Colchester City Council has welcomed the government’s response to its motion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Last month, the council expressed grave concern over the ongoing conflict in the Middle East and how it might affect the city’s local communities.

Minister of State, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, responded to the council's December motion.

He acknowledged the human suffering in the region, condemned Hamas terrorism, and reaffirmed the UK’s support for Israel's self-defence in accordance with international law.

Council Leader, Councillor David King, said: “I welcome the government’s response on behalf of the Prime Minister - it is more engaged than before.

"Ministers are rightly listening to our and many other voices calling for an end to violence and a better way ahead for the Palestinian people.

"I hope our communities here will take some comfort from Government’s acknowledgement of their concerns, supported by this council.”

The council noted the government's emphasis on increased humanitarian aid, and support for a sustainable ceasefire and a two-state solution.

Furthermore, the Minister of State's letter highlighted the UK's actions, such as providing £60 million in aid to Palestinian civilians since October, urging harm to civilians be minimised, promoting humanitarian access, and working internationally to de-escalate tensions.

Mr King added: “We appreciate the Minister's detailed response and his specific actions towards a lasting political solution.

"Colchester City Council remains firmly committed to advocating for the equal rights and dignity of both Israelis and Palestinians.

"As a City of Sanctuary, we will continue to urge mutual respect and understanding, both here and abroad, and call upon the government to maintain its diplomatic efforts.

"We offer our collective and deepest sympathy to all those affected by the conflict in Israel and Gaza.”