The British Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Conservative MP, Tobias Ellwood, has told parliament that the Israeli military have attacked the Gaza Strip on “at least 696 occasions” since the August 2014 ceasefire declared at the end of Operation Protective Edge, they have been in response to 29 attacks on Israel from rocket attacks from Gaza.Mr Ellwood cited United Nations figures, when answering a question asked by Labour MP Alex Cunningham. Mr Cunningham asked on September 4th:
“How many times [have] the Israeli military have opened fire into Gaza since August 2014; and what steps his Department is taking to prevent future such incidents?”
He added that officials acting on behalf of the UK government in Israel have “raised our concerns over the Israel Defence Force’s use of live fire in Gaza with the Israeli Government. We are continuing to urge the parties to prioritise progress towards reaching a durable solution for Gaza.”
“We are aware of Israeli forces responding to illegal rocket fire from Gaza with 29 strikes since the 26 August 2014 Gaza ceasefire agreement. According to figures from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Israeli forces have opened fire into the Gaza Access Restricted Areas on land and sea on at least 696 occasions since then.”
We at the Liberal Democrat Friends Of Palestine urge all parties to cease from violence and sincerely pursue a lasting peace, however we must note that Israeli forces, attacking the highly impoverished Gaza Strip 700 times in 13 months, are making a mockery of the ceasefire. We are pleased that British officials have expressed concern over the IDF’s military action in Gaza, but that is not enough. Continued military action is only a part of the problem. Earlier this month the UN predicted that the Gaza Strip will become “uninhabitable” in less than 5 years, due to Israeli aggression, both military and economic. We ask that the Israel government help stop, what the United Nations describe, as the “de-development” of Gaza and to do more to make the lives of the humans on the Gaza Strip more bearable and stop it becoming a wasteland of poverty, death and destruction.