Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Protest in Sheffield calls for end to 'senseless deaths'
and live on Freeview channel 276
Protesters gathered in Sheffield today, Saturday, October 14, to call for an end to the 'senseless deaths' in Israel and Gaza.
More than 1,300 people including many civilians were reportedly killed in Israel when Hamas fighters crossed the border last weekend.
Israel responded by heavily bombing the Gaza Strip, where Palestinian authorities said more than 2,200 people have been killed, including civilians. Israel has warned 1.1 million Palestinians living in north Gaza to evacuate to the south, ahead of an anticipiated land invasion.
Crowds gathered at Barker's Pool, outside Sheffield City Hall, on Saturday to demand an end to the violence.
The demonstration was organised by Sheffield Palestine Coalition against Israeli Apartheid and Sheffield Trade Union Council.
Sheffield TUC called for an end to the aerial bombardment of Gaza, which it said was a form of 'collective punishment' against the population of more than two million people living there. It said: "We need de-escalation, not more senseless deaths."
On Friday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak directed UK 'military assets' to de deployed to 'support Israel, reinforce regional stability and prevent escalation'.
Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said: "The monstrous terrorist attacks committed by Hamas in recent days have proven why the UK must support Israel’s absolute right to self-defence and deter malign external interference. No nation should stand alone in the face of such evil and today’s deployment will ensure Israel does not."
Following the attacks by Hamas, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: "This is an appalling attack on Israel, a terrorist attack, for which there is no justification and Israel has every right to defend herself, and the perpetrators of this have deliberately pushed back the prospect of peace agreements."
Sheffield TUC said: "We need to send a message to the Government and the Labour Party that this is not the time to show blind allegiance and support to apartheid Israel, but to urgently stop Israel's unbelievably cruel assault on Gaza.
"We need more than ever urgent international action to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine and finally to achieve a lasting peace with justice for the Palestinians."
What have politicians in Sheffield said about what is happening in Israel and Gaza?
Following the attacks by Hamas, the Israeli flag was flown from the roof of Sheffield Town Hall. Police launched an investigation after a man scaled the building to pull down the flag.
Sheffield City Council subsequently issued a joint statement by Labour's council leader Tom Hunt, Liberal Democrat Group leader Shaffaq Mohammed and Green Group leader Douglas Johnson calling for peace.
They said: "Sheffield is a global city – a City of Sanctuary – made up of many communities and faiths. We condemn all acts of terror, the escalating violence and appalling attacks on civilians in Israel.
"Terrorism can never be justified. Our thoughts are with all those affected, including here in the UK. We call for peace and an end to attacks on innocent men, women and children in Israel and Palestine."
Green Party councillor Alexi Dimond said the Israeli flag should not have been flown from Sheffield Town Hall. He said: "Hamas’ attack on civilians is a horrendous war crime, and so is the Israeli occupation, with its system of apartheid and current and frequent indiscriminate bombing of innocent civilians and the infrastructure they rely on."