I am deeply concerned by the recent activities of Hamas in Gaza, including attempts to rearm and rebuild tunnel infrastructure. These actions undermine efforts to improve the situation in Gaza and harm prospects for the Middle East peace process. Hamas must renounce violence, recognise Israel and accept previously signed agreements.
The Government’s policy towards Hamas is clear – it does not have contact with Hamas, which is a proscribed terrorist organisation. Hamas must make a credible movement towards the conditions set out above, which remain the benchmark against which their intentions are judged, before we consider a change in our stance.
Israel, like any state, has the right to ensure its own security, and its citizens also have the right to live without fear of attack. I can assure you that the UK will continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself. The UK Government has called on Iran to end its financial support for Hamas as well as its supply of military equipment.
There is an urgent need for all parties to reach an agreement that addresses the underlying causes of conflict in Gaza and to take the necessary steps to ensure Gaza’s reconstruction and economic recovery. Any agreement should ensure that Hamas and other militant groups permanently end rocket and other attacks against Israel, that the Palestinian Authority resumes control of Gaza and restores effective governance, and that Israel lifts its restrictions to ease the suffering of ordinary Palestinians.
I can assure you that the UK remains focussed on securing progress towards a two-state solution, with a sovereign and democratic Palestinian state living in peace and security alongside Israel. Only a negotiated settlement can achieve this.