1000s mourn victims of Gaza hospital bombing – and call for ceasefire


‘A ceasefire and an end to the siege in Gaza is the only way to guarantee that there is no further loss of civilian lives and that aid reaches those who need it’

The Labour Outlook team report from this evening’s vigil for the those killed in the Al Ahli hospital bombing.

This evening saw 5000 people gather outside Downing Street in a vigil called within 24 hours of last night’s Al Ahli hospital bombing, and for the over 3500 people killed in Israel’s ongoing bombardment of Gaza.

The vigil came in the wake of the bombing of the Al Ahli hospital, which saw 500 people killed. In addition to treating those wounded by the attacks, the hospital was being used as a shelter for thousands of Palestinians seeking refuge from the air raids. 

In a powerful moment, hundreds knelt in the rain to pray for those who had lost their lives at the hospital and during the course of the bombardment. Others held candles to commemorate the dead.   

While the Israeli government has denied responsibility, claiming that it was a misfire from an Islamic Jihad missile, many remain sceptical. As Andy McDonald MP pointed out on social media, before the widespread condemnation of the attack, senior Israeli officials had celebrated it. In fact, the hospital had already been struck three days prior to last night’s horrific scenes. In a blow to their credibility, an IDF spokesperson appeared to say that while the Israeli military had misrepresented these kind of events in the past, on this occasion they had not.

President Biden has accepted the Israeli government’s explanation, but the UK government said it would conduct its own investigation. However, in his answer to a question from Diane Abbott in the House of Commons chamber, the Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, appeared to oppose any independent investigation to see if a war crime had been committed. The government’s position has so far been to oppose any investigation of the International Criminal Court into whether the Israeli government had committed war crimes in Gaza – despite warnings from the UN and others that the Israeli military may be responsible for forced displacement and collective punishment. Both violate international law.

The killing of hundreds of civilians at the hospital has increased the pressure for a ceasefire. Today, over 60 international organisations have demanded an immediate ceasefire, and 45 MPs have signed a motion calling for a cessation of hostilities. 

It’s clear that a ceasefire and an end to the siege in Gaza is the only way to guarantee that there is no further loss of civilian lives and that aid reaches those who need it – a million of whom have been displaced by the violence and the Israeli military’s evacuation order. And it is vital that all accusations of war crimes should be investigated by the ICC – and that those who committed them face justice.

Featured image: Attendees at the vigil held candles to mourn the dead

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