Protest for Palestine planned in Luton this weekend as mosques call for MPs to do more
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The Luton Palestine Solidarity Campaign is set to stage a demonstration in the town on Saturday (November 4), making fresh calls for a ceasefire in Gaza. Luton Council of Mosques published a statement asking for the MPs to do more after receiving a joint letter from Sarah Owen MP and Rachel Hopkins MP.
Their joint letter read: “The events of the last few weeks have shaken our communities. We are all shocked and saddened by the horrifying news and images from Israel and Palestine. The tensions and violence are not new in the region.
“As Luton's Members of Parliament, we stand firmly alongside international calls for peace, the cessation of violence of all military parties and the de-escalation of the crisis. We have consistently called for increased humanitarian aid to Gaza, the safe return of hostages and those being held on both sides, and renewed negotiations for lasting peace in the Middle East.”
The full letter can be found here. The original joint statement from the MPs sent out on October 27 did not mention a ceasefire, something which Luton Mosques criticised them for.
In the statement, Luton Mosques said: “Despite the gravity of the situation, it is with deep disappointment that we inform you that both MPs have failed to join the growing number of their parliamentary colleagues in calling for an immediate ceasefire.
“We urge both MPs to raise their voices and demand a full, immediate and lasting ceasefire to prevent further loss of innocent Palestinian lives and allows essential humanitarian aid to reach those who are in desperate need.”
It added: “The actions of our elected representatives during this crucial time will not be forgotten by our community.”
In a recent response to the events ongoing in Gaza, Labour MP for Luton North Sarah Owen called for a ceasefire. She said: “I join your calls for an immediate ceasefire on all sides. The events of the last few weeks have been devastating for our communities. We all share in the shock and grief at the news and images from Israel and Palestine.
“Although the tensions and violence are not new in the region, the most recent escalation of violence and humanitarian crisis is horrifying. Decades of a lack of international leadership on Israel and Palestine has seen periods of escalated violence, law breaking and suffering.
She continued: “There can be no justification for the murder of innocent men, women and children. This is why I stand firmly alongside international calls for an immediate ceasefire by all. It is the only way to end the loss of more innocent lives.”
In her own statement, Rachel Hopkins, Labour MP for Luton South said: “There are clear reports that atrocities across the Middle East amount to war crimes under international law – we must see the independent investigation of these and those accountable be held to account for their actions. The use of white phosphorous in Gaza and Lebanon, the starving of access to food, water, and electricity to over 1 million Palestinians by Netanyahu’s Government, and the attacks on and hostage-taking of innocent civilians by Hamas – these are all condemnable acts.
"There can be no justification for the murder of innocent men, women and children. This is why I stand firmly alongside international calls for an immediate ceasefire by all parties – including stepping back from a ground invasion and the cessation of rocket fire. It is the only way to
end the loss of more innocent lives.
"There must be unfettered humanitarian access to alleviate suffering in and collective punishment of those in Gaza, and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. Alongside Sarah Owen MP, I have written to the Prime Minister, along lines outlined in the Early Day Motions, in support of an immediate ceasefire.”
Hopkins sent a letter to Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, urging his government to take action. She also spoke about the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza in Parliament.
The demonstration in support of Palestine this weekend is at Luton Town Hall at 12pm on Saturday (November 4) and families are encouraged to bring a teddy bear with a message for the children in Gaza.