'No good can come from Gaza conflict' - Worcester Labour in warning to Sir Keir Starmer - The Worcester Observer

'No good can come from Gaza conflict' - Worcester Labour in warning to Sir Keir Starmer

Worcester Editorial 17th Nov, 2023   0

WORCESTER’s Labour Party has joined the rebellion against party leader Sir Keir Starmer’s stance on the conflict in the Middle East by adding its voice to calls for an immediate ceasefire.

Members voted unanimously on Monday (November 13) to echo UN Secretary-General António Guterres ‘s calls for a halt to the Israel Gaza conflict and to ‘stand with everyone affected by this crisis including our brothers and sisters within Worcester CLP, within our community, within our city and beyond’.

The rebellion came 48 hours before the Labour leader saw 56 of his MPs defy the party to vote on Wednesday (November 15) to support a SNP motion calling for a ceasefire – a move which saw 10 members of the party’s frontbench leave their roles including eight shadow ministers.

City Labour members refused to label the Hamas attack on October 7 an act of terrorism despite around 1,200 Israeli’s being killed and more than 200 taken hostage.

Instead the party called it a ‘brutal act of violence which can never be justified’ but said the ‘collective punishment’ of Gazans by Israel in response to Hamas’ actions has created a ‘humanitarian crisis on a scale which defies comprehension’.

The motion, sent to the party’s leadership, goes onto to say two wrongs can never make a right, that no state is above international humanitarian law and echoed the words the words of the United Nations over the ‘grave risk of genocide’ against the Palestinian people.

“Our failure to speak and to act at this moment will be judged wanting in the days, weeks, months and years to come,” the party’s motion read.

“As internationalists we stand with all oppressed people across the globe and right now the people of Gaza need our support, our compassion, and our solidarity.

“That no good can come from this conflict and it must end immediately.” it added.

There was no mention of the release of the hostages taken by Hamas in the party’s motion.

The Hamas-run health ministry says more than 11,000 people have been killed in Gaza since then – of whom more than 4,500 were children.

Labour has joined the city’s Green Party who called for a ceasefire earlier this month.

Meanwhile Worcester’s Conservative MP Robin Walker has called on the Government to continue its efforts for a humanitarian pause for aid to reach Gaza:

Speaking during a debate in the House of Commons, Mr Walker said: “On children, I welcome both statements made from the front benches: my right hon. Friend the Minister is right to focus on every civilian life that has been lost in this conflict, and the hon. Member for Wigan was right to highlight the importance of children in this.

“I remind the House that the full wording of the Balfour declaration included: “it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”.

“Children’s rights should be at the heart of that, so may I urge my right hon. Friend to double down on the push for humanitarian pauses and for humanitarian access, to make sure that we can protect children’s rights to life and to education?”


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