All information correct as of 11th December 2023 at 16:30

The position on the ground and the response to it is obviously moving all the time. We all want the same destination but there has to be a process to get us there.

For example, we thought the security council motion at the UN at the weekend was correct and we will continue to call for a cessation of hostilities in Gaza to give us space and time to alleviate the suffering of Palestinian civilians by getting food, water, electricity, medicine, and fuel into Gaza and to release of all remaining hostages and, of course, to bring an end to the hostilities permanently. 

We have stepped up our criticism of Israel and the way in which they seem to be disregarding international humanitarian law which is why we have consistently demanded the involvement of the International Criminal Court.

You can see this published piece from our Shadow Foreign Secretary from yesterday (Sunday 10 Dec) criticising, again, Israel and their disproportionate response to this crisis here

He also wrote yesterday about the intolerable situation in the West Bank which you can read here.

However, the reality is Israel continues to carry out it’s military operation and Hamas has continued its fighting while refusing to return hostages to their families, so it is crucial that while pushing for this the UK and partners are clear that military action must meet clear conditions that adhere to international and humanitarian law. The ICC are now invoked which is a huge step forward in holding those to account but that won’t help the current issues today.

It’s still important to ensure we can get to an end to this crisis and yesterday as a priority. 

The UN resolution would have been a step forward and the IRCC was good on this yesterday.

They said, and we agree,

“The International Rescue Committee (IRC)  has set out the conditions needed for a meaningful humanitarian ceasefire. It must be continuous, cover all of Gaza, be agreed by all parties and monitored by the UN, and come alongside a rapid humanitarian scale up, including fuel, goods and staff via all available crossing points. Israel’s restoration of reliable supplies of fuel, electricity and water is essential.

A humanitarian ceasefire must last long enough to scale up aid, establish safe movement of aid workers, and identify, communicate and protect routes to safety for civilians. It must also enable the safe release of hostages held by Hamas. This is the bare minimum needed. We are clear that achievement of these goals requires adequate time – to be driven by humanitarian needs. The longer a humanitarian ceasefire is delayed, the longer it will need to last to be of help to civilians and to establish basic humanitarian infrastructure.

Under international humanitarian law, parties to the conflict must take all measures possible to ensure the protection of civilians. UNSC resolution 2712 highlights the specific needs of children  – and rightly so. Half of Gaza’s population are children. Thousands have been killed. We expect many will be unaccompanied and separated and in need of protection services.

A humanitarian ceasefire is one step towards getting civilians urgently needed care and protection. This will allow desperately needed support to reach civilians on the ground. The Security Council’s role in delivering it began but cannot end today. The primary driver of humanitarian need remains the conflict. While that rages, suffering will continue.”

And that is our priority too and always has been.

  1. We have been clear, Israel must not besiege or blockade Gaza, they must comply with international law and protect innocent lives. This is clearly not happening which is why everyone is focussed on getting this stopped.
  2. Israel must not replicate the kind of devastating tactics it used in the north although it appears that this is not the case and the indiscriminate loss of innocent lives and the humanitarian situation are worse.
  3. They must protect civilian infrastructure like schools and hospitals and ensure attempts to address the humanitarian catastrophe are ramped up and not hindered. The warnings from humanitarian agencies on the ground are clear of the humanitarian catastrophe.
  4. Labour shares the concern and frustration of international partners, including the UN, that a week into its campaign in the south of Gaza, these conditions are not being met despite huge pressure on Israel and intensive diplomatic discussion in Qatar. 
  5. Despite the demands of the international community made of Israel (and indeed Egypt), aid isn’t getting through in the volume needed and far too many civilians are being killed. Hamas continues to hold hostages which is providing Israel cover. This situation is unacceptable.
  6. It is right that the UN Security Council is debating the appalling situation in Gaza and it’s disappointing the UN resolution didn’t pass but two things come from it. Firstly, the inability of the UN to enforce its current resolution on extended pauses and that more work needs to be done to get the consensus needed to get to a ceasefire.
  7. The stark warnings from the UN should concern us all and show the urgent need for action to relieve the suffering on the ground.
  8. We need a return to the truce we saw last week to protect civilians, prevent displacement, ensure humanitarian access, and release hostages. The must be extended and used for a process towards a full ceasefire.
  9. The international community can and must use the next cessation to make political progress towards what we all want an end to conflict and a permanent ceasefire.
  10. That means creating the conditions where Israel is secure from another attack like October 7 and Palestinians can see a path to statehood and the reconstruction and renewal of Gaza. As the UN stated, it must also allow the release of all hostages.

I hope that is helpful in showing what we are trying to achieve.

 Allied to this is the key issue of Palestinian Statehood Recognition after this current crisis that many have mentioned.

  • The Labour Party will work alongside international partners to recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel, as part of efforts to contribute to securing a negotiated two state solution.
  • Palestinian claim to statehood is not in the gift of a neighbour. It is an inalienable right of the Palestinian people and the clear logic of any call for a two-state solution.
  • The timing and the mechanism by which Palestinian Recognition takes place will continue to be a matter decided by an incoming Labour Government. 


  • Since 2014, the Labour party has supported of the recognition of the state of Palestine and we remain committed to this. The NPF reached agreement on this policy in July, which is to work alongside international partners to recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel, as part of efforts to contribute to securing a negotiated two state solution.
  • Labour’s position is consistent with its stance from 2014, when Labour supported the recognition of the Palestinian state ahead of the conclusion of a final status agreement.

Keir Starmer and Labour engagement on Crisis in Gaza last week and this week

We have forced another debate today in Parliament as we have done every week of this crisis. We continue to press the UK Government on finding a solution.

You can see the outcome here and click on the debate.  

Yesterday David Lammy published this in the Observer newspaper:

In the last week we have seen detailed engagement by Keir Starmer on the current crisis in Gaza, both on how we tackle the immediate humanitarian catastrophe and also how we create a political process for the longer-term peace towards a full and permanent ceasefire.

While at the COP, Keir’s meetings included:


King Abdullah II of Jordan:

On Friday 1st, Keir Starmer and David Lammy met with the King of Jordan, His Majesty Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein.

They agreed on the need to return to a cessation of hostilities to allow for the release of more hostages, provide much needed time to tackle the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and open a dialogue for a political solution that provides for a long-term peace. They also discussed the situation on the West Bank with an unacceptable rise in settler violence towards Palestinians. 


The Emir of Qatar:

On Saturday 2nd, Keir Starmer met with His Highness Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar. Keir Starmer paid tribute to Qatar’s work in securing the release of hostages we had seen during the recent humanitarian pause and they agreed on the need to get back to a cessation of hostilities as quickly as possible. 

The Emir said long-term stability required a Palestinian state and they both agreed that the international community had not put sufficient effort into delivering the two-state solution in recent years.l resulting in the current crisis. 


UN Secretary General:

Keir Starmer met with Antonio Guterres and passed on his condolences for the loss of UN staff in Gaza. The UNSG said he had been so impressed by the work UN staff were doing but that we needed far more humanitarian aid to get into Gaza.

The two discussed the future for Gaza, how we ensure Israel has the security it needs, and the Palestinians can have a state in both Gaza and the West Bank to secure peace in the longer term and how the UN can help deliver that.


Arab Ambassadors to the United Kingdom:

Prior to travelling to COP, Keir hosted all the Arab Ambassadors to the UK for a discussion at Labour HQ. In addition to seeing Palestinian Ambassador Zumlot at that meeting, they had a further 1:1 session to discuss the option for getting a process towards a permanent ceasefire and talks towards a permanent peace.


You can find my previous response here.

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