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Community / Gathering outside town hall demands immediate ceasefire in Israel-Hamas war

Group of people gathered for a demonstration, with one person in the foreground holding a

AROUND 20 people gathered at Lerwick Town Hall on Saturday afternoon demanding an immediate ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas and increased humanitarian aid to enter Gaza.

The gathering held a moment’s silence for the thousands of civilians who have been killed and harmed by the violence, both in Palestine and Israel.

One of the organisers, Leanne Goodlad, said she and a few others had come to together to organise Saturday’s event to stand in solidarity and to mourn the civilians that have been killed.

She said the group, which is not affiliated to any organisation, wants to show that even in Shetland, people are thinking of those affected by the “humanitarian crisis unfolding before our eyes”.

A statement issued by the group afterwards reads: “All loss of life is abhorrent, and we condemn the targeting of civilians on both sides.

“We have witnessed the targeting of civilian ‘safe zones’, the border crossing, hospitals and medical facilities, churches, mosques and schools.

“These areas are protected under international law, and the law of war. These strikes should not be happening, and nor should they be inevitable or seen as collateral damage. This crisis constitutes an attack on health, culture and humanit

Photo: Jim Mullay

“We want to make it known that this gathering had nothing to do with race or religion. We do not want our actions to be misunderstood – any attack on civilians is wrong.

“We do not wish to harm or offend Jewish or Israeli people, and nor are we holding them responsible for this crisis. As our government does not always represent all of us, the Israeli government and policy surrounding Gaza does not represent all Israelis.

“We made clear that Anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions would not be tolerated at our event, and will never be acceptable. We are glad that our event was respectful in tone.

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“Our moment’s silence, taken for all civilians who have been killed and harmed by the violence, both in Palestine and Israel, was respected by all who attended

“The fight is not equal, it is disproportionate, when considering almost half the population in Gaza are children. Collective punishment will only continue to harm and traumatise civilians and may even push them towards radicalisation.

“We call for an immediate ceasefire and increased humanitarian aid to enter Gaza now. We cannot abide and watch as this crisis unfolds once more before our eyes.”

Since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on 7 October over 4,000 people have been killed in Gaza, over 1,500 of them children. Well over 12,500 people have been injured. Similarly, over 1,400 people have been killed and 4,600 injured in Israel.

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