The major hope for the New Year must be for peace in the world.

The ongoing human catastrophe in Gaza should be brought to a halt, with an immediate ceasefire.

Some 20,000 have been killed in Gaza since the Israeli military action began - more than half of them children. Disease, caused by the destruction of the infrastructure is now also claiming many lives.

The Israeli hostages, taken on October 7 by Hamas need to be released.

What has been breath-taking over these months has been the way Western leaders have sat on their hands and supported the violence.

The UK and US have actively encouraged Israel to use violence to right the wrong of October 7.

Vengeance has been encouraged, as British and American arms have flowed into the region.

No doubt at a later date, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with be bleating about a few desperate souls seeking asylum here. No reference to the very culpable role his Government has played in help cause their plight

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Paul Donovan says the UK and US have encouraged Israel to use violencePaul Donovan says the UK and US have encouraged Israel to use violence

The regular marches for peace in Gaza, through London and other cities across the country, have shown how disgusted the mass of British people are about the situation and the role of their Government. Literally, millions have taken to the streets, as part of these protests.

The shame is that mass media has at best offered sporadic coverage. Many of the protests have been virtually ignored or covered totally in public order terms.

There was a time when people marching through major cities, on a weekly basis, calling for peace would have merited some serious consideration but not in 21st century Britain, apparently.

Whilst, the atrocities in Gaza have dominated, the conflict in Ukraine has slipped down the news agenda.

The main concern seems to be that the flow of arms from Britain and America to the Ukraine side continues.
The conflict is coming up to the two-year anniversary but still little talk of a ceasefire or peace. All sides seem happy with perpetual war. This really cannot go on - the voices for peace need to be heard and acted upon.

It must be hoped that peace comes about in Gaza, Ukraine and right across the world in 2024.

We all have a role to play in articulating the need for that peace. Sitting by, doing nothing, whilst the bloodshed continues is morally unacceptable. Doing nothing enables the slaughter. There must be action now to bring peace in all the theatres of war.

  • Paul Donovan is Labour councillor for Wanstead Village ward, Redbridge Council and a blogger (