Sadiq Khan has joined calls for a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war so that aid supplies can reach civilians in Gaza and the international community has “more time to prevent a protracted conflict in the region”.
In a video address, the Mayor says “Israel has a right to defend itself” and to “target those responsible for the appalling terror attack of 7 October” and also to “take action to free the hostages” seized during that attack. He urged the international community to “redouble its efforts” to get them released.
However, he added: “A widespread military escalation will only deepen the humanitarian disaster. It will increase human suffering on all sides. No nation, including Israel, has the right to break international law.”
The Mayor’s intervention comes as Israel’s forces have conducted raids in Gaza and are expected to launch a major ground war offensive in the wake of bombardments and a blockade of the territory. It follows a ceasefire call by United Nations secretary general António Guterres.
Khan has won praise from Jewish leaders in the capital for his support for their communities since the attack by Hamas and long before it. The Mayor has also expressed sympathy for fellow Muslim Londoners affected by the conflict.
The statement of the Labour politician, who is seeking a third term at City Hall, differs from the stance of his party’s leader Sir Keir Starmer, who has so far declined to back a ceasefire despite pressure from some others in his party. The Conservative national government, like that of the United States, has likewise decided against demanding a halt to the fighting.
The Mayor’s full statement is here. X/Twitter: On London and Dave Hill. If you value On London and its coverage of the capital, become a supporter or a paying subscriber to editor and publisher Dave Hill’s Substack for just £5 a month or £50 a year.