Keir Starmer statement

I welcome the news of an agreement to release the first hostages and to have a substantial humanitarian pause in hostilities between Israel and Hamas.

I call for all remaining hostages to be released and all sides to uphold this agreement.

A substantial humanitarian pause is what Labour has been calling for alongside our international partners.

We must now ensure this pause is used to tackle the urgent and unacceptable humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.

There must be immediate access to aid, food, water, fuel and medicine to ensure hospitals function and lives are saved. Aid and fuel need to not just get in but be distributed widely and safely.

We must also use the space this pause creates to take more steps on a path towards a full cessation of hostilities rather than an escalation of violence.

It must start a process that ensures Israelis feel safe and secure from terror and that innocent Palestinians, who have endured far too much death and destruction, can return home and rebuild their lives free from bombardment and Hamas control.

In recent years, the international community has treated the two-state solution as a slogan rather than a serious strategy. That must now change.