Burnley MP calls for de-escalation of Israel-Palestine conflict

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham has asked the Minister of State for the Middle East an Urgent Question in Parliament, joining efforts to de-escalate the rising conflict that is currently unfolding in Israel-Palestine.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 9:23 am
Updated Thursday, 13th May 2021, 9:24 am
Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham raised an urgent question in the House of Commons

In recent days there has been heavy fighting centred around Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Gaza.

The rocket attacks and military activity in response follows an increase in tensions throughout the last week, particularly in East Jerusalem, where confrontations with the police have been happening.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Higginbotham said: “In the last few days, I’ve been contacted by hundreds of constituents, concerned by the proposed evictions in Sheikh Jarrah, the activities outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the events we’ve seen in the last 36 hours.

"Could the Minister reassure me, [my constituents] and the whole House, that the Government will use the full power of it’s diplomatic network to de-escalate the immediate issue and then bring both sides back to peace talks - because that’s the only way that we can prevent events like this happening again.”

Responding James Cleverly MP, Minister of State for the Middle East said: “The Al-Aqsa Mosque is one the holiest sites in Islam, and Jerusalem has the privilege of being the home of a number of the holiest sites in the Abrahamic religion. Therefore the policing of Jerusalem needs to be at all times sensitive - I’d say particularly so during the holy month of Ramadan.

"I can assure [Antony], and others, that the UK Government will work tirelessly to bring about a resolution to this, so we no longer have to see the distressing images that we have seen in Jerusalem and other parts of Israel And that we no longer have to hear about fatalities.”

Speaking after the House of Commons, the Burnley MP added: “I know there are people across Burnley and Padiham who have friends and relatives in Israel or Palestine, and who are worried about their safety. What we need to see now is a rapid de-escalation to ensure innocent lives are not lost, and a resumption of peace talks between the two sides so the issues that led to this can be discussed and resolved.

"It was good to hear the Minister reaffirm that this remains the Government priority too, with the Foreign Secretary having spoken to his Israeli counterpart and the Palestinian Prime Minister to offer our support in resolving the conflict.”