Gaza: Cross-party Welsh Parliament support calling for a ceasefire

23 MSs have signed a statement of opinion which 'condemns the attacks' on citizens and 'the taking of hostages'. Credit: PA Images

Senedd Members from all political parties have backed calls for a ceasefire in the Middle East.

23 MSs have signed a statement of opinion that "condemns the attacks" on citizens and the taking of hostages.

It expresses "grave concern at the continuing tragedy" and calls for an "immediate ceasefire".

The statement also "extends deepest sympathy to Welsh citizens who have lost loved ones during the conflict" and calls for "an end to the siege to allow vital supplies into the area."

The statement of opinion expresses "a need for the international community to renew commitment and action to achieve a two-state solution and lasting peace".

This move doesn't commit the Senedd nor the Welsh Government to any particular position and only opposition and backbench Labour members have so far signed it.

But it shows emerging cross-party support for a ceasefire or in the terminology being used by the US and UK Governments, a "humanitarian pause."

It may seem that there's only a technical difference between the two terms but that difference is leading to deep political divisions.

Within the UK Labour Party, the leader Sir Keir Starmer has faced criticism from some of his own MPs and the resignation of a number of councillors over his public statements expressing support for Israel and holding back from calling for a ceasefire.

Two leading Labour politicians have done just that: both the Labour mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar have taken a different position to the UK leader.

Shadow cabinet member Steve Reed told colleagues calling for a ceasefire he understands and empathises with them but set out why the leadership was not calling for one.

The shadow environment secretary argued that if the UK had suffered a similar atrocity “our state would have sought to defend ourselves to protect our citizens by dismantling the capability of a terrorist organisation that carried it out”.

Rishi Sunak and members of his Cabinet are also refusing to call for a ceasefire.

The UK Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said the government needs to “ensure” there is a break in fighting in order to get aid into Gaza and allow British citizens to leave the bombarded 25-mile strip.

In the Senedd, the Plaid Cymru group has tabled a motion backing an "immediate ceasefire."

It criticises what it describes as "the Israeli government's indiscriminate attacks."

The motion proposes that the Senedd calls for the international community to "end the human suffering" and "allow humanitarian organisations to reach those in need."

Plaid Cymru's motion proposes that the Senedd:

  • Condemns the horrifying attacks carried out by Hamas against Israeli civilians and calls for the immediate release of hostages.

  • Notes that Israel has a duty to ensure the protection, security and welfare of its citizens and the occupied Palestinian population.

  • Condemns the Israeli Government’s indiscriminate attacks on Gaza resulting in the death of thousands of innocent Palestinian civilians and agrees with the United Nations Secretary-General that collective punishment of the Palestinian people cannot be justified.

  • Calls on the international community to unite in seeking an immediate ceasefire to end the human suffering and allow humanitarian organisations to reach those in need

  • Bring pressure to bear on the Israeli Government to end the siege of Gaza which contravenes international law and the basic human rights of Palestinian civilians

  • Do everything within its power to create safe and meaningful aid corridors into the Gaza Strip and enable safe passage out of the region.

  • Stands in solidarity with the Israeli and Palestinian communities in Wales affected by the conflict.

  • Urges the Senedd to support a two-state solution in order to pursue lasting peace in the region.

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