Gaza ceasefire vote: Ceasefire 'unworkable' say Chesterfield MP - as he calls for International Criminal Court to prosecute atrocities
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The Gaza ceasefire vote hosted in parliament yesterday afternoon has caused a storm of emotions across the UK. 293 MPs voted against the motion calling for all parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire, while 125 were in favour.
Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins did not vote at all causing a backlash from some of his constituents online accusing him of ‘not being interested in innocent lives being lost and the suffering that civilians are facing’.
Following the comments, Mr Perkins has shared his thoughts on the situation and explained he does not believe a ceasefire is possible.
He said: “The events that have been transpiring in Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank have been awful to see. It all demonstrates how far away the world is from achieving peace and a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.
"I utterly condemn the killing of civilians on both sides of the conflict and I am desperate to see peace in the region. However, it is clear that neither Hamas nor Netanyahu’s government want peace right now and so a ceasefire is unworkable and we must seek a way forward that is realistic.”
As the Chesterfield MP did not take part in the ceasefire vote, he supported another Gaza-related motion that called for extended humanitarian pauses.
Mr Perkins said: “I believe extended humanitarian pauses to be a more effective and feasible route to peace in this region, taking palatable steps towards peace to try and coax both sides of this conflict towards a peace process. Any lasting peace will require negotiations and a path to a secure Israel alongside an independent Palestine.
"A full humanitarian pause will facilitate these meetings where a ceasefire would be rejected outright. Simply calling for things that are ignored weakens, not strengthens, the West's influence in this appalling situation.I think it was a mistake by the Government not to back the Labour amendment, as a unified voice from Parliament would have carried more weight.
“The conditions required for a lasting ceasefire must begin with two sides who want peace. A ceasefire was supposedly in place when the barbaric attacks on Israel on 7th October took place. This was the worst terrorist atrocity since 9/11 and the sadistic and glorified taking of life that was witnessed during those sustained murderous attacks has changed the context of this situation.
"I have no respect for Netanyahu, nor do I support Israel's approach to Palestine, but those attacks meant that it was inevitable that the response would seek to prevent Hamas having the capacity to mount attacks of that sort again – attacks which senior Hamas officials have already said they plan to do again.
“However, I also believe Israel must be held to account for their conduct of the war and as our motion re-affirmed the International criminal court must be allowed to prosecute anyone committing atrocities. As we move to the second phase of this and there are troops on the ground, we should absolutely demand more precision and an end to the civilian bloodshed. Israel must account for their actions. Every civilian life is equal - Gazan or Israeli.”