Calling on Southark Council to support the people of Gaza

A Southwark member gives their take on how the Green Party is providing leadership on the war in Gaza


I was a Labour Party member for 48 years until November last year when I joined the Greens. Whilst over the years I became increasingly disillusioned with Keir Starmer reneging on all the policy pledges he gave when he was elected leader, it was his failure to call out Israel’s crimes or to join the majority of countries at the United Nations to call for a ceasefire that was the final straw. I remember living through the genocide in Rwanda and the mass murder in Srebrenica and feeling so helpless. But in the case of Gaza we can stop the killing. If the people of the world shout loudly enough, those who are providing Israel with the political support and the weapons of mass destruction will have to listen. As a key backer of Israel, the UK can exert great influence.

Both Conservative and Labour party leaderships have been happy to support

Israel’s wholly disproportionate response to Hamas’ terrorist attack on October 7. 30,000 Palestinian civilians have been killed including over 12,000 children. 50% of all homes have been destroyed and the population faces famine. The destruction of universities, schools, hospitals and other cultural facilities coupled with the withholding of food water and medical supplies are clearly war crimes and the International Court of Justice has judged that there is a prima facie case of genocide. Raz Segal an Israeli professor of Holocaust studies calls it a ‘textbook case’ of genocide. The 1948 Genocide Convention requires all governments to do what they can to prevent it.

The Green Party is on the right side of history. Green Party Co-Leader, Carla Denyer’s statement of 12 February makes this clear. 

Carla Denyer, co-leader of the GPEW

Based on a clear foundation of support for human rights, Carla's statement focusses on the need for an immediate ceasefire, ceasing the supply of weapons and holding to account all perpetrators of war crimes. She also supports Palestinian civil society’s non-violent campaign against the illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories – the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. A similar campaign was pivotal in ending apartheid in South Africa. Anyone who visits Palestine (as I did in 2010 – and of course things have got much worse since) cannot help being sickened by the injustices that Palestinians have been suffering for so long.

Millions of people have marched through London and other cities around the world in support of the simple and urgent demand for an immediate ceasefire. It is shameful that Southwark Council have not yet called for a ceasefire. Their position contrasts with that of the Council’s Assembly in 2022 which condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and expressed its solidarity with the Ukrainian people. The Council’s pension fund is reputed to invest over £55 million in companies that are complicit in the oppression of Palestinians. over £55 million in companies that are complicit in the oppression of Palestinians.

Greens in Southwark can take the lead locally in helping to voice the popular demand for a ceasefire – supported by 66% of the UK according to YouGov’s latest polling. In Southwark, there have been local marches and protests including outside the offices of BAE systems in Stamford Street, SE1 who are referred to in Carla’s statement as the leading supplier of arms to Israel through their role in making components for F-35 fighter jets. Over 650 local people have joined the grassroots Southwark & Lambeth 4 Palestine, who, with Southwark Trades Council, are organising the lobby of Southwark Council’s Assembly on Wednesday 21 February to press the demand for a ceasefire.

Visibility of Greens in these local campaigns will help to position our party as the main opposition to Labour in Southwark. A huge and wide political space has opened up on the left for the Green Party to occupy and the clear leadership of Carla on the national level and Green Party Assembly members here in London is to be celebrated.

If you would like to be kept informed about campaigning activity locally in support of the people of Palestine, make contact via these social media channels.


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  • Bartley Shaw
    published this page in News and Views 2024-02-18 10:14:10 +0000