Harriet Harman

Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham. Mother of the House of Commons.

Ukraine Statement - 21/07/2014

PMQs 20131204

Prime Minister's statement 21st July 2014

Check Against Delivery

I thank the Prime Minister for his statement and advance sight of it.

The shooting down of MH17 over the skies of Ukraine was a tragedy which shocked the world.

On behalf of the Leader of the Opposition who is visiting Washington, can I join him in expressing our heartfelt, deepest sympathy to the relatives of those who have lost their lives?

All of us have been outraged by the images of the site.  The site left open for anyone to trample over, the way the bodies of the deceased have been handled with what looks like casual indifference.  We've all been horrified.  But what must it be like for the families of the deceased to see this?

The families not only face grief and loss but multiple practical issues. Will he identify a senior minister to co-ordinate support for them - as was done by The Right Hon Member for Dulwich and West Norwood after 9/11, 7/7 and the Tsunami

[As he says] will he ensure that his government does everything it can to enable the international community
*help secure the site
*repatriate the bodies
*gather the evidence which shows who's responsible

Does he agree that, as soon as the investigation into the disaster is complete, there should be an emergency meeting of European Heads of Government to consider what further steps should be taken.

It appears that International civil aviation regulators imposed no restrictions on crossing this part of Eastern Ukraine.

In light of the attack on flight MH17, can he say whether there is specific travel advice now to British Citizens planning to go abroad?

The evidence is growing that this was not simply a tragedy but a terrible crime.
Surely this is a moment of reckoning for Europe.  This is the moment for a strong and determined EU to step up to its responsibilities and confront the Russian actions.

Europe must show its sorrow but also its strength.

I welcome the Prime Minister's commitment to seek a toughening of EU sanctions against Russia at tomorrow’s EU Council Meeting.  Can he tell us what measures he wants to see considered?

Will he support decisive steps to extend sanctions, not just against specific individuals but also sanctions against Russian commercial organisations to dissuade President Putin from the supply of arms and the support for the separatists that he is now providing across the Russian border?

Mr Speaker, turning to the horror which is unfolding in Gaza...

It's intolerable to see the harrowing images of hospitals overwhelmed, mortuaries overflowing, and parents devastated as they cradle their dying children.

Yesterday the world stood witness to the most blood stained day.

Since the start of this conflict 20 Israelis have been killed - 18 of them soldiers. 

508 Palestinians have been killed - including countless children.  Mr Speaker, innocent young children.  Their short lives ended in the most brutal and horrific of circumstances.  No parent should ever have to go through the horror of burying a child whose life has been ended by violence.

No-one would suggest reducing this conflict to a leger of casualties - but I'm sure the whole House would agree we must acknowledge the scale of the suffering in Gaza. Because the life of a Palestinian child is worth just as much as the life of an Israeli child.

Every death will fuel the hatred, embolden Israel's enemies and recruit more supporters to terrorist groups like Hamas

We stand up for Israel's right to defend itself.  But this escalation will not bring Israel lasting security.

Does he agree with the Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki Moon that
We must continue to press for an immediate ceasefire
An immediate end to the Israeli military operation in Gaza
And rocket fire by Hamas
That all sides must respect international humanitarian law and that Israel must exercise maximum restraint?

What is his view of the reports suggesting that Israel is using of flechette shells?

Does he agree that the only way to avoid the cycle of violence and perpetual insecurity in the region is to address the root causes of the conflict? And that there must be an immediate return to the negotiating table and talks for a 2 state solution.

In the words of Mr Ban, "Israelis but also Palestinians need to feel a sense of security.  Palestinians but also Israelis need to see a horizon of hope"?


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