Tom Franklin, chair of York Green Party, condemned the actions of both Hamas and the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) in the conflict in Gaza. Speaking at a rally outside York Minster, Tom said: “Violence can never be the answer. We stand in solidarity with everyone who is suffering the pain of losing friends and family. Every life is invaluable.”
The full text of Tom’s speech is below:
salam alaikum. I’m Tom Franklin, chair of York Green Party and a peace campaigner and a Jew. Most of what I say will be as chair of York Green party, but I will add some personal comments at the end.
First, on behalf of York Green Party, I condemn all the violence, especially towards civilians. That includes the more than 50 children killed in Palestine up to September. I condemn the massacre of Israelis by Hamas last weekend and I condemn the massacre of Palestinians by the Israe Defence Force in the last week. Violence can never be the answer. We stand in solidarity with everyone who is suffering the pain of losing friends and family. Every life is invaluable.
I am absolutely appalled by the order from the Israeli government that over a million people must evacuate northern Gaza in just 24 hours. To put that in perspective imagine if West Yorkshire was completely sealed off from the rest of the country. Everyone and everything entering or leaving was controlled by Lancastrians. That they have destroyed all the rail lines and main roads. That they then order everyone in Leeds and Bradford to evacuate those to other parts of West Yorkshire in just 24 hours. No food. No water. No fuel. But you still have to evacuate everyone including people in hospital or care homes, sick people and injured people. And then you have to find places for them to stay in Dewsbury, in Halifax, in Huddersfield and in Wakefield and find them food and water whilst they are being bombed. Frankly, I cannot imagine that, but it is what the Israeli government has ordered Palestinians to do.
On behalf of York Green Party, I condemn this act of ethnic cleansing or genocide. There can be absolutely no justification, and those of our politicians, in the UK and elsewhere, who say that they stand by Israel whatever they do are condoning genocide. If the UK sends support to Israel to commit these crimes against humanity, then the people ordering it are committing war crimes, as will be people who obey the illegal orders.
The Green Party calls for an immediate ceasefire from both sides. War only leads to more war, and we need peace. The Green Party calls for the ending of apartheid in Israel with equal civil rights for all living in Israel and the occupied territories. The Green party calls for an end to the so-called right of return, which applies to any Jew (even if they have never been there, but not to Palestinians, even if they were born there and lived there until they were expelled). The Green Party calls for the implementation of UN resolutions 194,242 and 338. The path to peace is paved with dialogue, mutual respect and adherence to International Law
Finally, I would like to add a few words in a personal capacity. I have twice taken direct action with Palestine Action against Elbit factories in Staffordshire. For those who don’t know Elbit is an Israeli arms manufacturer that makes drones and sells them as “battle tested” that is used to murder Palestinians. I wear my conviction for taking part with pride. I believe that we all have a duty to do whatever we can to support oppressed people everywhere, and at the moment that particularly means Palestinians who have been deprived of their homeland for 75 years and are now facing ethnic cleansing or genocide.
The Green Party of England and Wales issued this statement in relation to the conflict on Monday 9th October