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Senedd backs motion calling for immediate ceasefire in Gaza and Israel

08 Nov 2023 5 minute read
Plaid Cymru Leader Rhun ap Iorwerth

MSs have backed calls for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

The Plaid Cymru motion was supported in the Senedd after ministers in the Welsh Government abstained and offered its backbenchers a free vote.

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.

Proposing the motion, Plaid leader Rhun ap Iorweth told the Senedd: “I feel the need to speak today as a member of humanity.

“We are human. The pain of loss is felt equally by an Israeli and a Palestinian mother. Today we speak up for peace for all mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters.

“We speak today in pursuit of unity. We reject division. We take a stand against those seeking to encourage division.

“The motion today, condemning as it does the horrifying attacks, calling for the immediate release of hostages, notes clearly that Israel has a duty to ensure the protection, security and welfare of its citizens.

“But in the war that ensued after October 7, the response that ensued – inevitable as a response was going to be, so there has to be a duty to be proportionate; international law is clear on that.

“There can never be justification for the collective punishment of an entire population.”

Amendment 

An amendment put forward by the Welsh Conservative MS Darren Millar, and supported by Labour backbenchers Alun Davies and Hefin David, instead called for a “suspension of hostilities to allow for the establishment of humanitarian corridors”.

Moving the amendment, Mr Millar said: “It was the worst atrocity committed against the Jewish people since the Holocaust.

“Let us be clear, Hamas is a racist, genocidal, misogynistic and homophobic organisation, which is hell bent on terror.

“We all do stand united in this chamber in condemning their actions on October 7.

“Israel, as is the case for any sovereign state has the right to defend itself, and its citizens in the face of such barbarity.

“But it’s important to draw the distinction here. Israel is at war with Hamas. It is not at war with the Palestinian people.

“It must conduct that war in accordance with international law, including avoiding civilian casualties.

“We all want an end to the violence. But a ceasefire can only ever be successful if it’s observed by both parties in a conflict.

“Hamas must release their hostages unconditionally and lay down their arms. Israel must then stop the bombing.

“The Rafah crossing must be open to ensure that there’s access to humanitarian aid and medical treatment.

“And the international community must work with vigour with Palestinian and Israeli leaders and regional partners to deliver a permanent peace settlement that we can deliver security and prosperity based on the principle of a two-state solution.”

Complicit

Labour backbencher Jenny Rathbone told the Senedd: “The war crimes of Hamas cannot justify similar breaches of the Geneva convention by the Israeli Government, and the UK Government cannot be complicit, or they too could end up in the International Criminal Court.

“Any nation conducting any armed conflict, no matter what the provocation, is bound in law to comply with all the laws of war.

“Time is not on our side. The 240 hostages will perish along with the rest of the Gazan population unless there is a let-up in the constant bombardment.

“Failure to act and augment the clamour for a ceasefire is likely to lead to the death of hundreds of thousands of people. We cannot be a bystander in this appalling conflict.”

Social justice minister Jane Hutt, who was representing the Welsh Government in the debate, said ministers would abstain as under devolution it had no formal role in foreign affairs.

“It’s clear from this debate that this Senedd is united, united in our horror at the events that have unfolded in Israel and Gaza over recent weeks,” she said.

“The appalling attack by Hamas on innocent civilians in Israel and their capture of civilian hostages has shocked us all.

“The unimaginable suffering of so many innocent civilians we are now witnessing in Gaza and the resulting humanitarian catastrophe are an affront to our common humanity.

“We are clear about the horror of this humanitarian disaster, but I believe that we’re also clear about the urgent need to ensure that aid can reach the people who desperately need it, including the restoration of electricity, fuel, food and water to Gaza.

“That’s why the First Minister has joined with calls for an immediate humanitarian pause as the quickest and most effective way to allow this to happen, but also, crucially, as the most realistic route and platform for reaching a full ceasefire as soon as possible.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has also backed calls for a humanitarian pause.

The Urdd youth organisation, Muslim Council of Wales, Wales TUC and Cymdeithas yr Iaith Welsh language society have also joined the calls for a ceasefire.


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Richard E
Richard E
5 months ago

Da Iawn Senedd Cymru 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿
mewn undeb mae nerth ✔️

G Horton-Jones.
G Horton-Jones.
5 months ago

In the interests of democracy and with respect to the People of Wales publish
the names of all who voted and how they voted or if they abstained

John Brooks
John Brooks
5 months ago

As always it will be on the Senedd website.

oatmaster
oatmaster
5 months ago
Alwyn
Alwyn
5 months ago
Reply to  oatmaster

Interesting bedfellows against – Mark Drakeford and Janet Finch-Saunders

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
5 months ago
Reply to  Alwyn

Mark Drakeford abstained. I would have preferred for him to vote for a ceasefire but he certainly didn’t vote against.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
5 months ago

Plaid Cymru Leader Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said the Senedd has taken a stand “in the cause of humanity”……amen to that! Delighted to see our nation’s Parliament reaffirming Wales’ proud tradition of promoting peace and humanitarianism.

John Brooks
John Brooks
5 months ago

A good day for Wales. Well done for calling for an end to the violence and for a ceasefire. So glad I live in a country that supports peace and humanitarianism.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
5 months ago

Da iawn. Nid mor llwfr ag a feddyliais. It will be obvious from the Record who supports apartheid.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
5 months ago

The passing of this motion in the senedd makes me proud to be Welsh!

