and he has previously spoken out in Parliament to urge respect for human rights organisations and to support UN recognition for Palestinian statehood.
Following his discussions with a wide range of constituents including church groups, Muslim men and women and a number of local councilors, Mr Walker has written to the Foreign Office to raise their detailed concerns.