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ePetition details

Petition on Israel-Gaza Conflict

We the undersigned as residents, workers and students in Bristol, call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and a lifting of the siege to end the humanitarian disaster.

We ask all Bristol councillors to do the same.

We ask for a minute's silence to be held in Bristol’s Full Council meeting on Tuesday 14th November, to commemorate all those killed in the atrocities.

We ask for City Hall to be lit up in Palestinian colours, to express sympathy for those who have lost their lives or been injured, the same as it did when lighting up City Hall in the colours of the Israeli flag.

By the time of the United Nations Security Council meeting of 30th October, 8,300 Palestinians had been killed in Gaza, over 3,400 of them children, with over 6,300 children injured. As the UNICEF representative pointed out, that is an average of more than 420 children being killed or injured each day in Gaza.

Palestinians should not be facing collective punishment; no nation, no people or community should have to endure collective punishment. This has included the blockade of electricity, food, water and fuel and the forced displacement of civilians. These actions constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity under international law and we must not stand by and let it happen.

Gaza is home to 2.2 million people, over half of whom are children. Before this crisis began, over 80% of the population relied on aid, now this crisis has turned to catastrophe. The innocent civilians in Gaza have had nothing to do with this crisis and bear no responsibility to its outcome.

Five UN agencies, including The World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have called for a humanitarian ceasefire as they described the conditions in Gaza as “catastrophic”. Leaders across all faiths, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, have also called for a ceasefire and polling shows over three quarters of the British public support a ceasefire.

We call for a just political settlement and we ask Bristol’s political representatives to add their voices to this call.

As a City of Sanctuary, we will all work together to ensure the safety of all our communities – Muslim and Jewish alike and are ready to welcome refugees from Gaza.

Started by: Bristol Palestine Solidarity Campaign

This ePetition ran from 02/11/2023 to 09/01/2024 and has now finished.

5466 people signed this ePetition.

Council response

The petition was debated at Full Council on the 9th January 2024.

The petition has secured 5154 signatures to date, 4866 from Bristol residents. Verified as of 14 December 2023.

Mayor Marvin Reese written response to the Petition debate:

Since 7 October’s attacks on Israel by the terrorist organisation Hamas, we have continued to work closely with community leaders from across our city, of all faiths and none. In that spirit, I welcomed a joint inter-faith statement from Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders in Bristol. We continue to work with representatives from all communities to promote community cohesion and togetherness in our city, and lit up City Hall with the words ‘salam’ (and the Arabic script), ‘shalom’ (and the Hebrew script), and ‘peace’. Bristol must continue to stand together against the rising antisemitism, Islamophobia, and hate that we have seen in response to events in the Middle East.

We all want a complete and permanent end to violence and the threat of violence in Palestine and Israel, through a sustainable ceasefire built on the safety and security of both Israelis and Palestinians. All civilians must be protected. Innocent people are being killed and injured. This must stop and, while, like any country, Israel has the right to defend itself, international law must be upheld.

The wider debate about one of the world’s most complex geopolitical situations, which is changing rapidly, perhaps, including between me writing this response and you reading it, has become increasingly binary. Former President Obama has rightly observed that a number of things are all true at the same time: that what Hamas did on 7 October was horrific, and that there’s no justification for it; that the situation facing Palestinians is unbearable; that there is a long history of antisemitism, not least the unique horrors of the Holocaust, which is too readily dismissed or forgotten; and that thousands of Palestinians who have nothing to do with the actions of Hamas are being killed and injured in Gaza.

International efforts for humanitarian pauses bore fruit in November. There was welcome progress, first in the form of local pauses in northern Gaza in exchange for the release of some of the hostages kidnapped from southern Israel. A breakthrough in negotiations then saw a more sustained pause to enable the release of additional hostages and enable a greater flow of much-needed humanitarian aid into Gaza. But the following weeks have seen more innocent people killed and injured. While it is welcome that another crossing into Gaza, at Kerem Shalom, has reopened, more progress and more aid is needed, and all hostages must be released.

To achieve a sustainable ceasefire, there remain significant, continuing challenges in the short term that will need to be overcome. Those involved in these matters, including officials from the United States, have been warning of several such risks at this time, including Israel winning tactical military victories at the expense of strategic defeats. Hamas makes it difficult to distinguish between military targets and civilians, but the lack of discrimination between the two is unacceptable.

There is no pathway to Israeli safety and security that does not ensure the safety and security of Palestinians. Likewise, there is no pathway to Palestinian safety and security that does not ensure the safety and security of Israelis. In the longer term, there will need to be a political process for a just and lasting peace, so it remains essential that the international community supports a path, however complex and challenging, to a two-state solution with a free and secure Palestine and a free and secure Israel.

Watch the debate here:

A link to the meeting papers can be found here: