Itongadol.- The Foreign Office has told Israeli and Palestinian leaders that they have to consider “bold moves” to secure a breakthrough.
Recently appointed UK Middle East Minister Tobias Ellwood, who will be opening a debate in the House of Commons on Monday concerning Palestinian statehood, is visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories this week on a post-Gaza-conflict fact-finding tour.
The low-key trip, his first visit as minister, has enabled him to hear firsthand how both sides view the chances of reviving the two-state solution – which, Foreign Office sources have said, he will be emphasizing as the only way to make progress in the region.
Having held meetings with leading figures in Gaza on Monday, he signaled a diminished role for Hamas.
“It is important that the Palestinian Authority returns to Gaza to provide services and security to all Gazans,” he said after the meetings.
The Foreign Office said Tuesday that he had told Israeli and Palestinian leaders that they had to consider “bold moves” to secure a breakthrough – with the understanding that as a result of the recent Gaza conflict, it was essential both to safeguard Israel’s security and to make rapid progress in easing the plight of the Palestinians, especially in Gaza.
On Tuesday, he met with community leaders in the South and heard about the impact of Gazan rocket fire, and he saw an Iron Dome battery in Ashkelon. Later, he said that “having heard firsthand from residents of Israel’s southern communities about their experiences of living under rocket fire, I reaffirm the United Kingdom’s determination to stand by Israel’s right to self-defense.”