The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is urgent and desperate. The deaths and suffering of innocent Palestinian civilians, especially children, is tragic and heartbreaking.
The humanitarian situation is rooted in 16 years of rule by Hamas – an antisemitic terror group which has repeatedly and consistently prioritised its genocidal war against Israel and the Jewish people over the Palestinian people’s welfare and wellbeing, their security and safety, and their legitimate right to self-determination.
On 7 October, Hamas carried out a further brutal and savage attack on Israeli civilians. Over 1,400 men, women and children – including babies – were massacred in deadliest day in Jewish history since the Holocaust. Among the dead were citizens from more than 30 countries. At least 222 Israelis – ranging in age from babies to Holocaust survivors – were seized from their homes and are currently being held hostage. Efforts to secure their immediate and unconditional release must continue and Hamas should receive no credit for cynically releasing small numbers of hostages whom it should never have been holding. In just two weeks, more than 7,000 rockets have been indiscriminately fired into Israel by both Hamas and Hezbollah – more than during the entire 50-day 2014 conflict. As a result, more than 200,000 Israelis have been displaced.
In accordance with international law, Israel has a right and a duty to defend its people. Israel must eliminate the terror threat posed by Hamas. The choice is between endless war and terror for Israelis and Palestinians or the opportunity for a lasting peace. Gaza must be returned to the authority of the Palestinian Authority as a first step to bringing this decades-long tragic and bloody conflict to a close.
Hamas does not represent – and is the gravest threat to – the Palestinian people. We deplore Hamas’ use of innocent Palestinians as human shields. From the outset of the conflict, LFI has made clear that Israel, like any democracy engaged in conflict, has a responsibility to minimise civilian casualties. In line with international law, we have also called for measures to protect Palestinian civilians and efforts to provide humanitarian assistance – including food, water and medicine – and safe routes. Efforts to provide these measures remain urgent and must be redoubled so that, as Keir Starmer has said, regular, fast and safe deliveries of aid reach those who need them.
LFI thus fully supports US secretary of state Anthony Blinken’s call for humanitarian pauses to be considered to achieve these vital goals.