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Monday, July 28

Ideas For Peace - Gaza and Israel?
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Doesn't look like this is open to just 38Degrees members or you might like to sign up to have a say?

In the past 20 days of fighting in Gaza and Israel more than 1000 people have been killed and tens-of-thousands have been injured - many of them children [1]

Yesterday there was a brief 12 hour truce. Foreign ministers from around the world, including Philip Hammond MP, met in Paris to try to reach a long-term ceasefire. Fighting started again overnight. [2] But just this morning both sides agreed to a further 24 hour truce. It's not clear yet if it will hold. [3]

38 Degrees is a movement which stands for peace. In the news day after day we’ve seen men, women and children from both sides being killed. The natural reaction is to want to help - to do something.

The war is over 2,300 miles away from the UK. The conflict is long, bloody and seemingly neverending.It’s easy to feel powerless. 38 Degrees members have been sharing feelings of frustration and despair at what’s happening.

“The killing of innocent people, in particular children, totally unacceptable regardless of the argument.” Aidan

“If we could persuade our government to change course, against immensely powerful lobbyists, many other governments would probably capitulate, bringing a well deserved peace to the region at last.” Robin

“I am a 38 Degrees member and really concerned by the general apathy of the UK and European governments in the face of Israeli aggression in Gaza…” Ashley


David Cameron has urged “restraint” from both sides. [4] And Philip Hammond MP, our foreign minister, has said that "the necessity right now is to stop the loss of life." [5]

Many 38 Degrees members are demanding a stronger response from the UK government. Some think this should take the form of sanctions, others think we should be pushing for war crimes investigations. Some of us think the UK should stay out of it altogether.

Philip Hammond represented us at the talks yesterday in Paris. And he will continue to represent us until a peace deal is agreed by all sides.

Whatever your view, Philip Hammond and the government should hear what we expect of them. 38 Degrees members haven’t written to the new foreign minister before, but with the death toll increasing by the day, now is the time to tell him what you think. Click here to send Philip Hammond a personal email:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/middle-east-crisis

The situation in Gaza and Israel is complex. But we fail as humankind if we don’t devise a way to bring peace to this long troubled region. Let’s stand together with people all over the world calling for an end to the violence - for good.


With hope for peace,

Belinda, Maddy, Ali, Susannah and the 38 Degrees team


PS: If you want to see what other 38 Degrees members are saying and join the conversation, then you can on the 38 Degrees blog: https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/gaza-israel


PPS: Here’s some context:

- A twelve hour truce was agreed by both sides and began at 5am yesterday morning. An offer to extend the truce was rejected by Hamas. [6]
- This morning a 24-hour ceasefire was agreed by both sides. [7]
- The new UK foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, has called for a swift ceasefire. [8]
- Thousands took part in a protest on the streets of London yesterday against Israel's military campaign in Gaza [9]
On Friday, the World Health Organisation has demanded a humanitarian corridor in Gaza. [10]
- Last week, the UN Human Rights Council voted to pass a resolution to investigate Israel for possible war crimes. The UK was one of 17 countries to abstain. [11]


NOTES
[1] The Independent: Israel-Gaza conflict: Death toll hits 1000 amid 12-hour ceasefire:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israelhamas-ceasefire-at-least-60-bodies-found-in-gaza-after-12hour-truce-begins-9630309.html
[2] BBC: Hamas fires rockets into Israel after Gaza truce bid:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28504509
[3] BBC News: Hamas announces new 24-hour Gaza ceasefire with Israel:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28511075
[4] The Scotsman: Gaza: Cameron urges Israel to 'exercise restraint':
http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/gaza-cameron-urges-israel-to-exercise-restraint-1-3483946
[5] BBC News Philip Hammond on ceasefire: ‘stop the loss of life’:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-28503866
[6] Sky News: Israel resumes Gaza fighting after rocket fire:
http://news.sky.com/story/1308147/israel-resumes-gaza-fighting-after-rocket-fire
[7] BBC News: Hamas announces new 24-hour Gaza ceasefire with Israel:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28511075
[8] Huffington Post: Philip Hammond warns the West is ‘losing sympathy’ with Israel over Gaza:
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/07/24/gaza-philip-hammond_n_5616408.html
[9] Evening Standard: Thousands line London's streets for pro-Palestine protest during 12-hour Gaza ceasefire:
http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/thousands-line-the-streets-in-london-for-propalestine-protest-as-12hour-ceasefire-is-held-in-gaza-9630516.html
[10] Yahoo! News: WHO calls for humanitarian corridor to evacuate Gaza wounded:
http://news.yahoo.com/calls-humanitarian-corridor-evacuate-gaza-wounded-090902490.html
[11] UN News Centre: As civilian casualties rise in Gaza, UN Rights Council agrees probe into alleged ‘war crimes’:
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=48330#.U9I0dYBdWDp
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