There has never been such disquiet among MPs across all parties about the government’s support for Israel’s attack on Gaza. The resignation of government minister Baroness Warsi is one indication. Now a number of MPs are calling for Parliament to be recalled to debate the issue, including Jeremy Corbyn, whose letter to David Cameron is reprinted below.

Commons notepaper

Dear Prime Minister

I write to you to request that you recall parliament in view of the serious violations of international humanitarian law taking place in and around the Gaza Strip, and requiring urgent attention.

The death toll is rapidly escalating and today’s Oxfam statement suggests a current death toll of 1800 Palestinians, and more than 9000 injured. 59 Israelis have been killed, 56 of whom are members of the Israeli armed forces.

We have a moral obligation and a duty to our constituents to reconvene so that the escalating crisis can be properly debated with a view to the government being able to be more pro-active toward ending the killing and bringing those responsible to justice.

By repeatedly championing Israel’s “right to defend itself” above anything else, the UK is seen by many as being complicit in the wholesale slaughter of Palestinian civilians, and thus in violating the Geneva Convention.

The intensive Israeli bombardment has now continued for four weeks and that is wholly unacceptable. In the debate on the subject just before the House rose there was considerable opposition from all sides of the House to Israel’s actions, and that was now some time ago. Members’ inboxes were filling up with desperate please for action at that point. We must take a stand and not fall into the trap of considering our position to be of less importance than that of the US, in terms of a call to action. That is indeed a damning approach, and lobbying for peace deserves a greater effort on our part. I write on the anniversary of the “war to end all wars.”

Issues I’d like to see addressed include:

Why Britain abstained at the UN Human Rights Council recently when a vote came up regarding a Commission of Inquiry into Israeli actions.

The nature of the military relationship between Britain and Israel / arms supplies between the two.

What diplomatic actions are being taken regarding respective ambassadors: Why the Israeli Ambassador has not been called in for discussions in view of the terrible situation caused by the Israeli bombardment, and why the British Ambassador to Israel has not been recalled for consultations.

These and more are clearly matters that are crucial to parliament. I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards 

Jeremy Corbyn MP

Islington North; Tel 020 7219 3545; e; (

Copy to Speaker John Bercow

05 Aug 2014

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