Editorial: Keir Starmer has shown leadership in resisting calls for Labour to demand an Israeli ceasefire

Morning View (Photo: gina)
Morning View (Photo: gina)

​The Labour Party leader is under intense pressure to call for a Middle East ceasefire.​

Sir Keir Starmer is facing calls from his own front bench to back such a cessation, amid widespread calls for the same across much of the world. He has been right to hold out against this.

The calls for a ceasefire are essentially calls for Israel not to be able to retaliate to the Hamas massacre of Jewish civilians on October 7.

It is one thing to seek a pause in hostilities to facilitate aid or to urge Jerusalem to show restraint in its retaliation, for fear of making things worse and walking into a trap set by the Hamas terrorists. Such calls are reasonable, although it is also reasonable for Israel to argue that pauses give Hamas time to regroup and that aid will be stolen by the corrupt Hamas rulers, who are thieves as well as massacre merchants, and used for its violence.

But it is another thing for other nations to call for a ceasefire. This would mean that the war is over. We might hope for that but the declaration of war by Hamas last month cannot lead to a situation in which Israel is unable to hit back after such slaughter of its citizens, by a governing group next door.

The UK and the US have been isolated in rejecting calls for a ceasefire. There are growing demands for such on the political left in both nations and among the young. But the two countries are, taken together, very powerful, and they are joined in their insistence that Israel has a right to defend itself by leading political figures in influential countries such as Germany and France.

Yesterday, the Irish deputy prime minister Micheal Martin put out a scathing statement about the Israeli response, referring to casualty figures (these are open to challenge, given that fanatical propagandists control Gaza). But Ireland in recent years has been no friend of Israel. The UK is and Sir Keir’s adamant Labour stance is a credit to his leadership.