Friends press for peace in Palestine’s Gaza

CHIPPENHAM MP Michelle Donelan has pledged to urge the Foreign Office to consider the recommendations of an independent United Nations report into the deaths of more than 200 people in Gaza.

Members of the Bradford on Avon Friends of Palestine staged a Vigil for Gaza on Saturday, March 30.

Twenty-five people commemorated the first anniversary of the ‘Great March of Return’ begun on March 30, 2018.

One of the organisers, Judith Hammond, said: “People attending the vigil read out the names, ages and circumstances of 200 of the Gazans who had been killed, which was very poignant.”

Miss Donelan said: “It is crucial that those involved in the conflict are held accountable for their actions.

“I welcome the independent assessments made by organisations such as the UN Human Rights Commission.

“I know that the Foreign Office is taking this report very seriously and is using it to formulate policy.”

The Commission found that Israeli security forces shot and wounded 6,016 protestors with live ammunition in the period investigated. 189 died at the protest sites, 183 of these from live fire.

The Commission found there was no justification for Israel’s security forces killing and injuring persons who pose no imminent threat of death or serious injury to those around them, including journalists, health workers and children.’

Miss Donelan added: “There is a pressing need for all parties to reach a wider agreement that addresses the underlying causes of conflict in Gaza and to take the necessary steps to ensure Gaza’s reconstruction and economic recovery.

“Any agreement should ensure that Hamas and other militant groups permanently end rocket and other attacks against Israel, that the Palestinian Authority resumes control of Gaza and restores effective governance and that Israel lifts its restrictions to ease the suffering of ordinary Palestinians.

“I firmly believe that the international community must redouble its efforts to support a comprehensive peace agreement that delivers a safe and secure Israel alongside an independent Palestine.

“A two-state solution brought about through agreement is the most effective way for Palestinian aspirations of statehood to be met.

“I will urge my ministerial colleagues in the Foreign Office to fully consider the merits of the report independently of political pressures and to implement recommendations as they deem appropriate.

“I will continue to push for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Gaza and for those involved to be held accountable for their actions.”

In all over 25,000 people in Gaza have been injured, of whom 13,750 were admitted to hospital.

To donate online, go to www.map.org.uk or call Medical Aid for Palestinians on 0207 226 4114.

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