Wednesday, November 01, 2023

Newham Council emergency motion on Gaza

I think it is important that the text of this motion passed by Newham Full Council meeting on 16 October 2023 is more widely circulated. I spoke in favour of the motion as did many of my Labour colleagues. 

The motion was also supported by the 3 Newham opposition Councillors. 

I would add to this motion, the call last week by my trade union UNISON for an immediate ceasefire which as a NEC member I voted to support as well as a £20,000 donation for Medical Aid for Palestine and the Red Cross.  

"Newham council notes:

The outbreak of war between Israel & Gaza is deeply horrifying

There is no justification of the terrorist attacks committed by Hamas against Israeli civilians, nor of the disproportionate response by the Israeli government. It doesn’t serve the just cause of Palestinian freedom and statehood.

We were all horrified by the attacks on civilians we send our sympathy & solidarity with all those grieving who have lost relatives in those attacks, including the families of the 17 British victims.

We also support the calls from across communities for all hostages to be released and returned to their families. Hostage taking can never be justified.

In the darkness of Gaza, which is now without power, are many innocent children, men and women, living in terror and fearing for their lives as war rages between Israel and Hamas.

1.1 million Palestinians in Gaza have been told to flee. This is underlines the scale of the unfolding humanitarian disaster and displacement taking place.

Newham Council believes

The international community has a responsibility to step up to deliver the humanitarian response needed to safeguard innocent lives and to make sure that the civilians of Gaza have access to the food, medicines and power generators.

All responses must be within international law, which prohibits collective punishment.

Beyond those directly affected are many more people who care passionately about this conflict.

Within our local community in Newham are families who are desperately worried for relatives and friends living in Israel and Gaza.

Newham Council resolves:

The labour administration will do all it can to make sure that our communities here in Newham are protected and feel safe and included.

Newham council as a local authority has limited to no power on resolving this situation but we shall look at our resourcing for hate crime reporting, as well as prevention activities. In recognising the very real and unbearable suffering of civilians in the region, we shall also be looking to fundraise for humanitarian activity in the region. The leadership will continue holding meetings in the coming days with local Jewish, Muslim and civic community leaders and appeal to all for leadership in the coming days: stand together against hatred and terror, stand together for innocent lives lost and stand together in the pursuit of peace."

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