The Birmingham Liberal Democrat position on the situation in Gaza

23 May 2024
Child in a warzone

Like so many across Birmingham, we have been horrified at the unfolding crisis in Gaza. 

Week by week, we have been watching a nightmare of unimaginable proportions. Now, over 35,000 Palestinians are reported to have been killed in Gaza. Seven months on from the Hamas terrorist attack which killed 1,200 Israelis, around 130 hostages remain captive.  

Hundreds of aid workers have been killed. As humanitarian access to Gaza remains restricted, and as the healthcare system has collapsed, these attacks have had a chilling effect on the already limited ability of NGOs to deliver life-saving aid into the Strip.  

We have also tragically seen many healthcare workers and journalists killed these past few months.  

We are staggered that the UK Government has done so little in response to a crisis of such horrific proportions. 

Meanwhile, reports that Palestinians are being arrested, detained without charge or apparent reason, and with no access to a fair trial are deeply concerning. We support Amnesty International’s calls to grant these people immediate access to lawyers and family members. 

The Liberal Democrats have been calling since November for an immediate bilateral ceasefire - to stop the killing, get aid in, get the hostages home, and create the political space to reach a lasting peace. We were the first major UK party to do so.  

We always stand on the side of international law and human rights.  We have always stood on the side of international law and upheld the role of international courts like the ICJ and the ICC. 

We are proud that our foreign affairs spokesperson Layla Moran MP is the first British-Palestinian MP. She has spoken movingly about her family who have been trapped in Gaza. 

We agree with both Layla and Ed Davey who have spoken not just about the importance of ensuring that the current violence stops - but about ensuring that it can never happen again. Major obstacles to peace such as the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank must now be addressed. That is why Ed Davey called for UK sanctions on settler leaders to be expanded to Israeli Government Ministers, and leaders of the settler movement, Ben Gvir and Smotrich.  

Liberal Democrats recognise the importance of securing a two-state solution - which is vital for the security and dignity of Palestinians and Israelis. We are the only major UK party calling for the immediate recognition of the state of Palestine, to help achieve that aim.  

We want a world in which all Palestinians and Israelis can live in peace and security. 

The Israel-Gaza conflict has been a dominant issue in Birmingham politics for the past seven months. Residents here feel angry and helpless. Birmingham Liberal Democrats acknowledge that this is both personal and painful.  

On 7 November 2023 the Birmingham Liberal Democrats brought a motion to Birmingham City Council seeking aid for people displaced by the conflict and urging the Government to create safe passage for refugees fleeing war.  

Members of our Group have attended events in the city to promote the cause of peace, encourage aid to the region and to end the bloodshed. We are appalled by the rise in antisemitism and islamophobia, and we urge everyone to be tolerant and respectful of one another. 

We call on the UK Government to:

  • Do all it can to secure an immediate, bilateral ceasefire, with aid into Gaza and the hostages released
  • Immediately cease the exporting of British arms to Israel
  • Demand the immediate access to lawyers and family members for those Palestinians held in prisons without charge or reason 
  • Take meaningful action on the illegal settlements, including sanctioning Ben Gvir and Smotrich
  • Immediately recognise the state of Palestine
  • Uphold the role and work of international courts such as the ICC and the ICJ
  • Take steps to deliver a two-state solution, with Hamas out of Gaza and a lasting peace for Palestinians and Israelis 

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