A letter signed by over 1,000 business leaders, human rights activists and celebrities has condemned the UK government and the Labour party for their complicity in Israel’s bombing and blockade of Gaza. The letter, published in The Guardian, calls for an urgent and lasting ceasefire and an end to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.
UK’s role in arming and supporting Israel
The letter accuses the UK government of providing political cover and military aid to Israel, which has been carrying out a brutal bombing campaign against the besieged population of Gaza. The letter says that the UK has licensed over £400 million worth of arms exports to Israel since 2015, including components for fighter jets, drones and bombs that are being used to kill civilians in Gaza. The letter also criticises the UK for voting against or abstaining from UN resolutions that condemn Israel’s violations of international law and human rights.
Labour’s failure to stand up for Palestinian rights
The letter also slams the Labour leadership for its silence and complicity in Israel’s crimes. The letter says that Labour has refused to condemn any of Israel’s actions or to apply any kind of pressure, such as suspending arms sales or imposing sanctions. The letter also says that Labour leader Keir Starmer has gone as far as stating that Israel has the right to withhold water and electricity from Palestinian civilians, which is a war crime under the Geneva Convention. The letter urges Labour to adopt a principled and consistent stance on Palestine and to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which aims to end Israel’s occupation, apartheid and oppression of Palestinians.
Gaza’s humanitarian crisis and resistance
The letter highlights the dire situation in Gaza, where half of the population are children and most of them suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder due to the constant bombardment and siege. The letter says that Gaza has endured a 17-year blockade that has deprived its people of basic necessities such as food, water, medicine and electricity. The letter also says that Israel has deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure, such as hospitals, schools, media offices and residential buildings, in an attempt to break the will of the people. The letter praises the resilience and courage of the Palestinians in Gaza, who have continued to resist Israel’s aggression and oppression despite the overwhelming odds.
Call for action and solidarity
The letter calls on the UK government and the Labour party to take immediate and effective action to stop Israel’s war crimes and to support a just and lasting peace based on international law and human rights. The letter demands that the UK government:
- Compel Israel to end the siege of Gaza and its illegal occupation of Palestinian territories
- Suspend all arms sales and military cooperation with Israel
- Impose sanctions on Israel until it complies with international law
- Support the referral of Israel to the International Criminal Court for investigation and prosecution
- Recognise the state of Palestine and its right to self-determination
The letter also calls on the public to show solidarity with the Palestinian people by joining protests, donating to humanitarian organisations, boycotting Israeli products and companies, and pressuring their MPs and political parties to take action.
The letter ends with a quote from Nelson Mandela: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”