Meetings to discuss interception of the Free Gaza Flotilla

This morning, I held two meetings to discuss Israel’s interception of the Free Gaza Flotilla. There is justified horror and anger at events. First, I met members of the Wycombe Muslim Communication Forum before meeting Conservative Muslim councillors.

Over the next few days, the Muslim Communication Forum will provide feedback to me on the Foreign Secretary’s statement to the House of Commons. I will then send a briefing note to the Foreign Secretary on local views and give an expanded personal position on this site.

While I support EDM 127, I have declined to sign it because, for reasons which were accepted in my meetings, I do not support the mechanism of “Early Day Motions”: I intend not to sign EDMs at all, irrespective of whether I agree with their content. I will explain further this position on another occasion.

The EDM reads as follows:

That this House is appalled by the loss of life associated with Israel’s attack on the flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza; notes that UK and other nationals have been held by Israel despite the attack having taken place in international waters; endorses the call of the United Nations Secretary General for a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards; recognises that Israel’s blockade which has destroyed the economy of Gaza and deepened poverty still inflicts widespread suffering and, by imposing collective punishment on the people of Gaza, is itself contrary to international law; and calls on the international community to require Israel to end its blockade and to redouble international efforts to secure a lasting settlement with a secure and independent state of Palestine alongside a secure and independent Israel.

I support this position in addition to the British Government’s position as set out by the Foreign Secretary. Specifically, it is a tragedy that UN Security Council resolution 1860 has not been implemented, including ending the blockade to enable “the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including of food, fuel and medical treatment.”

Wycombe constituents who wish to express a view are invited to do so through the Wycombe Muslim Communication Forum, through the Muslim councillors or by sending me mail using this contact form.

In the meantime, I see Israeli troops have boarded the MV Rachel Corrie (BBC). Al Jazeera reports that the Israeli intention is to transfer aid from the ship to Gaza. I will monitor how the situation develops but the entire episode illustrates the need for all parties to work towards a viable, peaceful, two-state solution which recognises the equal value of every person.

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