Maglocunos
Maglocunos
5 months ago

Pleidleisiodd Cyngor Dinas Bangor i gefnogi cynnig yn galw am gadoediad a diwedd ar y rhyfela dydd Llun. Da iawn nhw am wneud safiad

Bangor City Council voted to support a motion calling for a ceasefire on Monday. Well done them for making a stand

Cilmeri
Cilmeri
5 months ago

Siomedig iawn gyda Alun Davies. Disgwyl gwell. Ond gwych bod cynifer wedi cefnogi. Y gwaethaf yw’r 13 gwrthododd mynegi barn. Llwfrdra Llafurwyr? Who were the 13 who abstained? Cowardly in the face of such horrors.

Steffan ap Huw
Steffan ap Huw
5 months ago
Reply to  Cilmeri

You have no idea why those 13 abstained, so stow your faux outrage. If I had a vote, I also would have abstained, although I deplore the destruction visited upon the innocent. This whole exercise is a waste of the Senedd’s time, and an indicator of how virtue-signalling is becoming normalised in our culture.

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
5 months ago

Good move

Steffan ap Huw
Steffan ap Huw
5 months ago

To all those applauding this exercise in pointlessness (virtue-signalling), where are the calls for something to be done about, say, the Yemeni genocide – an atrocity which dwarfs the Palestinian tragedy? Why the selective outrage?

Perhaps the Senedd should operate within its remit to govern Wales, rather than pursue this self-righteous posturing that accomplishes absolutely nothing.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
5 months ago
Reply to  Steffan ap Huw

Virtue signalling? What a good little culture warrior you are!

Steffan ap Huw
Steffan ap Huw
5 months ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

If it’s not virtue-signalling, then please explain to me what the efficacy of this motion is.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
5 months ago
Reply to  Steffan ap Huw

Your use of the term ‘virtue signalling’ says everything we need to know about your (right-wing) politics. I’m just surprised that you haven’t accused the Senedd of being ‘woke’ as well.

Personally I’m proud that the Senedd has decided to take a stand on this issue, in spite of what the spiteful little culture warriors think.

And your reference to the Yemeni genocide is just a superb example of what-about-ery.

Steffan ap Huw
Steffan ap Huw
5 months ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

You have no idea of my politics. I notice you haven’t addressed any of my arguments, but have chosen to go the ad homenin route and pass (baseless) judgement about me as a person. Pretty pathetic, tbh. Answer me: what possible benefit is there that the Senedd has taken a “stand” on this issue? And my reference to the Yemeni genocide highlights the cherry-picking going on here. You may see it as a what-about-ism, but I think my point is valid, and worthy of addressing. But, if my arguments have triggered you beyond your ability to reason with me, I… Read more »

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
5 months ago
Reply to  Steffan ap Huw

‘Virtue signalling’ is deployed by right-wingers as a pejorative term against people of a more progressive mind-set so calling you out on your right-wing politics is a fair point – I suspect that you’re just p!ssed off at being caught out that’s all. And as to your question “what possible benefit is there that the Senedd has taken a stand on this issue” – well that really smacks of defeatism on your part. What is the point in taking a stand on anything over which we have no direct control (including Yemen)? To make our voices heard that’s what. Whatever… Read more »

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
5 months ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

Dont recall his fake profile trolling nation’s cymru’s comment section when the Senedd passed a motion on ukraine (and the Welsh govt also made a statement on it)….despite ukraine also being a ‘foreign policy’ matter and which is not devolved. Clearly the hypocrite can be ‘selective’ when it suits him 😉.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
5 months ago
Reply to  Steffan ap Huw

Dont recall your fake profile bombarding nation’s cymru’s comment section when the Senedd passed a motion on ukraine (and the Welsh govt also made a statement on it)….despite ukraine also being a ‘foreign policy’ matter and which is not devolved. Now who’s being ‘selective’ 😉

Roderich Heier
Roderich Heier
5 months ago

The minister for social justice Jane Hutt says that ministers will abstain because under devolution they have no responsibility for foreign affairs. This has got nothing to do with devolution or foreign affairs. It is first and foremost a humanitarian issue.

Steffan ap Huw
Steffan ap Huw
5 months ago
Reply to  Roderich Heier

And she’s absolutely correct. The Senedd has no influence whatsoever on the crisis, so why should it make a statement of any kind?

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
5 months ago
Reply to  Steffan ap Huw

Well that’s a defeatist attitude!

Steffan ap Huw
Steffan ap Huw
5 months ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

You again. Someone else commented on this article that Bangor City Council passed a similar motion to that of the Senedd. Bangor. City. Council. Let that sink in. Let’s do a thought experiment: would you agree that, on a spectrum of players ranging from those who can make a vital difference (e.g. US, UN) to those wholly removed from the problem (e.g. a tribesman on the Amdaman islands), one can reasonably draw a line where it becomes fruitless to pass such a motion, or make such a “stand”? If so, where would that line best be drawn, and upon what… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Steffan ap Huw
Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
5 months ago
Reply to  Steffan ap Huw

So to be clear then, those countries that are too small to exert any real influence (such as Wales or Iceland) shouldn’t be allowed to express an opinion. Is that what you’re suggesting? Leave it all to the powerful and influential countries?

Steffan ap Huw
Steffan ap Huw
5 months ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

Again you twist my words. I never said anything about preventing anyone from making a statement. I _am_ saying that there is a point when it’s talk only and no substance. And I am clearly arguing that the Senedd falls into this category. As has been mentioned at the start of this thread, the Gaza conflict is a matter of foreign policy, which is controlled by the UK government. Now, the UK’s influence is certainly diminished, but I would hope that a statement made by the UK government or even parliament might carry some weight. But the Senedd? No. I… Read more »

robin campbell
robin campbell
5 months ago
Reply to  Steffan ap Huw

I assume The Scots and Irish have no influence on this either but they made their feelings known. You could argue it’s only the USA, Kuwait and a few others that do. Does that mean as a country we just sit back? Aren’t we part of the international community or should be stick to putting a tax on plastic bags? I’m glad that the Senedd passed the motion

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