Pro-Palestine campaigners call for Gaza ceasefire on New Year’s Eve

Activists are asking people to turn the New Year’s countdown in their countries into a countdown for a ceasefire in Gaza.

people wave palestinian flags while working through a street
A protest outside the US consulate in Istanbul to show solidarity with Palestinians amid the ongoing war in Gaza [Emrah Gurel/AP Photo]

Activists have launched a global campaign asking people to turn the New Year’s countdown in their countries into a countdown for a ceasefire in Gaza, which has been under devastating Israeli bombardment since October 7.

“New Year’s Eve is a moment of celebration worldwide, and an opportunity to create resolutions for a brighter future. With nearly 30,000 civilians killed, including over 10,000 children, our only New Year’s resolution is to call for a permanent ceasefire,” Countdown2Ceasefire, a London-based grassroots campaign, said in a statement on Thursday.

“Our aim is to morph the traditional New Year’s countdown into an influential and resounding countdown for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.”

So far the campaign has successfully been embraced by activists in over 30 countries, including Switzerland, Turkiye, Malaysia, Australia, Tanzania, Mexico and Germany, according to the organisers.

While ringing in the new year, these local events calling for a ceasefire will be livestreamed across Countdown2ceasefire’s social media platforms.

Destroyed buildings in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Friday, Dec. 29, 2023. The army is battling Palestinian militants across Gaza in the war ignited by Hamas' Oct. 7 attack into Israel. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Israeli bombings have destroyed more than 70 percent of Gaza homes [File: Ariel Schalit/AP Photo]

“A permanent ceasefire is the first step in ending the current deplorable situation and a tangible move towards a future where traumatised communities can rebuild and recover,” Bushra Mohammad, a campaign spokeswoman, said in a statement.

Israel’s brutal military offensive in Gaza has killed more than 21,500 people and wounded more than 55,000 others triggering global outrage, with protesters across the world rallying to call for a ceasefire. Many have also expressed their disappointment towards politicians and countries who vetoed or abstained from voting for a ceasefire at the United Nations.

Rights organisations including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders also condemned countries vetoing a ceasefire, warning that this would result in a humanitarian disaster.

On Saturday, the World Food Programme warned that it’s in a race against time to avert starvation for millions in Gaza.

“Only a long-term ceasefire and unhindered humanitarian access can end this,” the UN agency posted on X.

Israel has refused to stop the bombing that has destroyed more than 70 percent of Gaza homes and displaced more than 90 percent of the enclave’s 2.3 million people.

Countdown2Ceasefire pointed out how people power can make a difference.

“As we enter 2024, we look forward to it being the year that our New Year’s resolution, of a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, is fulfilled.”

Source: Al Jazeera