LONDON: The Labour MP M. Afzal has again demanded that the fighting in Gaza must stop. He was among eight shadow ministers to step down from the frontbench after the vote on last Thursday.
Manchester Gorton MP Mr Khan said the answer was not to be “more barbaric” than Hamas. “An eye for an eye. We will all end up blind and that’s not the way forward,” he said. “I feel in the response it is almost collective punishment and I feel Israel has crossed all red lines.”
According to a BBC report, he said it was clear that the focus should now be on finding peace. “I know this as 18 years ago I set up the Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester,” he said.
“In the last Gaza war we brought people together and, after that session, the thing that hit me the strongest was a simple point – both sides wanted peace.”
About 240 people were kidnapped by Hamas gunmen during the group’s 7 October massacre, which killed 1,200 people. More than 12,000 people have been killed in Gaza since Israel began its retaliatory strikes.
Labour has instead called for a “humanitarian pause”. The vote was on a Scottish National Party amendment to a government motion on its plans for the year ahead, presented in the King’s Speech last week.
It called for an end to the “collective punishment of the Palestinian people” and urged “all parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire”.
Sir Keir had signalled before the vote that MPs holding a frontbench role would be sacked if they backed the ceasefire call. As a result, Mr Afzal Khan resigned from his role as shadow minister for exports along with Jess Phillips, Yasmin Qureshi, Paula Barker, Sarah Owen, Rachel Hopkins, Naz Shah and Andy Slaughter.
It was defeated by 125 votes to 294, with the 56 Labour rebels joining other opposition parties to demand a ceasefire. A Labour motion, tabled by Sir Keir, backed a pause in the conflict instead, to allow in more humanitarian aid was also heavily defeated.
Mr Khan said while he felt Labour was moving in the right direction as a humanitarian pause was a “starting point,” he said progress was slow.
“I think the scale of the losses we already have demands that we should have a ceasefire,” he said.
“My concern is we don’t stop here. We need to now resolve it so we don’t end up with a cycle of violence where innocent people in Israel and Palestine lose their lives”, he added.
Mr. Afzal Khan again demanded in his referring speech at the Parliament on Thursday and said that the death toll in Gaza has now surpassed 12,000, with over 4,000 children killed by the Israeli military. I continue to believe the only way forward is for an urgent ceasefire.
He also wrote a letter to Labour Leader Sir Keir on 15th November justifying his resignation from his role as shadow minister for exports.