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Dozens of British MPs call for end to Gaza war

Demonstrations against the Israeli strikes against Gaza are planned for central London on Saturday

Amer Sultan in London , Saturday 19 Jul 2014
UK
Police surround demonstrators during a protest against Israel's air strikes, in Gaza in London 11 July 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
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Dozens of British MPs have called for an end to the Israeli attacks on Gaza.

The call coincides with the escalation of the pro-Palestine demonstrations in London, protesting the British government’s support for Israel.

In an early day motion in the House of Commons, 38 members of parliament strongly criticised the Israeli onslaught on Gaza, which enters its twelfth day on Saturday, as a “disproportionate escalation of violence against Palestinians.”

The motion calls for an immediate end to Israeli military strikes against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and military incursions into Palestinian population centres in the West Bank.

Early day motions are requests for parliamentary debates on a particular topic; although they rarely result in parliamentary action, they are regularly used by MPs to raise awareness of a particular issue.

The signatories to the motion, 24 of whom are from the parliamentary opposition, the Labour Party, believe the Israeli military attacks constitute collective punishment and are in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

At the time of writing, only one MP from the governing Conservative Party had signed the motion, while seven MPs from the Liberal Democrat Party, the minor partner of the UK coalition government, had supported it.

British Prime Minister David Cameron reiterated the “UK's staunch support for Israel” and strongly condemned what he considered appalling attacks being carried out by Hamas “against Israeli civilians” in a telephone conversation with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday 9 July.

While the motion calls on the Palestinians to end the “retaliatory” rocket attacks from Gaza immediately, it urges Israel as the occupying power to de-escalate the conflict.

Many pro-Palestine organisations in the UK have called on voters to ask their MPs to sign the motion.

These organisations are to hold a mass march on Saturday, starting at Downing Street, the headquarters of the UK Prime Minister, and marching to the nearby Israeli embassy.

'We will assemble at Downing Street to send a clear message to the prime minister that the people of the UK do not agree with his support of the murder of innocent Palestinians,” the organisers said in a statement.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA), Stop the War Coalition (SWC), Palestinian Forum in Britain, Muslim Association of Britain (BMA), Islamic Forum in Europe and Israeli Coalition against House Demolitions (UK) are among of the organisers of the march.  

Saturday’s demonstration will give people from across the country the chance to say enough is enough, Israel’s siege of Gaza and its occupation of Palestinian land has to end now, Sarah Colborne, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign said in a statement.

“People want justice and freedom for the Palestinians, and they will be voicing this in their thousands on Saturday,” she added.

On Friday 11 July, thousands of protesters took to the streets of central London to call for an end to the Israeli attack on the besieged enclave.

 

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