Keir Starmer has expressed concerns that a lasting ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict could potentially lead to more violence. He is working to ease rising tensions within his party regarding the situation.
During a speech in central London, the Labour leader urged world leaders to collaborate in efforts to bring peace back to the Middle East.
Starmer supported the Labour Party’s request for a temporary ceasefire to give Palestinians the opportunity to escape the violence, and for assistance to be provided to those in need.
However, he emphasized that implementing a permanent ceasefire at this point may give Hamas the ability to continue launching attacks against Israel.
During a speech at the foreign policy think tank Chatham House on Tuesday morning, he stated, “Although I recognize the desire for a ceasefire at this point, I do not believe it is the appropriate stance at this time.”
He stated that a prompt cessation of hostilities would not only strengthen Hamas, but also prevent the release of Israeli captives taken in the October 7th assault.
According to the United Nations, humanitarian pauses are brief intervals that aim to offer assistance and assistance rather than achieving permanent political resolutions.
A ceasefire aims to last for an extended period and typically aims to enable parties to participate in discussions, potentially leading to a lasting political resolution.
The most recent statement from the Labour leader regarding the conflict occurred after multiple frontbench MPs went against his stance and called for a ceasefire, contradicting his previous support for a humanitarian pause.
A minimum of 13 opposition leaders – such as Alex Cunningham, Afzal Khan, Rushanara Ali, Andy Slaughter, Jess Phillips, and Florence Eshalomi – have joined in urging for a cease to the conflict.
The Labour party has faced disagreements regarding its position on Israel, with local leaders such as Andy Burnham in Manchester and Sadiq Khan in London urging for peace agreements, while also facing opposition from Labour-run councils throughout England.
Peter Kyle, the Labour Party’s shadow science secretary, stated on Sunday that the party is not likely to dismiss its internal critics from their frontbench positions. Instead, they will continue to communicate and work with them.
Starmer reaffirmed that the Labour party upholds Israel’s right to protect its citizens, while adhering to the standards set by international law.
It is anticipated that he will emphasize the importance of activating essential services and increasing assistance. Additionally, the military operation must be carefully evaluated to ensure that civilians are not permanently displaced.
The leader of the Labour party caused upset among some members when he seemed to imply that Israel had the authority to stop the supply of electricity and water to Gaza.
During an LBC interview on October 11th, Starmer was questioned about the suitability of Israel’s response to the Hamas attacks. He stated, “I believe that Israel is within their rights to take action.” He also added that while all actions should adhere to international law, he stands behind the principle that Israel has the right to defend itself.
During an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Chris Bryant, a Labour MP and shadow minister for the creative industries, expressed his agreement with Starmer’s stance on the need to prioritize getting the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian territories back on track.
All members of the Labour party are advocating for peace, justice, and security. Bryant stated that the party’s leadership is requesting a temporary halt rather than a complete ceasefire as it is the most efficient way to provide essential resources such as food, water, medicine, and electricity to Gaza.
How can a ceasefire be reached with Hamas, a group that has no plans to disarm and has not even promised to release the hostages?
Bryant stated that Keir Starmer immediately denounced the violent attacks and emphasized the importance of leaders acting in accordance with international laws.
“We support Israel’s right to self-defense, but it should not be a blank check.”
The Labour party has suspended Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald due to comments made at a pro-Palestine rally that were deemed “deeply offensive” by a party representative.
McDonald explained that when he mentioned “between the river and the sea,” it was a sincere request for peace in the area.
Critics have deemed the slogan “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”, often used by pro-Palestinian protestors, as antisemitic. The home secretary, Suella Braverman, has stated that it is commonly interpreted as a call for the elimination of Israel.
McDonald, who is now an independent, stated that he will fully collaborate with the inquiry regarding his suspension and has faith that the whip will be reinstated.