Stop the slaughter in Gaza


The continuing slaughter in Gaza is an outrage. The international community has to make clear that respecting its calls for a ceasefire is not simply an optional extra for those launching attacks on either side. International humanitarian law must be upheld. That means protecting civilians from military attack. Common humanity also demands that food, medicines and other essential supplies must be allowed to get through to the one and a half million people who are under siege.

Over 120 Parliamentarians from different parties have so far signed a statement demanding an end to the slaughter in Gaza. The statement calls for an immediate ceasefire, an embargo on the supply of military equipment to both sides and for urgent intervention by the international community to stop the humanitarian catastrophe which is unfolding.

The statement – below – was first published in The Guardian on 31 December 2008. It has now (as of 9 Jan) been signed by 129 Parliamentarians: 118 Members of Parliament and 11 Members of the House of Lords.


Israel’s continuing massive military strikes on Gaza are an outrage that the international community must not allow to continue. Palestinian rocket attacks which traumatise the lives of communities in Southern Israel are also utterly unacceptable. Both sides must cease fire.

Israel’s actions are disproportionate and counter productive to achieving either security for the people of Israel or peace in the Middle East. Physicians for Human Rights (Israel) have warned that “targeting of civilians and of medical facilities is a breach of international humanitarian law. The targets chosen by the Israeli military include also clearly civilian installations.”

Gaza is one of the poorest and most densely populated places on earth. For the last two years, the blockade and previous Israeli strikes had already disrupted electricity supplies and access to clean water. Even before the current attack, Gaza’s health system was near collapse. Hospitals are short of medicines, blood and essential equipment. Only half of Gaza’s 58 ambulances are functioning.

We call on the international community, and especially the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to intervene to stop the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Gaza. We call for an immediate ceasefire by all parties and for an embargo on the supply of military equipment to both sides. The international community must also assert unambiguously that there is no military route to peace in the Middle East and redouble its efforts to create a secure and independent state of Palestine alongside a secure and independent Israel.


HOUSE OF COMMONS: Diane Abbott, Nick Ainger, Danny Alexander, Janet Anderson, John Austin, Norman Baker, Anne Begg, Roger Berry, Clive Betts, Roberta Blackman-Woods, Peter Bottomley, Colin Breed, Annette Brooke, Lyn Brown, Karen Buck, Richard Burden, Lorely Burt, Alistair Carmichael, David Chaytor, Katy Clark, David Clelland, Harry Cohen, Michael Connarty, Derek Conway, Frank Cook, Jeremy Corbyn, Mary Creagh, Ann Cryer, Jim Devine, Parmjit Dhanda, Jim Dobbin, Frank Dobson, Jim Dowd, David Drew, Mark Durkan, Clive Efford, Natascha Engel, Paul Flynn, Hywel Francis, Neil Gerrard, Ian Gibson, Roger Godsiff, Nia Griffith, Mike Hancock, Nick Harvey, John Hemming, John Heppell, David Heyes, David Howarth, Simon Hughes, Mark Hunter, Brian Iddon, Eric Illsley, Lynne Jones, Sir Gerald Kaufman, Sally Keeble, Peter Kilfoyle, Susan Kramer, Norman Lamb, Mark Lazarowicz, John Leech, David Lepper, Tom Levitt, Martin Linton, Tony Lloyd, Elfyn Llwyd, Andy Love, Fiona Mactaggart, Judy Mallaber, Rob Marris, Bob Marshall-Andrews, Chris McCafferty, Alasdair McDonnell, John McDonnell, Anne Moffat, Madeleine Moon, Michael Moore, Julie Morgan, Doug Naysmith, Edward O’Hara, Nick Palmer, Andrew Pelling, Steve Pound, Adam Price, Ken Purchase, Andy Reed, Alan Reid, Linda Riordan, Bob Russell, Martin Salter, Mohammad Sarwar, Alison Seabeck, Virendra Sharma, Jim Sheridan, Clare Short, Alan Simpson, Marsha Singh, Andy Slaughter, Andrew Smith, Angela C Smith, Nicholas Soames, Sir Peter Soulsby, Phyllis Starkey, Jo Swinson, David Taylor, Ian Taylor, Sarah Teather, Emily Thornberry, Robert Walter, Steve Webb, Mike Weir, Alan Whitehead, Betty Williams, Hywel Williams, Stephen Williams, David Winnick, Derek Wyatt, Tim Yeo.

HOUSE OF LORDS: Bishop of Winchester, Lord Cope of Berkeley, Lord Dubbs, Lord Dykes, Lord Luce, The Right Reverend Michael Scott-Joynt, Lord Hylton, Lord Wright of Richmond, Baroness Northover, Baroness Tonge, Lord Sheikh of Cornhill.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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