Updated: Monday, 13th July 2020 @ 9:36pm

Solidarity: Sir Richard Leese backs North West MEP's bid to end hostilities as Gaza conflict intensifies

Solidarity: Sir Richard Leese backs North West MEP's bid to end hostilities as Gaza conflict intensifies

| By Sam Penny

Manchester City Council Leader Sir Richard Leese has backed North West MEP Afzal Khan’s calls for a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.

Mr Khan has been a key player in securing support from the EU to halt hostilities and he claims that the UK has ‘more credibility than both America and Egypt’ in regards to the issue.

The conflict has seen over 1,000 civilian casualties, mainly on the Palestinian side, in the ongoing military engagement.

Sir Leese said: "I am not going to take sides.  Whatever the justification given, I cannot support Israel’s bombardments of Gaza, nor can I support Hamas firing rockets into southern Israel.”

Aswell as launching air strikes into the troubled region, Israel has also set up a blockade to Gaza, severely compromising food and water supplies as a part of their offensive that began on July 8.

“Gaza is now in the midst of a humanitarian crisis that requires the immediate opening of crossings to permit the flow of aid, commercial goods and people,” said Sir Leese.

“It has gone on for far too long. Israel and Palestine need a permanent ceasefire and the population, Arab and Jew alike need the opportunity to build a secure and prosperous future."

The statement came after a meeting on Monday between Mr Khan and Sir Leese in order to discuss the topic.

Talking about the recent support from Sir Leese, Mr Khan said: “I welcome this statement and thank the city’s leadership for taking action in this time of crisis.

“As always, Manchester’s full Labour Council is taking a stand in line with the people of Manchester and is playing its part for peace in this troubled part of the world.”

Mr Khan had reportedly been contacted by hundreds of his constituents, calling for an end to the conflict and condemning the violence. 

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