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Israel-Palestine war: UK poll finds 76 percent want an immediate ceasefire

Two polls this week show UK's public diverging from their government's stance on the ongoing war in Israel-Palestine
Protesters sit on top of the bus stop on the Whitehall during the march in London, United Kingdom. Palestinians, activists and supporters gathered by the BBC's Broadcasting House to march together towards Downing Street on 14 October (Reuters)

A fresh poll shows that 76 percent of adults in the UK think there should be a ceasefire in the Israel-Palestine war.

The UK, led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, has given the Israeli government its full backing for the bombardment of Gaza and has yet to call on any party to implement a ceasefire. 

When asked, "From what you've read and heard, do you think there should or should not be an immediate ceasefire in Israel and Palestine?", 58 percent answered that "there definitely should" with 18 percent saying that "there probably should".

Only eight percent of respondents said there shouldn't be a ceasefire with 16 percent saying they didn't know.

The poll was conducted on 19 October by UK-based YouGov polling company and surveyed 2,685 adults.

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Another YouGov poll from earlier this week asked Britons which side they supported in the Israel-Palestine conflict and found a slim margin among 2,574 adults with 21 percent saying they backed the "Israeli side" while 17 percent backed the "Palestinian side".

The highest support for Palestinians was in Scotland at 30 percent, with the highest support for Israelis coming from northern England. But most respondents chose not to explicitly choose a side as their government had, with 29 percent saying they support "both equally" and 39 percent saying they "don't know".

On 7 October, Palestinian fighters attacked southern Israel near the Gaza Strip killing around 1,400 Israelis. Nine British nationals have been confirmed as killed during the attacks.

Relentless Israeli air strikes, meanwhile, have killed more than 3,800 Palestinians, including more than 1,500 children and 1,000 women.

Around one million Palestinians have also been displaced and forced to take shelter in hospitals and schools as Israel tightens its siege of the enclave.

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When the poll regarding a ceasefire was broken down by gender, a higher number of women, 81 percent, backed an immediate ceasefire compared with men at 71 percent. 

Around 88 percent of those who affiliate themselves with the centre-left Labour Party want a ceasefire as do 73 percent of those who affiliate with the right-wing Conservative Party.

According to the poll, the older the respondent, the more likely they were to want an immediate ceasefire. 


The polls represent a fairly large divergence between the British public, its government and even other political parties not in government.

Sunak is currently in Saudi Arabia after making a visit to Israel where he said Britain would "stand with you in solidarity, we will stand with your people and we also want you to win".

There is also growing pressure on the government's unequivocal support in the UK parliament, where on Wednesday 40 MPs urged a ceasefire in the war and backed access to medicines, fuel, food and water in Gaza.

The Israeli government has laid a total siege on Gaza, which had already been under a blockade for 16 years, not allowing in food, water, electricity, fuel, medicine or supplies.

On Thursday, Sunak welcomed the decision to allow routes into Gaza from Egypt for aid.   

Tens of thousands have also come out on the streets in London to protest the bombardment of Gaza and show solidarity with Palestinians. Protests have also taken place in Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

Israel-Palestine war: Legal centre seeks to prosecute UK for Israeli 'war crimes' complicity
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The UK government has faced sustained criticism from anti-war groups for its support for Israel, a position that has also faced backlash from some former British diplomats.

"I find the British government's knee-jerk endorsement of everything that Israel does obscene and a departure from previous stances in which we have sought some fairness in these dreadful situations," Sir Richard Dalton, a former UK ambassador to Iran and Libya, told Times Radio.

The opposition Labour Party in the UK has also faced a backlash from councillors and members over its pro-Israel stance.

On 17 October, a number of Labour councillors resigned in protest at comments made by party leader Keir Starmer, for what he described as Israel's "right" to cut power and water supplies to Palestinians living in Gaza.

Oxford City Councillor Shaista Aziz announced her resignation on X (formerly Twitter) on 13 October. A former international aid worker, Aziz has worked in the occupied West Bank, Israel and refugee camps in Gaza.

"The Labour Party leader's stance on not being able to condemn collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza was the final red line for me," Aziz told Middle East Eye for a previous article.

UK-based legal centre has also announced its intention to seek to prosecute British government officials over alleged complicity in Israeli war crimes in Gaza.

The International Centre of Justice for Palestinians issued a notice to Sunak over the UK providing "military, economic and political support to Israel, which has aided Israel's perpetration of war crimes". 

It said that Israel's efforts at a forcible transfer of more than one million people in northern Gaza to southern parts of the enclave in less than 24 hours may amount to both "a war crime and a crime against humanity".

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