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PSC leads delegation to hand in petition to MP Sally-Ann Hart.

Local politicians called on to support ceasefire in Gaza

The continuing carnage in Gaza has prompted a coalition of local community groups and organisations to call on elected representatives to join their call for a ceasefire. Only MP Sally-Ann Hart has responded, turning down the appeal. Nick Terdre reports.

In an open letter to MPs Sally-Ann Hart and Huw Merriman, and to Hastings Borough Council, Rother District Council and East Sussex County Council, a wide-ranging coalition of local groups and organisations have expressed their “deep dismay in our local elected representatives for their failure to demand a ceasefire” during the Israeli bombardment of Gaza.

“In this time, we have watched as families, hospitals, places of worship and education, market places and whole neighbourhoods have been destroyed.”

“The banned substance white phosphorus was confirmed by both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to have been used by the Israeli military against the people of Gaza…an unlawful incendiary weapon that indiscriminately attacks civilians, causing excruciating burns and setting homes alight,” the letter says.

“At the same time, Israel has imposed a ‘total siege’ on the 2.3 million people of Gaza, depriving them of water, food, electricity and fuel.

“All of the above violate international law and constitute war crimes as defined by the Geneva Conventions.”

The letter, dated 23 October, also refers to the number of Gazans “killed by the relentless bombing campaign,” although the number quoted, 4,651, had risen to more than 8,000 by 29 October, according to The Guardian.

Organised by Hastings and Rye Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the letter has so far been signed by 19 local groups and individuals, including Hastings Mosque, refugee support groups, Hastings and District Trades Union Council, Amnesty International Hastings & Rye, Hastings & St Leonards Extinction Rebellion and one local politician, the Green Party’s Parliamentary candidate Becca Horn.

Condemning the “unlawful collective punishment of the people in Gaza,” the letter calls on representatives to support an immediate ceasefire, the urgent restoration of food, water, fuel and medical supplies and humanitarian aid, the immediate protection of medical facilities and the reversal of orders to evacuate hospitals, the facilitation of safe passage for casualties and critically ill individuals in need of medical treatment, and the opening of crossings for those seeking to evacuate and permitting the entry of medical and rescue teams.

It ends: “This is the moment – will you join our calls for peace?”

It does not, however, mention the murders and other atrocities committed by members of Hamas against unarmed civilians in areas adjacent to the Gaza strip, which triggered the Israeli response.

Rally to call for a ceasefire in Hastings town centre.

On Thursday 26th the HRPSC organised a well-attended rally in the town centre to press their call for a ceasefire. “Distressing messages were read from our friends in Al Mawasi [a Gazan town with which PSC has links], we heard reports from those inside Israel and speakers denounced the refusal by both the UK government and the ‘Opposition’ to call out Israeli war crimes of collective punishment against the trapped civilian population in Gaza,” the local PSC told HOT.

Petition

On Friday 27th a PSC delegation visited Hart’s constituency office to deliver a petition demanding an “immediate ceasefire, a humanitarian corridor and an end to the ‘total’ siege which has cut off food, water medical supplies, fuel and electricity to the trapped civilian population of 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza.”

The petition, with 450 signatories, also states: “Your constituents will not have this atrocity on our consciences.”

In a Facebook post predating the open letter, Hart wrote: “I condemn the actions of Hamas and support a proportionate response by Israel. However, it is always innocent people and children, both Israelis and Palestinians alike, who suffer most during times of conflict.”

“We say there is nothing ‘proportionate’ about withholding water, food and electricity from a civilian population which includes 1 million children,” the PSC told HOT. “There is nothing ‘proportionate’ about bombing civilians in their homes, hospitals, schools, mosques and market places.”

No response to the open letter has yet been received from Merriman, HBC, RDC or ESCC.

Various rallies and vigils have been held to protest the Israeli actions, including a march through the town centre on Friday 20th organised by Hastings Mosque which drew hundreds of supporters, according to the open letter.

 

The full text of the open letter can be seen here. Anyone wishing to add their name to it can contact rye@hastingspalestinecampaign.org.

Video of Younnis from Hastings Mosque addressing the rally on Thursday.

 

 

 

 

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Posted 21:31 Sunday, Oct 29, 2023 In: Politics

1 Comment

Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. DAR

    1. Horrific attack by Hamas – very stupid and a public relations disaster. 2. Israeli state retaliation – horrific and predictable. N.B. Israeli state usually doesn’t take any notice of UN resolutions. Only the USA can influence Israeli governments by withdrawing its financial support to Israel (very unlikely!). 3. Read your history, then imagine if a whole bunch of people turned up in Sussex and said, “Oh, this land was given to us by God so you’ll have to move out”. 4. This petition will have zero influence, I’m afraid. And do we want to see a proxy war on the streets of Britain between Jews and Muslims?

    P.S. Organised religion does more harm than good – discuss.

    Comment by DAR — Monday, Oct 30, 2023 @ 12:25

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