February marked the six-month anniversary of the ceasefire which brought last summer’s war in Gaza to a close.
It was a conflict which brought a huge amount of suffering to the peoples of Israel and Gaza.
But, just as it has done on three occasions over the past six years, Hamas is once again preparing for war against Israel: rebuilding its terror tunnels; restocking its arsenal of rockets and mortars; and recruiting a new ‘popular army’ of Palestinian teenagers and young men.
Meanwhile, Iran is threatening to rearm Hamas – and spread the conflict to the West Bank.
It is time for the international community to stop this recurring spiral of violence, and implement a plan to disarm Hamas and open Gaza to the world.
That’s why Labour Friends of Israel has launched its ‘Stop the War’ campaign. Through this campaign, LFI is aiming not only to raise awareness of Hamas’ attempts to rearm, but also to call for Britain to take a leading role in encouraging international action which can lead to demilitarisation, reconstruction and a better future for both the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.
We want to see Britain take the lead in building an international coalition for peace and reconstruction: one that encompasses Israel, the Palestinian Authority, the Quartet and the Arab League.
LFI believes that, while crucial to alleviating the humanitarian crisis facing people in Gaza, current reconstructions efforts do not provide a basis for longer-term prosperity and peace. Instead, it wants to see the reconstruction programme complemented by “development for disarmament” programme. Advanced by Labor MK Omer Barlev, it sets out a staged two-year plan to ensure that disarmament is accompanied by a of lifting of the restrictions imposed by Israel and Egypt and opening up Gaza to the world via the building of an airport and opening of a seaport.
What we’re calling for:
– A pledge that the the nuclear agreement won’t see the British government and others lessen its pressure on Iran to stop its destabilising policies in the region.
– A UN security council resolution which imposes sanctions on any nation which attempts to transfer weapons to Hamas and other militant groups and provides for disarmament inspectors who would oversee the destruction of rockets, mortars and other heavy weaponry in Gaza. The British Government should make every effort to pass and support the implementation of this resolution and inspection regime.
– Israel, Egypt, the Quartet, the Arab League and PA to come together and present Hamas with a clear choice: disarmament in return for development. The British Government should work with our international partners to support this offer.
– A staged, two-year process which would see Israel agreeing to the building of an airport and opening of a seaport in return for disarmament. The initial development work on raising international funding and tendering for the airport can start as soon as Hamas signs up, with the seaport and airport ready for full operation at the end of the disarmament process.
On Wednesday 25 February, LFI vice-chair Michael McCann and his parliamentary colleagues led a Westminster Hall debate on Britain’s role in preventing a returning to hostilities in Gaza.
The full transcript of the debate can be found here: Debate on UK contribution to preventing conflict in Gaza
How you can help:
Download the ‘Stop the War’ campaign pack to find more information on how to help prevent the next war in Gaza.
The campaign pack also includes model letters to send to your MP and the foreign secretary.