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‘Ceasefire Now!’ rally in Hastings town centre, 5 Nov 2023. Photo: Katy Colley

Ceasefire now!

As outrage over the carnage in Gaza continues to mount, demonstrations and protests have been taking place around the world to demand an immediate ceasefire. Gabriel Carlyle reports on what’s been happening locally and what’s happening next.

On Sunday (5 Nov) hundreds of local residents staged a ‘Ceasefire Now!’ march from Warrior Square to Hastings town centre where an hour-long rally was then held.

Led by children, chants included: ‘No more weapons, no more war. Ceasefire’s what we’re calling for!’

According to a 19 October 2023 YouGov poll 58% of the British public said that there should ‘definitely’ be an immediate ceasefire in Israel and Palestine, with a further 18% saying that there ‘probably should’ be such a ceasefire.

The call for an immediate ceasefire is also supported by a wide range of civil society organisations including Oxfam, Save the Children and Amnesty International.

Gathering in Warrior Square for the ‘Ceasefire Now!’ march, 5 Nov 2023. Photo: Katy Colley

Speakers addressing Sunday’s rally in Hastings included: Katy Colley from Hastings & Rye Palestine Solidarity (PSC) Campaign; Dr Mohammed Imad Bourghli, chair of the East Sussex Islamic Association; the Revd Luke Dean from St John the Evangelist Hollington; and Hastings Green Party’s parliamentary candidate Becca Horn.

Local children read out poems written by children from Gaza, and local lawyer Teresa Thornhill explained Israel’s obligations under international law.

Over two weeks ago, Amnesty International stated that there was ‘damning evidence of war crimes as Israeli attacks wipe out entire families in Gaza’, noting: ‘In their stated intent to use all means to destroy Hamas, Israeli forces have shown a shocking disregard for civilian lives. They have pulverized street after street of residential buildings killing civilians on a mass scale and destroying essential infrastructure, while new restrictions mean Gaza is fast running out of water, medicine, fuel and electricity. Testimonies from eyewitness and survivors highlighted, again and again, how Israeli attacks decimated Palestinian families, causing such destruction that surviving relatives have little but rubble to remember their loved ones by.’

Gathering in Warrior Square for the ‘Ceasefire Now!’ march, 5 Nov 2023. Photo: Katy Colley

Simon Hester from Hastings Trades Council called for local politicians – including Councillors and parliamentary candidates – to publicly add their voices to the call for an immediate ceasefire, and for everyone to join the next national march in London next Saturday (11 Nov – see below).

‘Naming the dead children’ action outside Muriel Matters House, Hastings on 3 November 2023. Photo: Richard Wolff

Naming the dead

Recent reports put the death toll in Gaza at over 9,000, including 3,760 children.

On Friday (3 Nov), local campaigners held an eight-hour ‘Naming the Dead Children’ ceremony outside the offices of Hastings Borough Council, in support of the call for an immediate ceasefire.

The names of almost 2,000 children killed in the first three weeks of Israel’s assault on Gaza were read out, together with the names of Israeli children killed in Hamas’s attack on 7 October.

‘Naming the dead children’ action outside Muriel Matters House, Hastings on 3 November 2023. PHOTO: Grace Lally

One of the organisers, Grace Lally, who has been part of the twinning campaign between Hastings and Al-Mawasi in southern Gaza for the past two years explained: ‘The messages we’ve received from our friends in Gaza in the past month have been truly harrowing, and now, since Israel cut off internet access to launch a ground invasion, it’s even worse because we have no messages at all. We want to be a voice for those children who will never speak again, and we want their names to ring in the ears of all our political leaders who are actively supporting this barbarism or enabling it through their silence. The UK’s role in arming and supporting Israel to commit these atrocities, should be to our undying shame.’

Also on Friday, a letter from the five Green Councillors on Hastings Borough Council, calling for an immediate ceasefire, was published in the Hastings Observer.

Letter from Hastings Borough Council Green Councillors, Hastings Observer, 3 November 2023:

The Green Party has called on the UK government to push for an immediate ceasefire to stop the mass killing of civilians in the Israel-Gaza conflict.

As more details emerge, we are appalled by the brutality of Hamas’s attacks and its seizure of hostages.  The release of those hostages, who include women and children, must be immediate and unconditional.  Israel’s people have every right to safety and security.

There are also civilians in Gaza who must be protected. We are deeply concerned at the civilian casualties from Israel’s military action, the imposition of a blockade for food, water and fuel, and the forced displacement of the civilian population. All parties, including Israel, are obliged to adhere to international humanitarian law and the laws of war. These actions are in clear breach of those rules.

The only way to prevent further mass civilian casualties and mass suffering is for the fighting to stop. The UK must join international calls for an immediate ceasefire. At the same time there must be immediate access for humanitarian assistance to the civilian population and the resumption of water, fuel and food supplies.

Cllr Julia Hilton
Cllr Glenn Haffenden
Cllr Tony Collins
Cllr Amanda Jobson
Cllr Claire Carr

The following concluding paragraph was included in the original letter, but omitted by the Observer:

There is only one way to secure peace between Israel and the Palestinians. That is for a just political settlement based on the end of occupation of the Palestinian territories. There should not be a return to a never-ending ‘peace process’ that risks disruption by extremists, but an urgent and vigorous international effort to bring about the creation of a Palestinian state, allowing Israel and Palestine to exist safely within their own borders.

What’s next?

Hastings & Rye PSC will be screening the film Killing Gaza, ‘a documentary film about life under siege’, at The Pig (37 White Rock, TN34 1JL) at 7pm this Wednesday (8 November).

The next national ‘Ceasefire Now!’ protest – which is being organised by PSC, CND and others – will be take place next Saturday (11 November) in London, assembling at 12 noon at Hyde Park before marching to the US Embassy:

Gathering in Warrior Square for the ‘Ceasefire Now!’ march, 5 Nov 2023. Photo: Katy Colley

Write to your MP

Though the UK government continues to offer unequivocal support for Israel’s horrific attack on Gaza – with the Labour leadership not far behind – both Conservative and Labour are clearly feeling the pressure on this issue.

This explains the cynical farce of their support for a ‘temporary cessation of hostilities’ in Gaza, even as the UK Government abstains on (and the US vetoes) a UN general assembly resolution calling for ‘an immediate, durable humanitarian truce’ (emphases added).

Photo: Richard Wolff

According to the Guardian: some MPs say ‘they have received more emails and other messages about this than any other issue in the past. In some cases more than 1,000 people have been in touch with an MP.’

At least two online apps are now available to help people do this: (Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine & Israel)

and (Palestine Solidarity Campaign).

Either one takes about 2 minutes.

Placard at the ‘Ceasefire Now!’ rally in Hastings, 5 Nov 2023. PHOTO: John Enefer. According to a February 2022 report from Amnesty International: Israel’s ‘massive seizures of Palestinian land and property, unlawful killings, forcible transfer, drastic movement restrictions, and the denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians are all components of a system which amounts to apartheid under international law. This system is maintained by violations which Amnesty International found to constitute apartheid as a crime against humanity, as defined in the Rome Statute and Apartheid Convention.’


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Posted 21:10 Sunday, Nov 5, 2023 In: Campaigns

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