Opinion: Collective effort needed to find a solution

Men stand through debris and destruction littering a street in the Jabalia camp for Palestinian refugees in Gaza City.
(Getty Images)Men stand through debris and destruction littering a street in the Jabalia camp for Palestinian refugees in Gaza City.
(Getty Images)
Men stand through debris and destruction littering a street in the Jabalia camp for Palestinian refugees in Gaza City. (Getty Images)
​“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; .... any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee," writes Labour Group leader Dennis Jones

Many will know the last line, either from the title of the Ernest Hemingway novel set in the Spanish Civil War, or the original, written by the poet, John Donne. The meaning is straightforward. We should feel a sense of belonging to the whole of humanity and should feel a sense of loss at every death, because it has taken something away from humanity.

This sense of humanity, or lack of it, has occupied much of my thoughts in recent weeks as I recover at home from hip surgery and watch the dreadful events unfold in Israel and Palestine.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Filming of events from inside Gaza, with reports being transmitted live, show how social media has changed everything. The bloodshed in Israel and Gaza that we have seen over the last few weeks week has been sickening, and the devastating loss of so many civilian lives is deplorable. The enormity of the loss there should not be underestimated.

Our political leaders have a responsibility to step up and deliver the humanitarian response needed to safeguard innocent lives and to make sure civilians in Gaza have access to food, water, medicine and power.

At times like this, Peterborough wears its heart on its sleeve, and it has been good to see so many stand together in solidarity with the innocent civilians of both Israel and Palestine.

Labour in Peterborough, alongside others, have already called for a ceasefire and humanitarian aid to prevent any further loss of life and to ensure that the human rights of all Palestinians and Israelis are protected. We continue, as do others, to make this case in our party, as does our MP in his party. We need all our political leaders to listen.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As local councillors we stand together with the residents of Peterborough who are deeply affected by this senseless violence and loss of life. We marked this together on behalf of the city at our council meeting on Wednesday.

We utterly condemn the massacre in Israel of 1,400 people, including babies, children and young people, and we feel the pain and fear that this has caused in the wider Jewish community.

We utterly condemn the taking of hostages by Hamas, including babies and children, and we call for the hostages to be released.

We utterly condemn the ongoing bombardment of Gaza and the massacre of thousands of Palestinians, including healthcare workers, aid workers and thousands of children.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We utterly condemn the siege of Gaza, which is preventing over two million people including babies, children, pregnant women, healthcare workers, the sick and the injured from accessing the water, food, fuel, and medical equipment needed for their survival.

There is a serious risk of this conflict spreading in the Middle East and within communities around the world.

I am proud that Peterborough is a City of Sanctuary. Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism and hatred of any kind have no place in our city.

As Lord Ricketts said recently on the Today programme: “Military actions do not achieve political objectives”.

It is my hope we can collectively work towards a ceasefire, hostage release, and the pursuit of a secure two-state solution for a better future in a region that has suffered so much for so long.