‘I’M so scared, please come. Please call someone to come and take me.”

Hind Rajab was six years old when she was killed. Her uncle, his wife and their four children were also killed as they came under Israeli fire in their car. Those were some of her last words as she, somehow, managed to phone for help as her family lay dying around her.

Six years old.

As every day passes, the reality of the isolation of the UK, the US and increasingly fewer allies in their failure to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza becomes more evident.

Massive majorities at the United Nations and the reaction across the world to South Africa’s bringing of genocide charges to the International Court of Justice have already made clear a deep divide between the north and the global south on the question of Israel/Palestine.

On Thursday, in a joint statement, Commonwealth countries Australia, New Zealand and Canada, largely historical allies of US foreign policy, called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. This follows on from previous calls from Nato and OECD countries such as Spain and France for the same. The list of significant countries supporting the US/UK stance is now even shorter than those who supported the disastrous war in Iraq in 2003.

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On top of the nearly 30,000 civilians who have had their lives taken from them in Gaza since the horrific killing of more than 1000 Israeli citizens on October 7, the so-called safe zone of Rafah in southern Gaza is next on the Israeli hit list.

The joint communique from Australia, New Zealand and Canada rightly states that a ground offensive in Rafah would be catastrophic. It is nothing short of unconscionable that any country, particularly one with influence, could continue to support this massacre.  The UK population certainly doesn’t. It’s clear that voters support an immediate ceasefire, with those in favour outnumbering those against by ratios in the region of four to one. A survey conducted on December 20-21 last year for Medical Aid for Palestinians also found that only 17 per cent of people approve of the UK Government’s handling of the conflict.

Support for UK Labour’s position was even lower. In a political system where so much seems dictated by opinion polls and focus groups, this shows a rare deafness on the part of the political establishment to the will of the people.

Let me put this as plainly as possible to cut through the political deafness –no-one, least of all the voting public, cares much about adjectives such as “sustainable” or “long-lasting” when all they see on the news night after night are images of dead women, children and men.

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They just want the killing stopped and stopped now. They want an end to the death and destruction. They want peace. They want children – six-year-old children – to not have to lose their lives while politicians dither. It seems unlikely that the desperate, culture war-obsessed Tories will change their approach irrespective of what the public says. The party is now apparently fixated on how best to lose the next General Election.

Foreign Secretary David Cameron did this week announce sanctions on individual Israeli West Bank settlers, saying they “place restrictions on those involved in some of the most egregious abuses of human rights”.

This is small beer, of course, given that the Israeli Defence Forces, armed in part by the UK, also commit killings and human rights abuses in the West Bank and that the whole policy of settlement, illegal under international law, has been a major policy of successive Israeli governments.

However, Cameron will likely not be Foreign Secretary much longer and it will fall to Labour to represent the views and interests of our country abroad as well as, hopefully, the cause of peace. For right or wrong, good or bad, the UK remains a key player internationally.

It is highly doubtful that the disastrous invasion of Iraq would have taken place without Tony Blair’s enthusiastic support. The UK’s historical, and frankly, shameful role in Israel/Palestine as well as the wider Middle East for more than a century places a burden on our country to begin to put things right. This starts with the call for an immediate ceasefire.

By the time people read this column, the Scottish Labour Party conference, which I addressed yesterday on behalf of the STUC, will have backed leader Anas Sarwar’s call for an immediate ceasefire. This will bring the Scottish Labour Party into line with the views of the trade union movement, as well as the views, I believe, of the majority of Labour members and supporters across the UK.

A ceasefire is not enough though. Political courage is required, here and abroad, to clearly articulate the road to a lasting peace. Politicians across the world are fond of citing their support for a two-state solution but rarely set out either what that means or the action it will require to bring that into being.

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As things stand, by rhetoric and action, there is a reasonable case to be made that Israel’s objective is to oversee the destruction of any Palestinian state in any form whatsoever. For those who understand the region, the unilateral withdrawal of support from UNRWA and the reported preparation of refugee camps in Egypt is an alarming indication of the direction of travel.

The blueprint for a two-state solution is clear. It requires the international recognition of the state of Palestine and the recognition on both sides of the other’s right to exist. It requires adherence to the borders established prior to the 1967 war; the sharing of the capital of Jerusalem; the dismantling of illegal Israeli settlements; and an equal right to return for both peoples.

If that sounds like a bigger call for action on the part of Israel than it does of the Palestinians, that’s because it is Israel who has been in consistent breach of international law for more than half a century.

To even begin to move towards this end will require tough diplomacy, something which has been lacking from the US and the UK. It requires the immediate end of arms sales to Israel from both countries. It is also unconscionable that our country continues to allow trade with Israel in goods originating in illegally occupied territories.

Imagine allowing Russia to profit from grain or other produce originating from an occupied Ukraine? Our movement has consistently argued for sanctions against Russia over its illegal war and occupation. We insist that the same standards be applied to Israel.

Meanwhile, trade union members across the country will continue to call for a ceasefire now and join thousands of others on the streets to protest our government’s failure to act. And we will join with the Scottish Labour in seeking to win this case with Labour across the UK.