UK politician Layla Moran reveals anguish over Israel-Palestine conflict

Layla Moran reads out in parliament the names of some of the children killed

Pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrate in central London

Pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrate in central London
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Britain’s first MP of Palestinian heritage told the UK Parliament her “heart bleeds”, as she read out names of some of the children killed in Gaza and Israel.

“Ibrahim Al Masry, 11. Marwan Al Masry, 6. Rahaf Al Masry, 10, and Yazan Al Masry, aged just two,” Layla Moran said on Wednesday, as the UK government was summoned to the House of Commons to give its position on the violence.

“These are some of the names of the children killed this week, and last night an Israeli child was added.

“My heart breaks for them … my heart bleeds for Palestine, for Jerusalem, the city of my family, for the worshippers attacked by extremists at the Al Aqsa Mosque on the holiest night of Ramadan and for all innocent civilians – Israeli and Palestinian”, Ms Moran said.

The Israeli government “ignited a tinderbox” through its threatened forced evictions in Sheikh Jarrah, Jerusalem, she said, and condemned retaliatory strikes by Hamas, “because violence only begets more violence”.

Middle East minister James Cleverly said the UK “unequivocally condemns the firing of rockets” at Israel, described as “acts of terrorism from Hamas and other terrorist groups”.

He told parliament Israel had a “legitimate right to self defence”, but in doing so “it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with international humanitarian law and make every effort to avoid civilian casualties”.

Mr Cleverly also hit out at violence against “peaceful worshippers of any faith”. The comment followed the crackdown on Palestinian worshippers at the Al Aqsa Mosque.

“We are concerned about tensions in Jerusalem linked to threatened evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah. That threat is allayed for now, but we urge Israel to cease such actions, which in most cases are contrary to international law,” he said.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called for an immediate end to the violence and said freedom of worship must be guaranteed.

"The indiscriminate launching of rockets from Hamas and other groups towards Israeli civilians is unacceptable," he said.

"While recognising Israel’s legitimate need to protect its civilian population, this response needs to be proportionate and with maximum restraint in the use of force."

On Tuesday, thousands of protesters flocked to London's Downing Street and Israel's embassy in the UK capital amid anger at Palestinian deaths from Israeli attacks.

Some held placards that read “Free Palestine” and “Hands Off Jerusalem”, while others demanded that Israel stop killing innocent civilians.

At one point a protester jumped on top of a group of pro-Israel counter-demonstrators being escorted away by police.

Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader of the UK Labour Party and outspoken advocate for the Palestinian cause, attended the rally.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for calm.

“I am urging Israel and the Palestinians to step back from the brink and for both sides to show restraint,” he said.

“The UK is deeply concerned by the growing violence and civilian casualties and we want to see an urgent de-escalation of tensions.”


In pictures: pro-Palestinian demonstrations around the world