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UK Labour Party foreign policy chief visits Israel

November 20, 2023 at 9:58 am

Protesters holds banners which read “3457 Children Have Been Killed In Gaza”, left, and “David Lammy Blood On Your Hands” outside Chatham House ahead of a speech by Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, in London, UK, on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023. [Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

Britain’s opposition Labour Party said on Sunday that its foreign policy chief is visiting Israel and the occupied West Bank and meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and the Palestinian Authority’s Deputy Foreign Minister Amal Jadu. Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy will also meet Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, opposition leader Yair Lapid and the leader of Israel’s Labor Party, Merav Michaeli, Reuters has reported.

Labour has been divided over its position on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, with nearly a third of the party’s lawmakers defying leader Keir Starmer last Wednesday to back calls for a ceasefire. Several of his policy team quit over the vote.

Starmer, like Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the US and the EU, has called for “humanitarian pauses” to help aid reach Gaza rather than a ceasefire which, they say, would allow Hamas to regroup after its attack on 7 October.

According to Lammy, if elected to government Labour would be “tirelessly committed” to diplomacy required to help deliver “a real, not rhetorical, path to two-state solution.” Labour is far ahead in opinion polls before a General Election expected next year.

“The ultimate end to conflict we all want to see won’t happen simply by affirming that we want it to happen,” Lammy said in a statement from Israel. “Hard diplomacy is required with all governments in the region to deliver a longer pause immediately to respond to the shocking humanitarian emergency in Gaza, secure the release of hostages so cruelly taken by Hamas and as a necessary step to an enduring cessation of violence.”

The Labour Party official made no mention of the dozens of Palestinians, including women and journalists, detained by Israel in the occupied West Bank since 7 October.

READ: 15 Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes on Khan Yunis, Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza