Denise Craghill speaking for us at the Palestine peace protest

Denise Craghill speaking at the protest for peace in Palestine

The leaders of the Green Party of England and Wales have written to the Government – and to the leader of the Opposition Labour Party – stating our support for an immediate ceasefire and urging them very strongly to speak out internationally and put on pressure for this to happen.

A humanitarian catastrophe is happening now in front of the eyes of the world – we have to ask ourselves where has our humanity gone – if we can see this each day on our television screens and social media – and not be calling for an urgent ceasefire?

The awful attacks committed by Hamas on 7 October were brutal violence by an organisation committed to using terror and must be utterly condemned. But the suffering we are now seeing imposed on Gaza is not in any way proportionate or defensible. It is clearly a war crime under international law. With-holding of food, water, energy and medical supplies, over 700 civilians being killed every day, one child every ten minutes – and the Israeli Government continuing to refuse access for any essential fuel for hospital generators and water supplies and refusing to allow Palestinians to leave. This situation is intolerable and must end. Arguments that somehow continued violence now will prevent further violence in future are not in any way acceptable – or indeed credible – the lives of children cannot be bartered in this way – and in the end the only solutions will have to come through negotiation.

It is a massive concern that so far neither the UK government nor the official opposition has joined international calls for a ceasefire. It is great that Rachel Maskell is here today and has called for a ceasefire but we need this to go right up to the top of the Labour opposition. Calls for ‘humanitarian pauses’ may help a little and be better than nothing but they will not meet the level of need and they will not stop the violence. At present it is sad to say that silence comes across as complicity. We urge both the government and the Labour Party to listen to the British people, three-quarters of whom have shown their support in opinion polls for a ceasefire.

It’s easy to feel very powerless in the face of what’s happening but by being here today you are helping to put on political pressure. You can also do that by continuing to write to our local MPs – whether they currently support a ceasefire or not the bigger their postbag on this issue the greater the pressure.

Putting on this pressure is important because we know that British support for a ceasefire is important. Britain has huge historic responsibility in the region and is a major arms supplier to the Israeli state, with Israeli arms companies based in the UK. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council British support for a ceasefire – and despite the difficulties – for negotiations for a permanent, just peace for Palestinians and for Israelis – would be a very strong voice. 

One very small positive in this terrible situation is that it seems that more people than ever before are talking and learning about the history of Palestine and Israel. So please keep on learning and sharing information and keep fighting for humanity and for justice. Your voice is powerful. Ceasefire now!

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