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First Minister shares bilingual peace message amid concerns over Gaza stance

21 May 2024 5 minute read
Vaughan Gething. Photo James Manning/PA Wire

Stephen Price

Vaughan Gething has shared a bilingual address calling for peace and goodwill, amid concerns over his decision to abstain from voting for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The Welsh and English message came as part of Urdd Cymru’s annual Peace and Goodwill message which was shared across his social channels.

He says: “I’m proud to support the Urdd’s Peace and Goodwill message which has existed for over a century. The Urdd’s message of peace and goodwill is a true reflection of the issues that mean the most to young people in Wales.

“This year’s message marks 100 years since the Welsh Women’s Peace Petition 1924. Incredibly 400,000 women of Wales signed this petition calling for peace – and in today’s world I can think of no better message. A huge thank you to the Urdd. This message is so very important.

“Everyone together for peace.”


The message came as part of a 102-year tradition of sharing an annual Peace and Goodwill Message by the young people of Wales with the world.

This year’s message from Urdd Gobaith Cymru is titled ‘Gweithred yw Gobaith – Hope is an Action’, which has also been brought to life in a striking animated film.

In a separate press release, the Welsh First Minister called the message “a call to action for world leaders, with the collective aim to strive for a better future for us all.

He added: “More than ever, I encourage everyone to engage with the Urdd’s message and help make sure that the voices of our young people are heard around the globe.”

The message has been met with a mixed response online – with many calling it virtue signalling, with X users particularly enraged.

Martin Anthony wrote: “What a hypocrite, peace , goodwill and listen to voices. You have no goodwill you sacked a female minister on the assumption of being a whistleblower, you never listen to others and do exactly what you want.”

Viv Jones wrote: “No mention of a #ceasefirenow or the #GazaGenocide‌ ? Obviously scared of sleazy backstabbing Starmer. You’re just the same, our people want you out! Vote for independence, not corruption


The young women responsible for creating this year’s Peace Message are Cardiff and Vale ESOL students (English for Speakers of Other Languages) who have found refuge and made Wales their home along with some of the Urdd’s female staff, apprentices, and volunteers.

Shatw Ali is one of the young women who contributed to the message. She said: “Peace is a place where parents don’t have to worry about how to feed their children.

“Where children can watch fireworks instead of watching bombs fall from the sky. It might seem impossible to find a place like that on this planet but if you look carefully, you’ll find it, just like how I found Wales. A land, an oasis of serenity amidst the chaotic world.”

Abstention from vote

The Senedd reiterated calls for an immediate ceasefire to end the conflict in Gaza this month, six months on from a vote in favour of Plaid Cymru’s calls for an immediate ceasefire.

The motion, which condemned the attacks by Hamas on Israeli civilians, and the Israeli government’s “indiscriminate attacks on Gaza”, was carried by 24 votes to 19 with 13 Senedd members abstaining – with Vaughan Gething among those that abstained.

Also, in a question raised on Tuesday 23 April, Mr Griffiths asked: “Does he now agree with Members on the Plaid Cymru benches that an immediate ceasefire is the only way to guarantee the end of the bloodshed, for the return of the hostages, and an end to the famine we are seeing in Gaza?”

The First Minister replied: “It’s been the position of the Welsh Government for some time that there should be an immediate ceasefire.”


The Plaid Cymru MS is now calling for an urgent “unequivocal” statement confirming the Welsh Government’s position.

Mr Griffiths said: “Ever since the October attacks, Plaid Cymru has been calling for an end to the violence in Gaza and Israel, for the return of hostages and an immediate ceasefire in this escalating conflict.

“Labour – both at UK level and in Wales – have obfuscated and tinkered with the wording of parliamentary motions put forward by Plaid Cymru and others.

“We welcome the First Minister’s comments in the Senedd that there needs to be an immediate ceasefire in Gaza but were confused by his assertion that it has been the position of the Government for ‘some time.’

“I – and many anti-war campaigners – have missed this previous assertion by the Welsh Government that an immediate ceasefire is needed and would appreciate clarity on when this was made.

“We know that all Welsh Government ministers abstained when Plaid Cymru gave them the chance in November to support an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

“Since then, over 30,000 innocent Palestinians in Gaza have been killed, many in bombed hospitals and schools, and so much infrastructure has been destroyed, along with many sites of cultural significance.”

He added: “This war is having an effect here in Wales too. As I raised today, so many people in Wales have family who are trapped in Gaza, many relatives have been killed and many are facing starvation. They must be supported by the Welsh Government wherever possible.

“Given everyone missed the Welsh Government’s previous support for an immediate ceasefire, it is essential that an unequivocal statement is issued urgently by them to add weight to the growing international community outraged by the death and destruction ongoing in Gaza.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said the First Minister had been “clear” on his position regarding Gaza and there is nothing further to add.

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