Ceasefire Marches: Standing For Peace
Following the October 7th attacks, Palestine, Israel and Gaza have been hitting the media headlines with reports of the ongoing conflict. Whilst the origins of this conflict dates back much further than October, it is with the current controversy surrounding the brutality Israeli-Hamas war which has led to the pro-ceasefire marches seen in cities across the globe- including here in Oxford.
Hundreds of locals within Oxford have participated in these frequent protests, marching through the city calling for a ceasefire and chanting ‘Free Palestine,’ and ‘From the River to the Sea,’ organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
In an interview with Tanagrajabu Nala-Hartley, an independent councillor for Barton and the former chair for the Labour party, stated that these protests were to “raise awareness on what is happening in the middle east in terms of the Israeli and Palestinian situation, but more than anything it is to show solidarity with people that are suffering, so that we can strengthen their voices. A lot of them don’t have the type of voices that we have here, so our aim is really to create awareness to the British public.”
Councillor Nala-Hartley went on to say “it is within our social vigours as a society that we should care for one another, it is within the UN convention within our human rights, so the marches are really for us, it is to illustrate what is really going on.”
However, the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer (leader of the Labour Party,) have both stated their stance with Israel since the heightened tensions. Sunak has declared that the UK and his government in a speech “stands with Israel,” with his former home secretary Suella Braverman going on to say that the pro-ceasefire marches on Armistice Day were “hate marches.” Starmer has equally stated that “Israel has a right to continue with these attacks.”
Yet, on the 12th November in Oxford, the Mayor of Oxford Lubna Arshad during her Remembrance Sunday speech said that the city “stands with Palestine,” in a show of solidarity within the conflict.
Councillor Nala-Hartley in a message to the people of Oxford said that “What I have to say to the people who live in Oxford is continue to show solidarity to the people of Palstine, you must continue to challenge your MP, challenge your councillors who are not calling for a ceasefire. You must continue to show that what is happening in Israel and Palestine is wrong, and you must continue to encourage good relationships between different races in Oxford.
“What gives me comfort is the number of people who are against this war in Israel. This war has had a lot of Jewish people lead the protest, they stand there and say not in our name.”
In response to the public’s reaction to the conflict, and the conflict itself, the Scottish National Party’s motion for a vote for an immediate ceasefire was held in Parliament on Wednesday 15th November. However this was defeated, with 293 MPs voting against an immediate ceasefire. This has led to further resignations within the Labour party.