Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, has once again refused calls to support a ceasefire in the occupied Gaza Strip, incredibly arguing that such a move would only lead to more deaths. 
Starmer’s defence of Labour’s call for a “humanitarian pause” to allow Palestinians to escape Israel’s onslaught on the besieged territory has received a mixed reaction.
However, his claim that a permanent ceasefire at this stage could leave Hamas with the capability to carry out further attacks in Israel has drawn significant criticism.
Starmer told guests at a Tuesday event hosted at Chatham House,
“While I understand calls for a ceasefire at this stage, I do not believe that it is the correct position now.” 
The Labour chief argued that an immediate ceasefire would both empower Hamas and hinder the return of Israeli prisoners of war who were captured in the 7 October military operation.
This claim differs from the calls for a more lasting ceasefire from wider sections of UK society and the international community.
“Humanitarian pauses”, as defined by the United Nations, are generally short-term initiatives aimed at providing aid and support, rather than achieving long-term political solutions.
On the other hand, ceasefires are intended to be long-lasting and usually seek to facilitate negotiations, including the possibility of a permanent political settlement.
Conflict within Labour
Starmer’s latest intervention on the conflict has come after some of his frontbench MPs openly called for a ceasefire, contrary to his support for a humanitarian pause.
Notably, at least 13 shadow ministers, including Alex Cunningham, Afzal Khan, Rushanara Ali, Andy Slaughter, Jess Phillips, and Florence Eshalomi, have joined the chorus advocating for an end to the hostilities. 
This internal party division is being further exacerbated by conflicting stances on Israel held by devolved mayors including Andy Burnham in Manchester and Sadiq Khan in London, who have both called for a ceasefire. 
This divergence is also being felt in Labour-led councils across England.
Corbyn leads the way
Also on Tuesday, Jeremy Corbyn, the former Labour leader, said in an X post,
“Today, I am thinking of human beings in Gaza buried under the rubble.
“I am thinking of their joys, dreams, hopes & fears.
“I wonder, if the dust ever settles, whether opponents of a ceasefire will look back and reflect on the cost of their inhumanity. We need a ceasefire, now.” 
Corbyn, an outspoken critic of Israel’s apartheid policies, has — over the years — attended numerous pro-Palestine demonstrations and in this latest round of escalations has called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
He has also regularly demanded an end to the illegal occupation of all Palestinian land.
Support for a war crime
Starmer has drawn shock and disbelief for his comments implying Israel’s right to cut off the supply of power and water to Gaza.
Withholding water, food, and fuel is a war crime under international law.
When asked during an LBC interview on 11 October as to whether such a step was an appropriate response by Israel, he replied,
“I think Israel does have that right.” 
MP suspended after calling for peace
Prior to Starmer’s speech, Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald was suspended for comments made at a pro-Palestine rally, which were deemed offensive by a party spokesperson.
In his defence, McDonald stated that the reference to the phrase “…between the river and the sea” was merely a heartfelt plea for peace in the region. 
McDonald had said,
“Until all people, Israelis and Palestinians, between the river and the sea can live in peaceful liberty.” 
The slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”, as used by pro-Palestinian demonstrators, has faced baseless criticism for being perceived as anti-Semitic.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has in recent days claimed that it was widely understood to call for the destruction of Israel. 
By once again declining to push for a ceasefire, be it intentionally or unintentionally, Sir Keir Starmer continues to act as a mouthpiece for the global Zionist lobby, most alarmingly in his position as Labour party leader.
And in spite of dozens of councillors quitting the party, senior MPs raising calls for a ceasefire, and most likely thousands of, if not more, Muslim Labour supporters cancelling their memberships or declaring never again to support the party, it is evident that Starmer could not care less about being on the right side of history.
Indeed, you only need to look back to his infamous LBC interview to recognise that the former Director of Public Prosecutions and human rights barrister — a King's Counsel no less — has lost all sense of morality and he ought to hand back his law degree to the University of Leeds.
Continued disregard for Palestinian lives
Israel’s brutal and indiscriminate airstrikes and ground offensives on Gaza demonstrate a profound disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians.
This includes severing access to crucial necessities such as food, water, fuel, and electricity for Gaza’s 2.3 million inhabitants as part of an unrelenting air campaign.
This has led to complete devastation in entire neighbourhoods and pushed the humanitarian situation to the brink.
Hospitals are already out of fuel; doctors are using smartphone torches for emergency surgeries, anaesthetic is unavailable; paediatric unit incubators are on the edge of collapse, and yet the Labour leader believes a ceasefire will cause further deaths.
Targeting “safe” sites including hospitals
The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) have also targeted civilian shelters that provide refuge for displaced people.
On 17 October, an airstrike obliterated al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, resulting in the deaths and injuries of well in excess of 500 civilians, including many children. 
Shortly after al-Ahli was hit, the IDF targeted the 12th century Greek Orthodox St. Porphyrios Church in Gaza City, leading to further civilian casualties.
The horrifying death toll among Palestinians continues to rise, with over 8,000 civilians martyred thus far.
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