The British government declared it was “very concerned” with recent rocket fire from Gaza into Israel and condemned Israel and Lebanon for the escalation of hostilities on the Israel-Lebanon border on Tuesday.

“We are very concerned by the recent rocket fire on towns in southern Israel, continuing violence in Gaza and today's violence on the Israeli-Lebanon border, all of which underline the importance, for the region as a whole, of all parties committing to a lasting peace,” a Foreign Office spokesman said on Tuesday. “We condemn the violence today that led to deaths on both sides and call on Israel and Lebanon to act with restraint.”

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Calling for Israel and the Palestinians to resume direct negotiations, the Foreign Office said that both sides should refrain from “violence” and “settlement construction.”

“Against this backdrop a move to substantial talks by the Israelis and Palestinians is essential; we encourage both parties to engage on the core issues as quickly as possible, and refrain from action that damages the process, in particular acts of violence, settlement construction or other provocations,” the spokesman said.

Following Prime Minister David Cameron’s comments in Turkey last month – in which he condemned Israel over the Gaza flotilla incident – the British government said it welcomed the establishment of a UN inquiry calling for Israel and Turkey to participate.

“We welcome the UN Secretary-General’s establishment of a panel of inquiry into the interception of the Gaza flotilla on 31 May, and both Israel and Turkey’s commitment to participate. The panel has an important role to play in investigating and resolving the dispute over the flotilla and preventing future recurrence. It is also vital that the existing national investigations proceed swiftly, transparently and rigorously to ensure full accountability,” the Foreign Office said.

Last month, Cameron used a visit to Turkey to equate Gaza to a “prison camp” and condemn Israel for its response to the Gaza flotilla incident.

“The Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla was completely unacceptable and I have told Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu, we will expect the Israeli inquiry to be swift, transparent and rigorous,” Cameron said during his visit.

“Let me also be clear that the situation in Gaza has to change. Humanitarian goods and people must flow in both directions. Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp,” he told the Turkish parliament.

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