Green’s motion on Gaza conflict disallowed
My motion calling for peace in Tower Hamlets and a ceasefire in Gaza was not been allowed to be presented at the Full Council this evening 15 November 2023.
Having spoken to the legal and monitoring officer, this decision to disallow motions on the topic was taken because the issue is not something that Tower Hamlets Council has any direct influence over, and there are safety concerns for some councillors.
The full text of my motion is below:
This council notes that:
- The Israeli Government is pursuing an offensive operation into the Palestinian territory known as the Gaza Strip with the intention to retaliate after Hamas operatives entered southern Israel, killed Israeli civilians and captured over 200 Israeli hostages.
- Hamas is designated as a terror organisation by the UK Government.
- The Palestinian people are being caught up in the fighting without adequate aid, resources or information to keep them safe. This has unnecessarily turned this war into a humanitarian crisis in which Palestinian civilians have nowhere safe to go.
- The current conflict is taking place in the context that in March 2022, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories determined that the “political system of entrenched rule” in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip “satisﬁes the prevailing evidentiary standard for the existence of apartheid.”
- The UN General Assembly has condemned Israel’s recent offensive actions, and, in the resolution passed on 26 October 2023, called for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce” between Israeli forces and Hamas militants in Gaza.
- There has been a 14-fold increase in anti-Semitic incidents; and a 3-fold increase in Islamophobic incidents in London since the outbreak of the conflict.
- Tower Hamlets is one of the most diverse areas of the country, home to people of all faiths; and Tower Hamlets has a successful history of championing diversity, bridging differences, and standing up to racism and bigotry.
This council believes that:
- The conflict has sent shockwaves through Tower Hamlets, as noted by the increase in tensions in the community.
- We as local representatives have a responsibility to smooth community tensions, enable cooperation between groups and ensure the safety (and perception of safety) for all our residents, visitors and staff.
- While the conflict has sent shockwaves around the world, wars can be exploited by those who want to sow division, and we must do our best to not allow the awful events in Palestine to spill over into conflict here in Tower Hamlets.
This council resolves to:
- Actively support efforts in Tower Hamlets to bring our communities together:
- Support the Community Tension Monitoring Group, which brings together faith groups, community leaders and the local authority, to jointly issue statements of unity and empathy.
- Facilitate conversations between, and share information with, the MET, faith groups, and front-line staff with the aim of ensuring all residents, visitors and staff feel safe and welcome in our borough.
- Show empathy for the victims of this terrible conflict and any relatives or friends of those affected in Tower Hamlets.
- Mandate our Mayor to write to UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with the following messages:
- Demand that the UK Government supports calls for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
- Use the influence of the UK Government to persuade the Israeli Government to allow adequate aid, resources and information to be given to the Palestinian civilians currently in dire need.
- Demand an end to the UK’s lucrative arms trade which supplies conflicts around the world.
- Offer a pathway for Gazan civilians affected by the conflict to claim asylum, and obtain indefinite leave to remain in the UK to live, work and study here.
The fact that motions on the conflict in Gaza were not accepted for debate in Tower Hamlets is covered in the press here: https://romanroadlondon.com/tower-hamlets-aspire-labour-green-gaza-ceasefire-motion-rejected-council/