Sir Mark was invited to a rally and march organised by campaigners 'Preston for Palestine' to raise awareness of recent events in Gaza and Sheikh Jarrah in Palestine.
Although he was unable to attend, Sir Mark has released the following statement which was read out during the rally:
'I am sorry that I cannot be here in person to attend this rally but make no mistake that I stand with you on the issue of Palestine which is under attack even as we speak*.
All of this violence has stemmed from the forced evictions that were taking place in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem and also the attack on Al Aqsa Masjid during Ramadan. I am horrified at the indiscriminate nature of the attacks in Gaza where innocent civilians, including almost 60 children in Gaza, have been killed in one week alone. More than a thousand people in Gaza have been injured. This constant bombardment has damaged the infrastructure to the level that it will be incredibly difficult to get crucial supplies and medical treatment to those affected.
Adult’s and children’s lives hang in the balance and I’m sure we can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to face the daily loss of life of the young and innocent, especially when we see our own children free to live, learn and play in peace.
The international community must make a stand and use all available resources to stop the loss of life. I have already raised this with the Foreign Secretary asking him to join the call with the United Nations to uphold international law and an immediate end to the violence by withdrawing the IDF. I have also urged him to impose immediate and meaningful sanctions on the Israeli Government whilst the illegal actions and evictions are taking place. I know many of you have written to me and I have to date received around 1300 emails calling for action. Rest assured, even without these email campaigns, this is an issue that is close to my heart and I will continue to pressure the Government into driving forward actions to bring peace to the Palestinian people.'
*correct at the time of writing