Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 7 August 2014


The situation in Gaza is truly appalling, with young children being caught up in the conflict that is not of their making. I have had many e-mails on this subject in the past few weeks and have tried to explain how hard it is for the British government to do or say anything meaningful. Of course, we all want to see a lasting cease fire and then momentum towards a lasting peace.

 I have been to Israel/Palestine four times throughout my parliamentary career and each time come away with an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. None of us who have hopefully entered politics for the right reasons like to think that there are political problems in the world which are utterly unsolvable, but I suspect that this is where we are on the Middle East. I have taken part in countless discussions with Palestinian politicians who always (in one sense understandably) want to recite the history of this conflict (right back to the Balfour declaration) but it gets us nowhere. 

We cannot undo the past when the State of Israel was created in this land. When asked about how this might be solved, looking forward, there is never any answer. 

Israeli politicians are impressive but hard-nosed. They act as though they are fighting for the very survival of their State, which in a very real sense they are. The USA continues to support Israel through thick and thin and their leaders, whether we like it or not, do not listen to the views from any other nation. 

On my last visit, we experienced the difficult circumstances in which people in Gaza are having to live, hemmed in on all sides. It must have been exhilarating when the people of this troubled land elected a terrorist organisation to lead them some years ago, but it has proved to be a disaster. Our delegation was subjected to a Hamas rocket attack while there and had to sit under the table for a while until we received the all-clear. I understand why after 2,000 missiles sent over this year alone, Israel felt it had to act. 

But as ever, they do not do things by halves and it has been distressing to see some of the consequences. 

We need the United Nations to carry on working for a ceasefire. We need the United States to re-engage in trying to find a long term settlement. Short of this, this situation will fester on.

posted by Gary @ 09:53