Open letter to Craig Williams MP and Russell George MS

Dear Craig Williams MP and Russell George MS

Ceasefire Now in Gaza – An Open Letter
I am writing to you jointly as you have both opposed a ceasefire in Gaza. My question to
each of you is this – will you now change your position and support an immediate end to

I am sure we agree that, under international law, the deliberate killing of civilians, hostage
taking, collective punishment and laying siege to a population are all illegal and that
international law must be the framework within which acts of violence and their legitimacy
are judged.

As I write, over 17,500 Palestinians in Gaza are now dead and more than 6,000 are
presumed dead (their bodies lying under the rubble of bombed buildings), all killed by
Israeli forces. Over 16,000 of these were women and children who were not members of
Hamas; likewise, thousands of men. In addition, almost 50,000 Palestinians have been
injured. Many have, what are euphemistically termed, ‘life changing injuries’. Perhaps, like
me, you saw the film footage of a toddler who had lost her feet due to being buried under a
collapsed building or of the surgeon in Gaza having to amputate his own son’s limb without
anaesthetic. The child later died.

Residential buildings, hospitals, educational establishments, bakeries, water and sewage
treatment facilities, power stations and roads have all been bombed. According to the
United Nations Relief and Works Agency almost 1.9 million Palestinians living in the Gaza
strip have been displaced, forced to leave their homes – that’s 85% of the population. The
UN Human Rights Office has stated that ‘the pattern of attacks that target or impact on
civilian infrastructure raises serious concerns about Israel’s compliance with international
humanitarian law and significantly raises the risk of atrocity crimes.’

The numbers killed and injured and the level of destruction caused to the infrastructure in
Gaza, though shocking, should come as no surprise. In the early days of the war, Israel’s
Defence Minister publicly stated that he had ‘released all restraints’ on Israeli forces, with
an Israeli army spokesperson stating that ‘the emphasis is on damage rather than on
precision’. Raz Segal, an Israeli academic specialising in Holocaust and Genocide studies,
has stated that he believes the Israeli attack on Gaza is a textbook case of genocide.

The World Health Organisation has said that the situation in the Gaza strip is approaching
humanity’s ‘darkest hour’. Its representative for Gaza and the West Bank, Dr Richard
Peeperkorn, recently stated that, since the start of the war, there have been 120,000 acute
respiratory infections, 86,000 cases of diarrhoea and thousands of cases of scabies, lice
and jaundice. The Red Crescent has stated that hunger and starvation could become as
big a threat to Palestinians in Gaza as the fighting and that their effort to provide aid is
‘barely scratching the surface’.
Most recently the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, invoked
Article 99 of the UN Charter, the most powerful diplomatic tool at his disposal; a power not
used since 1989. The Article empowers the Secretary General to ‘bring to the attention of
the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of
international peace and security’. In his letter Guterres called for the Security Council to
press to avert a humanitarian catastrophe and appealed for a humanitarian ceasefire to be
declared in Gaza. Tragically, the USA vetoed the ceasefire resolution, with the UK
While the recent ‘humanitarian pause’ in the bombardment of Gaza brought brief relief to
its population and the release of some Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners in Israeli
jails (many of them held without trial), it achieved nothing more. I put it to you that the only
way to achieve long denied justice, freedom and self determination for the Palestinian
people and peace for all people in the region – Palestinians and Israelis – is through a
cessation of hostilities and a genuine commitment to a negotiated settlement. So I repeat
my question to each of you: in the light of overwhelming evidence from world authorities
will you now change your position and support an immediate ceasefire in Gaza?
Yours sincerely
Kathy Brooks (by email)
Chair, Montgomeryshire Palestine Solidarity Campaig

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