The fighting between Israel and Palestinian groups in Gaza shows no signs of abating. I equally condemn the rocket attacks by Hamas on Israel and the response which has led to many innocent Palestinian deaths.
This conflict is complex and has been ongoing for decades. The violence will not end until both sides realise they have more to gain from peace than war – and until both are willing to sell a difficult compromise to their own people.
Across the world, those with no direct involvement want to pick one side or another and offer blind support without accepting that Israel, Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) have all, at times, behaved irresponsibly.
In the meantime, the best thing we can do to help is to encourage Israel and Hamas to stick to a ceasefire then support talks between Hamas, Fatah and the Israeli government.
There has been a great deal of local interest in the forthcoming parliamentary inquiry into cross-border health arrangements between England and Wales. The Welsh Affairs Committee, which I chair, will examine the workings of the NHS for patients who rely on healthcare facilities on the other side of the border.
Nobody doubts the great work done by individual doctors and nurses in both England and Wales, but a number of people have contacted me with concerns about the different services on offer. If you have had direct experience of cross-border healthcare and want to share your thoughts, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for written submissions is 12 noon on Wednesday, 20 August 2014.
The Royal British Legion is to be praised for the services that commemorated the start of the First World War over the weekend. I attended events in Monmouth and Chepstow and was especially pleased to see the involvement of young people, who will hopefully bear in mind the tremendous human cost which war involves.
Are you satisfied with your broadband coverage? Many constituents in Monmouthshire are definitely not. I am trying to arrange a public meeting in the autumn with the Director of BT in Wales so we can find out when speeds will be increased. If you live in Monmouthshire and this is an issue of interest, please email me at email@example.com. I will try to arrange the meeting to be conveniently located for as many people as possible.
*Published in the South Wales Argus on 11 August 2014*