Welsh parliament calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza and Israel

The Senedd has called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and Israel.

The motion tabled in the Welsh parliament by Plaid Cymru urged for an end to "the appalling attacks on innocent civilians".

Welsh government ministers abstained from the vote - but Labour backbenchers were given a free vote on the motion and on an amendment tabled by the Conservatives.

Several members on Labour's backbenches spoke out in favour of a cessation in hostilities - including Jenny Rathbone, John Griffiths and Carolyn Thomas.

It comes as Sir Keir Starmer comes under pressure from several senior Labour figures to call for a ceasefire.

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A total of 24 members of the Senedd voted in favour, with 19 against and the remaining 13 abstaining.

Plaid leader Rhun ap Iorwerth said members owed it "to all those who have lost their lives, Israeli and Palestinian, to speak up for a lasting peace".

"While we may be looking on from afar, it's important to remember that there are families in Wales that are directly impacted. The grief isn't confined to Israel or to Gaza," he said.

"Hamas's attacks on 7 October were unjust and inhumane - indescribable - but the collective punishment of the Palestinian population is also unjust and inhumane."

The Welsh Conservatives tabled an amendment to the motion which called for a "suspension of hostilities to allow for the establishment of humanitarian corridors".

Tabling the amendment, Darren Millar said Israel "has the right to defend itself and its citizens in the face of such barbarity".

He added: "That is why Israel has set out on this mission to dismantle Hamas in a bid to prevent similar attacks in the future.

"But it's important to draw the distinction here. Israel is at war with Hamas, it is not at war with the Palestinian people."

Mr Millar said all members wanted an end to the violence but added that a ceasefire "can only ever be successful if it's observed by both parties in a conflict".

Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Jane Dodds, supported the "immediate need for a ceasefire".

"It's not because nations do not have the right to protect the security and welfare of their citizens, but to stop the humanitarian disaster that is playing out before our eyes."

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The Welsh government's social justice minister, Jane Hutt, said in response to the debate that the Senedd was "united in [its] horror at the events which have unfolded in Israel and Gaza over recent weeks".

"We are clear that finding the way to end the violence, suffering and death is absolutely essential and it must remain the focus above all else to find that pathway to peace," she added.

"I believe members have reflected a shared hope for an end to this war, an end to the humanitarian crisis unfolding."