UK Muslims should 'punish Labour' over lack of Gaza ceasefire by not voting, says Ghassan Abu Sitta

UK Muslims should 'punish Labour' over lack of Gaza ceasefire by not voting, says Ghassan Abu Sitta
Renowned surgeon Ghassan Abu Sitta has urged British Muslims not to vote for politicians from Labour or any other party who voted against a ceasefire in Gaza.
3 min read
02 February, 2024
The Labour Party has been criticised over its stance on Israel's war on Gaza [Getty/file photo]

Renowned British-Palestinian doctor Ghassan Abu Sitta has urged UK Muslims to "punish" the Labour Party for its role in perpetuating Israel's war on Gaza.

Abu Sitta, who spent over 40 days as a volunteer performing surgery in the Gaza Strip as part of a Doctors Without Borders medical team, has urged British Muslims to refrain from backing politicians who voted against a permanent ceasefire for the war-torn enclave.

In a post on X earlier this week, the doctor said: "The Labour party must be punished. Labour politicians who have the blood of children on their complicitous hands should never get the Muslim vote."

Speaking to The New Arab on Thursday, Abu Sitta said Muslims should not show their support in the polls for any politician who voted against a ceasefire for Gaza, irrespective of the party they belong to.

"I think the Muslim vote should not go to any politician, from Labour or the Conservatives, who voted against the ceasefire," Abu Sitta said.

"These politicians have the blood of Palestinian women, children and men on their hands."

"Muslims in the UK need to organise, and need to find those politicians who voted for the continuation of the war and make this a career-ending move," he urged.

"Only then in the future, politicians will think long and hard about not doing this and taking the Muslim vote for granted."

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More than 27,000 people have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched war on the Palestinian territory on 7 October.

In the almost four months since the war began, there have been widespread calls for a ceasefire in Gaza that would dramatically reduce bloodshed and allow humanitarian aid to enter the enclave and be distributed to those in need.

British MPs voted at the House of Commons in November against such a ceasefire, including a majority of MPs from the Labour Party.

Many MPs from Labour, a party that historically has a strong Muslim voter base, rebelled against its leadership in response to the vote. Some resigned from the party in protest.

Party leader Keir Starmer has also on multiple occasions insisted on Israel’s so-called right to "self-defence", despite the ever-mounting death toll and destruction in the Palestinian territory.

New parties have also emerged to challenge Labour seats in future elections.

The party appears to be reeling from the rebellion, with it reportedly polling Muslim voters as part of "damage control" amid discontent over its position on Gaza.

Abu Sitta, an award-winning surgeon with decades of experience, has spoken on several occasions of the horrors he witnessed in Gaza under Israeli bombing treating wounded Palestinians.

"The kind of pressure the vote in parliament would have put if the government and the leadership of the Labour Party had been defeated, could’ve ended the war earlier," Abu Sitta said on the vote for a ceasefire.