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UK's Labour Party leader Keir Starmer comes under pressure to back Gaza ceasefire

Britain's main opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer delivers a speech in central London on 31 October 2023 (Via AFP)

UK's Labour Party leader has come under mounting pressure to back a ceasefire in Gaza as the Israeli regime forces continue to relentlessly pound the besieged Palestinian territory.

Despite increasing calls from inside the Labour party for an end to Israeli hostilities against Palestinians, Keir Starmer on Tuesday resonated remarks made earlier by the Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu by saying, "Now is not the time for a ceasefire in Gaza."

On Wednesday, in a clear revolt against Starmer’s remarks, hundreds of Labour councilors joined the growing international campaign for a ceasefire in Gaza by signing a letter to the Labour leader, urging the party's head to back a Gaza ceasefire.

In the letter, at least 330 Labour councillors asked Starmer to “unequivocally condemn” the brutality of the Apartheid Zionist Israeli regime forces against civilians trapped in the blockaded Gaza Strip, under heavy non-stop fire, cut-off from water, food, medicine, and power sources.

“The intensified human catastrophe in Gaza impacts us all, and the Labour Party’s failure to call for an end to violence is causing hurt in our communities,” the letter said.

Speaking at the Chatham House foreign affairs think tank in London on Tuesday, Starmer said, “While I understand calls for a ceasefire at this stage, I do not believe that it is the correct position now.”

Starmer insisted he took collective responsibility – the principle that members of his frontbench team adopt a unified position – seriously, but he gave no indication he was about to sack those who had spoken out.

“It is for me to address collective responsibility, I recognize that,” he said.

He said a ceasefire would “freeze the conflict”, allowing Hamas to launch attacks against Israel again in the future.

Starmer's remarks resonated with what the hawkish leader of the Apartheid Zionist Israeli regime had said. "Calls for a ceasefire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas... That will not happen,” Netanyahu declared on television.

"Israel will fight until this battle is won," Netanyahu insisted, indicating that a “total siege”, airstrikes and shelling of the Gazans will continue until the resistance of all the Palestinians in the occupied lands is completely crushed by the Zionist occupant forces.

In the meantime, the Israeli forces intensified the weeks-long attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Gazans have been under relentless airstrikes since the Palestinian resistance group Hamas launched Operation Al-Aqsa Storm on Oct. 7 in response to decades-long Israeli regime's atrocities in the occupied Palestinian lands.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, the death toll from the Israeli attacks has climbed to 8,610.

“The victims include 3,542 children and 2,187 women, while more than 23,000 others were injured,” the ministry said.

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