Commenting on violence in the West Bank and Gaza this morning, including the death of an Israeli settler and an Israeli airstrike on Gaza City, Alistair Burt, Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East, said:
I am very concerned about recent developments in both the West Bank and Gaza. At this critical time for the two state solution, we need dialogue, not violence.
I am deeply concerned by breaches of the November ceasefire agreement in Gaza. I condemn the recent rocket attacks. These attacks and subsequent airstrikes highlight the risks of a return to violence. I call on all parties to avoid further escalation, to adhere strictly to the terms of the ceasefire agreement and to continue to take advantage of Egyptian-brokered talks to deal with key issues including weapons smuggling and lifting restrictions on movement and access to relieve the suffering of the people of Gaza.
I also condemn the killing of an Israeli settler in the West Bank today, the first such death since 2011, and am deeply concerned by the recent spate of violent attacks by extremist settlers against Palestinians and Palestinian property. Such incidents have the potential to feed off each other and undermine efforts to seek peace and security.
Britain has been clear that 2013 is the vital year for peace in the Middle East. We will continue to work to ensure that the aspirations for peace of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples are met.
Follow Alistair Burt on twitter @AlistairBurtFCO