Labour leader Keir Starmer speaking at Chatham House

Labour leader Keir Starmer has today set out Labour’s support for humanitarian pauses in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, explaining in a speech at Chatham House that a ceasefire would leave Hamas with the capability to carry out further attacks in Israel, and prevent the return of hostages.  

“Ceasefires freeze conflicts in the state where it currently lies”, Starmer said, explaining that Israel agreeing to a ceasefire now would leave Hamas with the infrastructure to carry out the terror attacks seen on 7 October.  

He furthermore asserted that Hamas would be “emboldened” by a ceasefire agreement with more than 200 Israeli hostages still being kept captive.  

Starmer was clear that the urgent alleviation of the humanitarian situation in Gaza was of upmost importance, and that humanitarian pauses – as proposed by the Biden administration – must be taken. He called for more aid trucks to cross into Gaza via Egypt’s Rafah crossing, with particular priority for food, water, electricity, medicine and fuel.  

The Labour leader went on to set out his vision to encourage a renewed push a way towards peace between Israel and the Palestinians, amid failures to act in recent years.  

Such a resolve would mean “engaging with our Arab partners, working urgently on viable plans for a Palestine free from the terrorism of Hamas”.  

It would also mean “engaging with Israel, seeking to address its security concerns in the future but showing clearly that the settlement building is unacceptable, unlawful and has to stop”. 

Starmer also stressed his commitment to make sure community cohesion in the UK itself did not suffer amid war in the Middle East, declaring that “we cannot have a Britain where Jewish business are attacked, Jewish schools marked with red paint, Jewish families hiding who they are”. 

He promised that the Labour would “reach out to communities under pressure and show them the respect and empathy they deserve as a fundamental British right”. 

You can read Keir’s full speech here.