Opinion: Remembrance and the need for peace

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Last Sunday I attended the remembrance parade and service at Peterborough Cathedral, writes Cllr Nicola Day, Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Peterborough.

It felt poignant to spend time with civic leaders, ex-service personnel and people from all faiths and none as we gathered to remember and give thanks to all who have given their lives in the pursuit for justice and peace.

I wore the red poppy to commemorate remembrance and the white poppy to show the need for peace. The Dean said “...that we may help, encourage and comfort others, and support those working for the relief of the needy and for the peace and welfare of the nations.”

The Green Party is aligned with such humanitarian values.

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 Remembrance Sunday parade and wreath laying at the City War Memorial Remembrance Sunday parade and wreath laying at the City War Memorial
Remembrance Sunday parade and wreath laying at the City War Memorial

I also attended the pro-ceasefire march in London on Saturday regarding events in Israel and Palestine.

The Green Party urged a massive turnout for the ceasefire march as we saw this as the strongest way to send a clear message that people want a ceasefire and have no time for toxic rhetoric such as that from former Home Secretary Suella Braverman

The attendance at the march was phenomenal, the atmosphere was powerful and peaceful. This was a march to call for a ceasefire - an Armistice. It is urgently needed.

The Green Party’s thoughts are with the innocent victims who are faced with the devastating and escalating violence in Israel and Palestine. We know most civilians have an overriding desire to live in peace.

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The Green Party totally condemn the attacks by Hamas, however the attacks Israel experienced on October 7th cannot be used to justify disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks on civilians in Gaza. It is deeply worrying that Israeli government ministers and spokespeople are justifying the denial of water, food and fuel to the Gaza Strip – this is a collective punishment and constitutes a war crime under international law.

Having already suffered over 10,000 deaths, there is every sign that many thousands more Palestinians will die in Israel’s continuing attacks. Many more will be injured or displaced. The carpet bombing of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure, including schools, hospitals and administrative buildings is also contrary to international humanitarian law and is unacceptable.

The Green party calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, The West Bank, and Israel, and for the unconditional release of hostages. The targeting of civilians is an outrageous breach of international law and in unacceptable in all circumstances.

The pathway to ending these waves of violence and bringing about a long-term solution must start with a ceasefire and peace talks which should involve a plan to end the occupation in Palestine. The International community must now turn this crisis into the moment where we insist upon a meaningful political negotiation to bring about a solution.

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The UK government’s decision to send military forces to the eastern Mediterranean significantly escalates

UK military involvement in the Israel-Palestine conflict. It also risks the UK being dragged into a potential regional conflict, as well as sending an implicit signal of condoning Israel’s military approach in Gaza. This decision must be urgently reversed.

Unfortunately the scenes of disorder and violence that we witnessed by the far-right at the Cenotaph are a direct result of the former Home Secretary, Suella Braverman words. Inciting disorder, directly causing disgraceful scenes, stoking division are the opposite of what a Home Secretary should be doing. This has

only made the police’s job more difficult.

Rishi Sunak has done the right thing and removed her from office. However, it took him a lot longer to do so than his instant sacking of Peterborough MP Paul Bristow for sensibly calling for a ceasefire.