Ceasefire in Gaza

It is with great concern that I write on the appalling and worsening situation in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Now in its fourth month the death toll from the Israeli bombardment is truly shocking with more than 24,000 Palestinians killed – the overwhelming majority being innocent civilians including more than 8,000 children. This is deeply disturbing.

The brutal murder of 1,200 Israeli civilians in October was no doubt an horrific act, but the response by Israel has seen more than 20 times as many innocent Palestinians killed – this is completely disproportionate. This collective punishment, with entire neighbourhoods bombed and almost all civilian infrastructure destroyed, is an act of grave injustice. All of this is being done in the name of fighting Hamas but it is the innocent Palestinians who are suffering in their millions.

Gaza’s hospitals have been devastated with victims who survived the bombings suffering further due to a complete lack of medical facilities. Additionally, disease and hunger are rife with almost no aid being allowed to reach those in desperate need. The desecration of at least 16 cemetries adds further to the horrors of the attacks on Gaza.

More worryingly the Israeli government is now talking about the war continuing throughout 2024 and some even calling for the expulsion of Palestinians from Gaza. These are unthinkable acts of cruelty, forcing innocent civilians to suffer continuously with no end in sight.

The international community seems to have abandoned any and all rules of war and the UN has repeatedly failed to secure a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire despite acknowledging the catastrophic humanitarian situation. Mere talks about a ceasefire offer no comfort to those under threat of constant bombardment. Concrete steps, starting with an immediate ceasefire, are urgently needed to end the suffering of the Gazan civilians and to bring peace to the region.

In a recent sermon, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, expressed concern at the increasing injustice and the growing possibility of a wider conflict. His Holiness said,

“The Israeli government has given its forces the message that 2024 will also be the year of war… It is also being said now that there is a risk of regional escalation from the war. And then it could escalate further into a world war. The situation continues to get worse. Whilst the US government is apparently telling them (Israel) to limit the war, it seems like empty words and that they are reluctantly saying this. May Allah have mercy on the Palestinians and on the Muslims, and grant them wisdom and sense.”

His Holiness has repeatedly urged all world powers to de-escalate the conflict, and has emphasised the need for a lasting, peaceful solution based on justice, cautioning that,

“As long as [world leaders] do not courageously strive for a ceasefire, they are invariably responsible for taking the world towards destruction.”

I appeal to you, for the sake of humanity, to press for an immediate end to this suffering.

I urge you to support this call for peace and press the UK Government to call for an immediate ceasefire and the release of all hostages. Furthermore, humanitarian aid must be allowed to reach all who need it, and all parties must comply with international laws. Equally importantly every action must be taken to ensure that a lasting and just peace is secured for the region and the wider world.

I again call for your support on this most urgent of matters and I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,