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A human catastrophe is unfolding in real time in the Middle East

The need for a diplomatic and peaceful solution is needed more than ever before – the time to hit the streets and call for peace is now, urges JEREMY CORBYN MP

DAY IN, day out, headlines list the latest carnage: numbers of lives lost, people displaced, homes destroyed — accompanied by crass, inane and unfeeling messages from politicians. 

This week, it is about Gaza, the bombings, killings and desperation. Two weeks ago, it was about Russia and Ukraine. 

Desperate people are still trying to survive, and the need for a diplomatic and peaceful solution is needed more than ever before. 

Some wars outside the orbit of our media — Sudan, Congo, Yemen — do not get reported. People, however, mourn for their children and parents killed in conflict. 

On October 7, we witnessed the horror of the killing of 1,400 people in southern Israel, with almost 200 survivors taken hostage. 

This deplorable attack has caused unimaginable agony for those who have lost loved ones, and enduring anguish for those longing to be reunited.  

In response, the Israeli government and army swung into action and announced they would destroy Gaza, couched as a war against Hamas. 

As it stands, over 3,000 Palestinians have been killed. This is on top of the thousands of Palestinians who have been killed over the past decade. Not only in Gaza but in the West Bank too. Total war seems to be the only policy in town.

Pleas for a ceasefire by neighbouring countries, the UN, and political leaders from the global South have been resolutely rejected by Israel. 

The Brazilian government of Lula Ignacio da Silva has consistently tried to help end the killings, not only in this war but in Russia and Ukraine, too. 

As the current president of the UN security council, Brazil crafted a ceasefire motion and determinately negotiated, even changing the wording to “humanitarian pause.” The United States vetoed it. Britain abstained. 

The following day, US President Joe Biden arrived in Tel Aviv on Airforce One, enthusiastically embracing Benjamin Netanyahu and announced full support for Israel. 

The US presidency has committed warships and hardware for the protection of Israel and its continued, illegal occupation. The European Union has done the same. 

Rishi Sunak also felt the need to go to Tel Aviv and pledge his and Britain’s all. No words of peace pass his lips; just more and more money for armaments. 

Barely a few minutes away by plane, bombs continued to fall in the south. Hundreds killed, thousands fleeing with animals and remaining possessions. Water supplies are drying up, food supplies are disappearing, medicines are unavailable. Such 

is the depths of the unfolding horror that brave doctors are performing emergency surgery without anaesthesia. The tide of desperate humanity is overwhelming every possible point of help. 

The vast majority of the people of Gaza are descendants of the Nakba, the day when 700,000 people were expelled from what is now Israel. 

Either occupied or under siege for decades, it is one of the world’s most densely populated places. A highly educated population relying on UN food, education and their own ingenuity to survive. The Israeli army, with tanks, rockets, air cover and drones are poised to head south and drive one million people out of the north. 

How long before the whole of the Gaza’s people is forced over the border into the Sinai, and a new Gaza grows up from Rafah to Rashid and southwards? Are we witnessing another Nakba? Yet another enforced expulsion of Palestinian people?

All the horrors and murders of the past two weeks must be put into the context of the occupation of the West Bank and the 70-year-old teeming refugee camps in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. 

Any peace beyond a ceasefire must end the occupation and — as described by various international organisations — the system of apartheid. It must also seek justice for the refugees and Palestinian diaspora. 

If you can, join me at the demonstration in Whitehall. If you can, send aid through Medical Aid for Palestinians or Muslim Aid. Whatever abuse is thrown at us by the media, and whatever is said about us, hundreds of thousands are marching to end the killings. 

We will be there to mourn the loss of every civilian life. We will be there to amplify the calls made by Palestinian trade unions to the world: stop arming Israel. And we will be there — black, white, men, women, Muslim, Christian and Jewish — united in our demand for an immediate ceasefire.

Millions around the world are appalled by the killings of young Jewish people and the hostage taking in Negev, and are equally appalled by the bombs raining down on Gaza. 

A human catastrophe is unfolding in real time on television, bodies strewn from hospitals and schools that innocent people assumed may provide at least a temporary haven from horror. 

We will keep demonstrating as long as it takes to bring about an end to the indiscriminate killings. To bring about an end to the occupation. To bring about a just and lasting peace.

Jeremy Corbyn is MP for Islington North.


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