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Six months into Israel’s genocidal assault against the Palestinian people of the Gaza Strip, Israel’s attack on the Iranian Embassy and Iran’s military response now raises the very real prospect of a wider regional war. Those who have failed to call for a ceasefire and continue to supply the arms used by Israel in its attacks on Palestinians bear a heavy share of the responsibility for this dangerous development. A war that could have catastrophic consequences for many millions of people must be averted. Efforts to dissipate that threat can only begin with an immediate and permanent ceasefire and an end to Israel’s cruel siege on Gaza. 

For months, those of us demanding an immediate ceasefire warned of the dangers of such an escalation. The British government ignored those warnings and instead greenlighted Israel’s ongoing genocide. The attack on the Iranian Embassy came at a moment when Israel was under increasing international pressure. It is clear that Israel intended to provoke an Iranian response, with the hope that this would bolster Western support and allow it to continue its genocidal assault under the fog of a wider war. 

Ongoing Western support for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people only serves to exacerbate the current dangerous situation. Israel is still bombing Gaza, still inflicting starvation conditions on Palestinians, and still planning a major ground offensive on Rafah. In the West Bank, Israeli settlers continue to attack Palestinians with impunity. And these current actions, including Israel’s genocidal assault upon Gaza, are all built on the foundations of 75 years of Israeli colonisation, ethnic cleansing and imposition of a system of oppression meeting the definition of apartheid, all underpinned with the complicit support of successive UK Governments, and UK companies and corporations.  

The responsibilities incumbent on Western governments remain unchanged. The recent exchanges of violence between Israel and Iran only serve to render them more urgent. The British government should make clear that it will oppose further escalation by Israel, support all UN efforts to de-escalate and finally commit to placing real pressure on Israel to end the genocide in Gaza.  

This must include working actively and effectively to secure a permanent ceasefire; taking all available measures to ensure safe access to and delivery of the essentials of existence and medical assistance to Palestinians in Gaza. This includes immediate reinstatement of funding to UNRWA; imposing sanctions upon individuals and entities who have made statements inciting genocide against Palestinians; immediately suspending the provision of weapons and weapons systems to Israel; and suspending the 2030 Road Map for UK-Israel bilateral relations. Additionally, the government needs to abandon its pernicious anti-boycott bill which goes against Britain’s obligations under international law and seeks to deny Palestinians the right to call for peaceful mechanisms, including boycott and divestment, to hold the state violating their rights to account.  

To avert the threat of a catastrophic war and ensure peace throughout the Middle East, the world must continue to demand an end to Israel’s genocide in Gaza. 

Palestine Solidarity Campaign