Foreign AffairsSpeeches

Alicia Kearns – 2023 Speech on Israel and Gaza

The speech made by Alicia Kearns, the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, in the House of Commons on 16 October 2023.

Saturday’s terror attack on Israel constituted crimes against humanity—crimes so heinous that they violated our understanding of the depths of human depravity. That depravity continues today, as innocents remain held hostage by Hamas terrorists and their patrons, the state of Iran.

Israel has a legitimate right to self-defence and to defeat Hamas. We can support Israel and grieve with its people while recognising that how a counter-terrorism operation is conducted matters. It matters because Israel’s actions as a rule-of-law nation, and our words as its friend, shape our ability to be a legitimate arbiter in future conflicts and to have the right to call out abusers such as Russia. It matters because although there is an imperative to defeat Hamas in the immediate term in order to secure Israel’s future, how they are defeated will shape the region’s future, and because the people of Gaza are not Hamas—1.2 million children bear no collective guilt for Hamas’s terror.

So today I repeat my call for the creation of a special envoy for the middle east peace process. Will my right hon. Friend tell the House more about what actions are being taken to prevent conflict and loss of life on the west bank and in East Jerusalem? When will we finally proscribe the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps?

The Prime Minister

With regard specifically to the west bank, this is something about which I spoke to Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority this morning. I also spoke yesterday to His Majesty the King of Jordan. We discussed the measures that are necessary and the support the UK can provide to ensure the strong stability of the west bank. No one wants to see the situation escalate. I assure my hon. Friend that we are in active dialogue with both partners to see how we can help bring that stability to the west bank. Indeed, it is something I will also continue to discuss with Prime Minister Netanyahu. It is important that the west bank remains calm, and that is what we will help to bring about.