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Senedd repeats calls for Gaza ceasefire

02 May 2024 5 minute read
Peredur Owen Griffiths

Chris Haines, ICNN Senedd reporter

The Senedd has reiterated calls for an immediate ceasefire to end the conflict in Gaza.

Peredur Owen Griffiths led a debate on the conflict almost six months on from the Senedd voting in favour of Plaid Cymru’s calls for an immediate ceasefire.

Responding to criticism that the Senedd should concentrate on matters in Wales, and within its powers, he stressed that Welsh citizens have been directly affected by events in Gaza.

The South Wales East MS raised the example of Gillian and Pete Brisley, from Bridgend, who tragically lost their daughter and granddaughters in the Hamas attack on October 7.

He said: “I have attended prayers next to a man in Dar-ul-Isra mosque who has lost over 20 members of his immediate family in Israel’s war on Gaza.”

‘Unimaginable’

Mr Owen Griffiths told the chamber the latest death toll stands at 1,139 Israelis and 34,979 Palestinians killed, according to Al Jazeera.

He said: “In reality, the death toll is likely to be much higher, as more and more bodies are pulled out of the rubble…. This is devastation and sorrow on an unimaginable scale.”

The MS said the response from people in Wales has been clear: “Not in our name,” but he warned that that passion and determination has not been matched by Welsh ministers.

Mr Owen Griffiths suggested the Welsh Government has changed its tune, now calling for an immediate ceasefire, despite all ministers abstaining in November’s vote.

He called for “long-overdue” sanctions on Israel and an end to arms shipments, urging firms and pension schemes to stop fueling or sustaining the conflict.

‘Carnage’

Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth called for an end to the atrocities, a ceasefire, sanctions, and a massive increase in humanitarian aid.

He said: “We cannot allow the world to forget the horrors of this war. We can’t forget those killed and taken hostage on October 7, and we demand their release.

“And we must never forget the tens of thousands killed and still being killed in Gaza, the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians facing destitution, malnutrition and homelessness.”

John Griffiths said his constituents want an immediate and permanent ceasefire, the release of hostages, humanitarian aid, and the beginnings of a long-term political solution.

The Newport East MS said humanity must prevail over the terrible carnage.

Echoing the UN secretary-general António Guterres, who urged people not to be bystanders, Mr Griffiths was heartened that Welsh people have protested and made their voices heard.

‘Appalling’

Plaid Cymru’s Sioned Williams warned that 73% of the 34,000 people killed in Gaza are women and children, according to the UN.

She urged the Welsh Government to take a stand by calling out the “appalling, unjust and illegal” treatment of women and children in Gaza.

While international affairs is non-devolved, the South Wales West MS pointed out that Welsh ministers made statements on the appalling invasion of Ukraine.

Jenny Rathbone told the chamber Israel has killed more journalists in Gaza in 200 days than all the journalists killed in the second world war.

The Labour backbencher, who represents Cardiff Central, said the occupying army has a duty to care for civilians but this has not been met in Gaza nor the West Bank.

She urged the US to insist on an immediate ceasefire by withholding all military aid to Israel.

‘Grave concerns’

Mabon ap Gwynfor, who represents Dwyfor Meironionnydd, urged the Welsh Government to ensure no arms or components from Wales are sold to Israel.

The Plaid Cymru MS said: “Those who defend the actions of the state of Israel say that that state is protecting itself – but killing 35,000 people is not an act of defence.

“It’s not an act of defence to kill a third of them being children.

“It’s not an act of defence to bomb patients in hospital and it’s certainly not an act of defence to prevent humanitarian aid from reaching a population that is about to starve to death.”

Plaid Cymru deputy leader Delyth Jewell, who previously worked for Action Aid, raised grave concerns about the safety of former aid worker colleagues trapped in terrible conditions in Gaza.

‘Horrifying’

Lesley Griffiths said foreign policy is not devolved but Welsh ministers are cognisant of the real and lasting consequences of the horrifying conflict on communities in Wales.

Ms Griffiths, who was appointed culture and social justice secretary in March, said the Welsh Government’s position remains that it wants to see a ceasefire as soon as possible.

She told the debate on May 1 that spikes in Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in Wales have not been as bad as first feared, but there have been some isolated hateful incidents.

Ms Griffiths warned that Wales has not donated to alleviate suffering in Gaza because the Disasters Emergency Committee has been unable to launch an appeal.

She said Welsh Government calls to explore a Gaza resettlement scheme to help those most in need have been met with short shrift by UK ministers.


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Jeff
Jeff
19 days ago

And let free press in to fact check the idf.

Mark
Mark
19 days ago
Reply to  Jeff

And fact check the figures reported by Hamas at the same time. It is unbelievable to me that this publication and many others publish Hamas’ death toll figures as though they are fact without stating that these figures have come from a terrorist organisation with a very clear vested interest in exaggeration. There is no doubt that Israel’s response to the indescribably horrific events of October 7th is having a huge impact on the Palestinian people, but regurgitating Hamas’ propaganda for them is not helpful to anybody.

Sean Thompson
Sean Thompson
19 days ago
Reply to  Mark

The figures are produced by the Gaza Health Ministry, which isn’t synonymous with Hamas, and represent the number of bodies that have been physically identified and whose (Israeli government issued ID numbers) are known. This methodology has been recognised as reliable by UNRA and other UN agencies, as well as by other international bodies, and even, in the past, by the Israeli authorities themselves. The fact is that the Health Ministry’s figures do not include any unidentified bodies or any estimate of the probable several thousands of missing persons still to be recovered from the rubble and therefore are almost… Read more »

Mark
Mark
19 days ago
Reply to  Sean Thompson

The Gaza Health Ministry is a branch of the Hamas government, and reports to the Hamas Health Minister, Medhat Abbas. Their reports do not rely solely on identified bodies, GHM themselves acknowledge their reports are based on a combination of direct reporting and ‘media sources’ without defining what is meant by the latter. GHM’s own reports indicate between 35 & 45% of the headline figure are from these undefined media sources, not from direct reporting. You mention UNRWA. UNRWA’s credibility is in tatters since it was revealed that UNRWA personnel include Hamas terrorists, some UNRWA staff have been holding Israeli… Read more »

Riki
Riki
19 days ago

You have no voice Senedd! You could have one, had you only grown up and fought for our rights to be an independent nation. I find it ironic the people of that institution support Palestine and Ukraines right for self determination all the while not fighting for ours. Let me get this straight, Palestine is a Country, Ukraine is a Country, and Russia also has an obligation to protect their people in the eastern part of that country. What good is The UN if it can be held hostage by one country?!

Mark
Mark
19 days ago

This is virtue signalling from the Senedd. The outcome of this debate has no impact whatsoever on the behaviour of Hamas or the Israeli government, and does nothing to benefit the Welsh people. Shouldn’t the Senedd focus on the things it was elected to do, and has some control over? Rather than talking about unnecessary deaths in Gaza (tragic though they are), shouldn’t the Senedd spend more time reducing unnecessary deaths in Wales? Why are excess deaths still running so high? What role do the doctors’ strikes have in this figure? What can be done to turn the NHS into… Read more »

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