Calls for MP to help end Gaza conflict

By Ian Dipple Thursday 14 August 2014 Updated: 15/08 09:08

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Buy photos » Redditch Palestine Solidarity Campaign members Steve Pound, Michael Bennett, Alistair Waugh, Rev Nasief Kawar, Gabby Hemming and (back) Simon Venables outside Redditch MP Karen Lumley's office. Picture by Ian Dipple (s).

MORE than 100 people have backed an open letter to the town's MP calling for her to do more to push the Government to increase its role in ending the conflict in Gaza.

Redditch Palestine Solidarity Campaign gathered the signatures in less than a week on a letter urging Karen Lumley to put pressure on ministers to do all they can to prevent the Israeli government engaging in collective punishment of the civilians of Gaza. It also urges her to push the Foreign Office to prevent the sale of arms to Israel and to remind the Prime Minister of his acknowledgement of Israel's economic blockade on Palestine as a major cause of the conflict.

The current conflict began over a month ago with Israel stating the aim was to stop rocket attacks from Gaza which killed one and seriously injured at least four other Israeli citizens.

More than 1,800 Palestinians have been killed since the fighting began - the vast majority of them civillians - with at least 400 children losing their lives and another 200 being injured.

A fragile ceasefire was in place at the time the Standard went to press as talks continued to negotiate a long-term settlement.

Mike Bennett, of Redditch Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), said Mrs Lumley had been sympathetic to the group's concerns and pledged to act on them.

"This is just a beginning for Redditch PSC. We are now making plans to formally establish a branch and ensure that actions are being taken in the town on a regular basis to raise awareness of the occupation, the siege and bombardment of Gaza and the campaign for peace and justice in Israel-Palestine."

Residents are now being urged to write to Mrs Lumley to thank her for listening to the group's concerns, press her to join other MPs in pushing for an arms embargo and remind her of the importance of ensuring the blockade on Gaza is lifted as part of a genuine negotiated settlement.

The group also plans to hold its first public meeting in the near future which will include a showing of the film Five Broken Cameras.

Mrs Lumley has already written to the Prime Minister to voice her concern about the current situation.

She said while she supported Israel's right to defend its territory, some of the state's recent actions had been 'simply indefensible'.

"The current situation is harmful to prospects for the Middle East Peace Process and Britain must do all it can to condemn it."

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