Manchester City Council leader, Sir Richard Leese, issued a statement on Gaza during the Final Council Meeting calling for an end to the shocking violence in the Strip and its horrific civilian death toll.
The statement comes in response to a meeting the Leader had on Monday with North West MEP, Afzal Khan, who urged that the statement be made as a matter of urgency.
In his statement to the Council, Sir Richard Leese said: “This senseless loss of civilian lives is shocking and horrific; the cycle of mutual threat and retaliation have no lasting effect except to reinforce the misery and insecurity of everyone in the region and is making the road to peace even more difficult. There is no military solution for either side in this conflict.
Further acceleration of violence in recent days requires that our government, together with other countries redouble their efforts to bring about an immediate cessation of violence from both sides”.
“I am not going to take sides. Whatever the justification given, I cannot support Israel’s bombardments of Gaza, nor can I support Hamas firing rockets into Southern Israel. Gaza is now in the midst of a humanitarian crisis that requires the immediate opening of crossings to permit the flow of aid, commercial goods and people. It has gone on for far too long. Israel and Palestine need a permanent ceasefire and the population, Arab and Jew alike need the opportunity to build a secure and prosperous future.”
Afzal Khan MEP, who has been pushing unceasingly on all fronts for an end to the violence in Gaza, including in the EU, said: “I am very pleased that, on Tuesday, the Labour group agreed to this request”
“I welcome this statement and thank the city’s leadership for taking action in this time of crisis. As always, Manchester’s full Labour Council is taking a stand in line with the people of Manchester and is playing its part for peace in this troubled part of the world.”