David Lammy has accused world leaders of being “content with delusions of wishful thinking” when it comes to the Middles East and the failure to work for a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.
The shadow foreign secretary’s comments came ahead of a visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, the first from Keir Starmer’s frontbench to do so since Hamas’ 7 October attack.
Lammy is set to meet with politicians such as Israeli president Isaac Herzog as he calls for a “longer pause” to the conflict to alleviate the “shocking” humanitarian emergency in Gaza.
Lammy will also meet with the Palestinian Authority’s deputy foreign minister Amal Jadou in the West Bank.
The shadow foreign secretary also visits with a message for Labour’s Gaza rebels, who backed a ceasefire in the conflict last week in opposition to the Party’s official position.
In total, 56 Labour MPs backed an SNP amendment to the King’s Speech on Wednesday night calling for “all parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire” in Gaza.
10 frontbench resignations, including former shadow Home Office minister Jess Phillips, followed.
Dozens of Labour MPs break rank to defy Keir Starmer over vote for ceasefire in Gaza
Rejecting calls for a ceasefire, Lammy has said peace “won’t happen simply by affirming that we want it to happen”.
He added: “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.”
It comes as hundreds of pro-Palestine protesters gathered outside the Labour leader’s office in north London on Saturday demanding a ceasefire.
Chants of “Keir Starmer’s a wasteman” could be heard.
Responding, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves told Sky News: “In a democracy, we elect our MPs and they make decisions. They represent their constituents but they also listen to all of the evidence. Anything that would attempt to intimidate an MP to vote in a certain way, or to put pressure on them – it is anti-democratic, in my view.”
Lammy also criticised world leaders for failing to realise the threat posed by Hamas ahead of 7 October.
He said: “The international community, including successive Conservative governments, must learn the lessons of decades of failure to resolve this conflict. For too long our leaders have been content with the delusions of wishful thinking when it comes to peace in the Middle East”.
He added: “There has been a failure to deliver the two-state solution that is necessary to deliver long-term peace, security and independence to both Israel and Palestine.”