Jeremy Corbyn leads discussion in Newcastle event calling for peace amid Gaza crisis
Written by Elif Gulmen on 13th February 2024
Amid the stark realities of the ongoing Gaza crisis, a beacon of hope emerged in Newcastle as Jeremy Corbyn, a steadfast advocate for Palestinian rights, took centre stage. Newcastle played host to a fervent discussion on peace and solidarity amidst the tumultuous landscape of the Middle East.
On February 11, PalesTyne, a Palestinian support group based in Newcastle, convened their inaugural major event, titled ‘Hope in Times of Darkness,’ marking a significant gathering since Israel’s continued assault on Gaza initiated on October 7th. With roots stretching back 75 years to the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the event aimed to shed light on the ongoing crisis in Gaza, amidst global outcry for a ceasefire and an end to support for Israel.
The event served as a platform to address the pressing issues concerning Gaza both within the UK and internationally, amplifying the voices of millions of pro-Palestinian demonstrators who have taken to the streets worldwide over the past four months. Among the prominent speakers was Jeremy Corbyn, Member of Parliament for Islington North, who travelled to Newcastle expressly for the occasion.
Corbyn delivered a scathing critique of the British government, accusing it of complicity in what he termed a “genocide” unfolding over recent months.
He said: “They’re all complicit, the governments are all complicit. Some politicians seem rather belated in deciding that things have gone too far, they said there has been too many people who have been killed. What on earth do they mean?
“Where has their humanity left them? 30,000 is too many, does that mean 20,000 is alright, or 10,000 is okay or 5,000 is fine. No! It’s all wrong.”
Corbyn emphasised the dire humanitarian consequences of the conflict, painting a harrowing picture of devastation and displacement. He said: “Every day watching on our television screens, we are seeing homes being destroyed and people being killed.
“You got to understand the horror that is going on, 30,000 dead, at least, if we went to one funeral per day of each child who has been killed so far in Gaza, it would take us 27 years.
“The plan I assume is to drive all the Palestinians out of Gaza into the Sinai and create another Gaza Strip in the Sinai. Exactly the same way the 700,000 were driven out of what is now Israel in 1948.”
Corbyn has been an active member in standing in solidarity with the Palestinians and taking part in many of London Pro-Palestinian demonstrations, he said: “When I walk around my constituency, I come across people that I know, and these are people not necessarily very political or have never raised a question on international matters before.
“They’re just coming up to me on the street, saying Jeremy please do something, to bring about a ceasefire to stop the carnage that’s going on in Gaza”
Corbyn highlighted the changes that are happening in the world from what is happening in Gaza, he said: “It brings us all together, from all our communities, Black, White, Asian, Christian, Muslim, Jew and Hindu, everybody comes together.
“We’re also a movement, that utterly and totally condemns racism in any form whatsoever in our society.”
The event also provided a platform for Palestinian voices, including that of 7-year-old Moustafa Wafi from Newcastle, who addressed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak directly for derogatory remarks towards Palestinian supporters by calling them ‘idiots.’
Wafi said: “We expected the Prime Minister to come out publicly and condemn the killing of children and to demand a ceasefire but instead he came out and called us idiots. Who is the idiot? Is the idiot the one who demands freedom or is the idiot the one who refuses a ceasefire?”
“Mr Sunak you have two children do you want your children to experience what the children in Gaza are going through? Of course not, so stop supporting the killer and stand with the victims.”