Dawn speaks at the Westminster Hall Debate on the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry (Gaza) 8 July
I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Halifax (Holly Lynch) on securing the debate. I need to declare an interest because I am vice-chair of Labour Friends of Palestine. I plan to visit Gaza, God willing, this year.
I support a two-state solution, but it must be recognised by neighbouring countries, it has to be sustainable, and peace has to prevail. Part of that must be about educating and empowering a new generation of young people on both sides. Will the Minister tell us what plans the Government have in that regard, including working with organisations such as OneVoice? Palestinian statehood is not a gift to be given, but a right to be recognised. It should be recognised to kick-start the debate on this issue.
When we speak in the House, we must be careful, because we are speaking about the loss of many lives, and the numbers were very disproportionate. During the year of tension, cross-border rocket attacks led to a military offensive by Israel, resulting in the deaths of 2,100 people in Gaza, with 11,000 injured, as well as the deaths of 64 Israeli soldiers and seven Israeli citizens. We need to avoid all such deaths, and some Members need to be careful about how they talk about the loss of such innocent lives.
One priority, which the Minister could perhaps address in his comments, should be rebuilding the houses and hospitals that have still not been rebuilt. It must be the international community’s priority to make sure we provide humanitarian aid and rebuild basic infrastructure. Thousands of people from my constituency contacted me last summer, and some were crying—there was such devastation. We need to address this issue in the best way possible to ensure there is a sustainable two-state solution.