Call for Wakefield Cathedral ceremony calling for end to Middle East conflict as town hall peace flag raised
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Denise Jeffery made the comments at a full council meeting today (October 18), shortly after a peace flag was raised above Wakefield Town Hall.
Coun Jeffery told fellow councillors: “All of us in this room are shocked by the loss of Israeli and Palestinian lives and the sheer scale of it.
“In all humanity, we have to join with all those who call for an end to the violence.
“Larger forces are play in the Middle East.
“Forces that make the council’s problems seem irrelevant.
“At this stage, with events moving so fast, there is little practical we can do, other than join those around the world calling for the violence to end.”
Coun Jeffery added: “I feel we need to have a service in the cathedral, for people of all faiths, calling for peace.”
A minute’s silence was also held in the council chamber at County Hall.
Earlier in the day, children from Smawthorne Henry Moore Primary School, in Castleford, helped Coun Jeffery and Wakefield Mayor Josie Pritchard raise the peace flag above the town hall.
A statement issued by the council on behalf of Coun Jeffery said: “We are deeply shocked by the terrible events happening in the Middle East.
“We unequivocally condemn the acts of terror which have been carried out by Hamas on the Israeli people.
“The situation now unfolding in Gaza is heart-breaking.
“Both Israelis and Palestinians are suffering terribly because of the actions of Hamas.
“It’s been deeply worrying in recent days to hear about an increase in both anti-semitic and Islamophobic incidents.
“There is no place for hate in our district, and we must not allow these events to divide our local communities.
“If you, or someone you know, is a victim of hate crime, please report it.”
Coun Pritchard said: “We stand in solidarity with the innocent victims of this conflict.
“Now more than ever we need to pull together as a community across our district.
“We are all united in our desire to see peace, and raising this flag today is a poignant symbol of that.”
The council said it is urging anyone that is the victim of hate crime, or a witness of a hate crime, to contact police or the hate crime hotline on 0800 1381625.
For more information, visit www.wakefield.gov.uk/hatecrime