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by Kirsteen Paterson
16 February 2024
Anas Sarwar calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza in Scottish Labour conference speech

Anas Sarwar MSP | Andrew Perry

Anas Sarwar calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza in Scottish Labour conference speech

Anas Sarwar has called for an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza in his speech to the Scottish Labour conference.

The party has been under pressure over its stance on the conflict, which has cost tens of thousands of lives.

Divisions over the party’s approach to the matter were exposed when the SNP forced a Commons vote in November, leading to a rebellion by 56 Labour MPs. The SNP will bring a second vote on a ceasefire on Wednesday.

Speaking on stage in Glasgow today, Sarwar said: “The fighting must stop right now.

“That means an immediate ceasefire with an end to rocket fire going into and coming out of Gaza, right now; the immediate release of hostages; immediate access to humanitarian aid – that means essential supplies like water, electricity, medicine and food getting into Gaza – and, crucially, immediate efforts by world leaders to forge a path to an enduring peace and to a two-state solution.”

Accompanied by his wife and three sons, Sarwar called “the loss of innocent life in Israel and in Gaza” an “absolute travesty”, offering solidarity to the Jewish people for the October 7 massacre by Hamas and calling Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in Israel a “far-right government”.

He said the “collective punishment of 2.2 million innocent citizens of Gaza is not – never can be – a justifiable response to the horror inflicted by Hamas”.

And he said: “Only when we have a safe, secure state of Israel, side by side with a state of Palestine that is also safe and secure, will we have long-term peace.

“And let’s also be clear, Palestinian statehood is not in the gift of a neighbour, it is the right of the Palestinian people.”

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