- Labour is split over calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, with Lammy stopping short
- Shadow foreign secretary said he would not accept Gazans’ expulsion
Labour stepped up its criticism of Israel yesterday over its response to the Hamas terror attack of October 7.
Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy said that the damage done over the past two months in Gaza was ‘intolerable’ and attacked two far-right Israeli cabinet ministers for ‘totally unacceptable’ support of illegal settlements in the West Bank.
But he stopped short of supporting a permanent ceasefire, which several Labour MPs are calling for after ten frontbenchers resigned over the issue last month.
Mr Lammy’s words came as fighting intensified in southern Gaza, where thousands of Gaza City residents had fled to at the start of the invasion.
Writing in The Observer, he also accused the Israeli authorities of ‘turning a blind eye’ to violence by settlers in the West Bank, which he claimed has ‘forcibly displaced’ more than 1,000 Palestinians from their homes since October 7.
David Lammy, the shadow Foreign Secretary, said that the damage done over the past two months in Gaza during the Israeli offensive was ‘intolerable’
Labour has been split over whether to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, but David Lammy did not do so
Labour has been split over whether to call for a ceasefire.
Mr Lammy wrote: ‘The people of Gaza, like the people of the West Bank, must know that a Labour government, with the international community, will not tolerate their expulsion. Israel must clearly affirm that Palestinians displaced since October 7 will be able to return to their homes. This must be at the core of our efforts.’
Mr Lammy wrote of visiting a Bedouin community in the West Bank, who had been driven from their village Wadi as-Seeq by ‘an armed group of illegal settlers’.
He added: ‘The death and destruction in Gaza over the last two months has been intolerable. Labour is again calling on both parties to return to a cessation of hostilities, allowing for the release of more hostages [taken by Hamas] and more time to tackle the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.’
It came as heavy fighting raged in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis yesterday as Israel pressed ahead with its offensive, armed with £80million-worth of tank ammunition from the US.
Israel ordered the evacuation of the northern third of the territory, including Gaza City, early in the war, but tens of thousands are believed to have remained there, fearing that the south would be no safer or that they would never be allowed to return to their homes.
Thousands have fled to the southern town of Rafah and other areas along the border with Egypt in recent days – one of the last areas where aid agencies are able to deliver food and water.
Israel has designated a narrow patch of barren southern coastline, Muwasi, as a safe zone but Palestinians have told of desperately overcrowded conditions with scant shelter and no toilets.