The disregard for Palestinian life is alarming – Apsana Begum MP


“The number of deaths gets higher and higher. The reports and images of the impact of the military bombardment — on refugee camps, hospitals, and schools — are simply horrifying.”

By Apsana Begum MP

The disregard for Palestinian life that has been demonstrated in the recent period has been alarming and chilling.

In East London, have been coming together for vigils and protests – community organisers, residents, and trade unionists – demanding nothing short of an immediate ceasefire, an end to the siege of Gaza and an end to the ongoing oppression and dispossession of Palestinian people.

That is why this week, I am co-sponsoring a Parliamentary amendment to the King’s Speech, along with Zarah Sultana MP, calling for a commitment to securing a ceasefire of both sides in Gaza and the release of all hostages.

The situation is urgent. Figures from Gaza indicate that over 11,000 Palestinian civilians have now been killed in just 30 days – almost half of which are children. According to Save the Children, by last week the number of Palestinian children killed in Gaza by already surpassed the annual number of children killed across the world’s conflict zones since 2019. Gaza – in the words of the U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres – is becoming a “graveyard for children”.

And it is not as if we haven’t warned of this catastrophe. It is not as if we don’t know what happens when people are denied food and water. It is not as if we are unaware that airstrikes kill and maim.

The number of deaths gets higher and higher. The reports and images of the impact of the military bombardment — on refugee camps, hospitals, and schools — are simply horrifying.

Nothing can justify these crimes against humanity that we are seeing in real-time. How can it be right to collectively punish and kill innocent civilians in response to the killing of innocent civilians?

I fear that the ongoing dehumanisation and collective punishment of Palestinian civilians will be marked as a terrible crime against humanity for years to come. History will judge all who looked away and were silent, those that traded arms to be used to kill innocent civilians, and those that gave the green light for war crimes.

Therefore, despite facing increasing censorship and smears by those seeking to justify the unjustifiable and despite there are those trying to capitalise on current events by spreading hate and division, of which I have been a target of myself, our solidarity – our sense of humanity – must never be defeated.

We, the people of the world – diverse, multicultural, multi-racial, from all faiths and none – must continue to call for peace and justice, where there are war crimes and crimes against humanity; for dignity, instead of degradation; human rights not human suffering; for freedom from illegal occupation; safety from force evictions, displacement, and dispossession; liberation from oppression and for hope where there is despair.

And ultimately, for the recognition of the state of Palestine after years of statelessness imposed on Palestinian people.

Because our struggle for human rights, freedom and liberation are intertwined with struggles for justice and equality around the world. Because none of us are free, until all oppressed people of the world are free.

  • You can read the text of the amendment here.
  • Please take 30 seconds to ask your MP to back the amendment calling for a #CeasefireNow here.
  • Apsana Begum is the MP for Poplar and Limehouse and a regular contributor to Labour Outlook. You can follow Apsana on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • If you support Labour Outlook’s work amplifying the voices of left movements and struggles in the UK and internationally, please consider becoming a supporter on Patreon.

Featured image: Apsana Begum MP addresses the Palestine Solidarity Campaign #CeasefireNow demonstration in London on November 11th, 2023. Photo credit: Apsana Begum MP/X

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