Bell Ribeiro-Addy

Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Labour Candidate for Clapham & Brixton Hill
From Clapham & Brixton Hill, For Clapham & Brixton Hill

Please note: Parliament has now been dissolved until after the General Election, meaning I am no longer an MP.

Marching for Ceasefire in Gaza

Nov 27, 2023 | Campaigns

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We are witnessing a cataclysmic eruption of violence in Gaza and the Occupied Palestinian territories. In the first month of the bombardment of Gaza, a Palestinian child died every ten minute. The conflict has claimed over 10,000 Palestinian lives, killed dozens of aid workers and journalists, and already resulted in the displacement of millions. In the West Bank, hundreds of Palestinians have also been driven from their homes by armed settlers in an escalation of the illegal settlement expansions which have gone unchecked for decades.

Hundreds of thousands have marched in recent weeks to highlight this appalling situation. I spoke at two demonstrations, calling for a ceasefire. My message was clear: all attacks on civilians are wrong and innocent Palestinians must not be made to pay for Hamas acts of terror, which saw 1,400 Israeli civilians killed and 250 taken hostage. A ceasefire is the quickest path towards saving civilians, bringing home hostages, and moving towards a future built on equal rights and mutual coexistence. Britain has a unique responsibility to push for peace in the region. November marked the 106th anniversary of the disastrous Balfour Declaration, when the British Empire began supporting the mass displacement of Palestinians from their homes. As the country that paved the way for the Nakba, Britain has an enormous responsibility to push for a ceasefire and work towards a just and lasting peace. This feels further away than ever right now.

Bell addresses a crowd of demonstrators at a Ceasefire Rally in Parliament Square

Most of the 11,000 Palestinians killed in Gaza so far have been women and children. To put the scale of the current bombardment into perspective, Save the Children have reported that more Palestinian children were killed in the first three weeks of this conflict than were killed in the entirety of global conflicts last year. This month’s vote was about recognising our common humanity and taking a clear stand against the killing and collective punishment of innocent people.

The killing of civilians is always morally indefensible. To allow it to happen without any challenge is unforgiveable. Yet this is precisely what has happened, with civilians paying the ultimate price for the failures of US, UK and European political leaders to call for peace and call out violations of international law. It must also be restated that an enduring peace will not be achieved without addressing the root causes of the current violence. That means holding all parties responsible for violations of international law, recognising a Palestinian state and working towards a diplomatic solution based on mutual respect and equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians.