My replies to correspondence on Gaza


I know the anguish that so many in Wycombe are feeling at this time, so I have prioritised responding sooner rather than later. Given the volume and scope of the correspondence I have received on this issue, I am sorry it is not possible for me to respond to every point raised in every email. 

Hamas are terrorists proscribed by law in the UK, who murdered innocent people in the most abominable way and on a mass scale. Our community in Wycombe has rightly united in condemning the group unequivocally. As the Prime Minister has stated, it is clear Palestinians and Israelis alike are victims of Hamas, and the UK supports Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas in line with international law. The depths of Hamas’ depravity have shocked us all. 

I know this is a time of great concern for many in Wycombe. An acute humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Gaza, and the Government must respond. I was relieved to see the Prime Minister announce that the UK would increase its aid to the Palestinian people by a third, with an additional £10 million of support. 

As the Prime Minister said on Monday, there are many who are appalled by Hamas’ actions, but fearful about what will happen next to people living in the area. As the Foreign Secretary said in relation to Hamas’ attack on Israel, there is never justification for the brutal targeting of civilians. I am well aware of the belief of many of my constituents that Israel’s actions in Gaza are not in accordance with international law, and I am clear we must listen, as the Prime Minister said, to these concerns with the same attentiveness we pay to the Jewish community. 

I have long made the case for a two-state solution, including by voting to recognise the state of Palestine, which you can read more about here: 

I am horrified to see the actions of Hamas move the hopes of Palestinians backwards. I remain committed to the Government’s long-standing support of a two-state solution, while resolving to stand against all those who threaten that prospect. 

?How just war is conducted and how nation states fight terrorism matters very much indeed to the present state and future of our civilisation. I have received many representations about double standards in the treatment of Israelis and Palestinians by the UK Government, by the EU and others. I have in turn made representations on behalf of Wycombe residents to the Prime Minister, his team and other ministers. 

I am clear that innocent life is equally valuable everywhere and that justice under the rule of law is for all, Palestinians and Israelis alike. 

I continue to listen carefully to local people and to represent their views appropriately. At such a time, it is vital we all stick peacefully to universal principles of justice and humanitarianism. I will continue to emphasise that to my colleagues in Government. 

I very much hope we will unite around our shared values here in Wycombe. 

Yours sincerely, 
 
Steve Baker

I know the anguish that so many in Wycombe and across the UK are feeling at this time. Given the volume and scope of correspondence I have received from constituents on this issue, I am sorry it is not possible for me to respond to every point raised in every email. 
 
The loss of innocent lives in Gaza is a terrible tragedy. There is never justification for the brutal targeting of civilians on any side. 

Innocent life is equally valuable everywhere and justice under the rule of law is for all, Palestinians and Israelis alike. For these reasons, I have supported increasing humanitarian aid to Gaza, and made clear that we must have humanitarian pauses to allow for aid to reach all civilians in Gaza. 
 
The Prime Minister also stated this in his Lord Mayor’s Banquet speech this week, 
 
“Israel must take all possible measures to protect innocent civilians, including at hospitals, stop extremist violence in the West Bank and allow more aid into Gaza. Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority, described to me the terrible suffering of the Palestinian people. Too many civilians are losing their lives. That’s why I’ve doubled our aid to Gaza and why we continue to press – both at the UN and directly with Israel – for unhindered humanitarian access and urgent and substantive humanitarian pauses.” 
 
The reason the Government and I have called for humanitarian pauses rather than a ceasefire is that Hamas do not want a ceasefire and have a track record of breaking them. Moreover, the leaders of Hamas have stated “we will repeat the October 7 attack time and time again until Israel are annihilated”. As a result of these statements, Israel has concluded Hamas do not want a ceasefire and that Hamas will not keep to one even if it is agreed. 
 
For these reasons, I support the Government in pressing for regular humanitarian pauses and using our international pressure to push Israel to implement them and to protect civilians. 

?As a Government minister, I will be voting with the Government. As your MP, it is with a heavy heart that I must tell you I think to vote for the motion calling for a ceasefire would merely be a gesture that will not actually help the Palestinian people. The British Parliament can try to pressure Israel’s Government but, ultimately, Israel will do as it decides and it has been clear that it will not countenance a ceasefire. Our efforts to help the innocent civilians trapped in Gaza are best spent united in pushing for humanitarian pauses so aid and support has a realistic possibility of reaching them. 
 
Thank you again for your email. 
 
Yours sincerely, 
 
Steve Baker

As I have said on many occasions, I am clear that the loss of innocent lives in Gaza is a terrible tragedy. There is never justification for the brutal targeting of civilians on any side. Innocent life is equally valuable everywhere and justice under the rule of law is for all, Palestinians and Israelis alike. Given the volume and scope of correspondence I have received from constituents on this issue, I am sorry it is not possible for me to respond to every point raised in every email. 

I have long made the case for a two-state solution, including by voting to recognise the state of Palestine, which you can read more about here: https://www.stevebaker.info/2014/10/recognise-palestine. I remain committed to the Government’s long-standing support of a two-state solution, while resolving to stand against all those who threaten that prospect. 

The Foreign Secretary made clear in a recent Sunday Times article that the Government supports a ceasefire which is sustainable. In the article, Lord Cameron said: 

“We know from our engagement in the region and debate in our own countries that this feeling is widespread. Only extremists like Hamas want us stuck in an endless cycle of violence, sacrificing more innocent lives for their fanatical ideology. But our goal cannot simply be an end to fighting today. It must be peace lasting for days, years, generations. We therefore support a ceasefire, but only if it is sustainable.” 

I support the Government in pressing for a sustainable ceasefire and using our international pressure to push Israel to protect civilians. The UK Parliament can try to pressure Israel’s Government but, ultimately, Israel will do as it decides. Our efforts to help the innocent civilians trapped in Gaza are best spent united in pushing for more aid into Gaza and a long-term sustainable ceasefire. 

Yours sincerely,

Steve Baker

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