The UK House of Commons rejected an amendment calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday as 24 US congressional representatives advocated for one in a letter to the Biden administration.  The proposed amendment, which would have modified the Commons’ reply to the King’s Speech, urged respect for international humanitarian law, while the letter drew attention to the rights of Gaza’s children.The Scottish National Party’s (SNP) ceasefire amendment failed in the Commons by a vote of 294-125, with the vast majority of the governing Conservative party voting against it and most of the opposition Labour Party abstaining from the vote. A group of 56 Labour MPs, including eight shadow ministers, voted for the resolution despite party instructions to abstain.The Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party’s Socialist Campaign Group also tabled amendments in the Commons urging a halt to Israel’s military operations in Gaza, but only the SNP’s was put up for a vote Wednesday.Though all three amendments called for a ceasefire, the SNP and the Socialist Campaign Group went a step further than the Liberal Democrats by condemning the “collective punishment” of Gaza’s population and beseeching Israel to respect international humanitarian law. The SNP’s amendment pressed “the Government to uphold international law and protect all civilians in Israel and Palestine.” Each amendment advocated for the freeing of Hamas-held hostages, and the SNP’s and Socialist Working Group’s explicitly condemned Hamas’s October 7 attacks on Israeli civilians.Labour leader Kier Starmer introduced a rival amendment urging an “end to the violence” but stopped short of advocating a ceasefire. Starmer’s amendment recognized the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) jurisdiction over Gaza and asked Israel to protect hospitals and allow necessities into the area.Meanwhile, in the US, a group of 24 congressional representatives sent a letter to President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, saying that a ceasefire is imperative to ensure the rights of Gazan children. The group, led by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), said that:We are profoundly shocked by the grave violations of children’s rights in the context of armed conflict in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. International norms require that all parties to an armed conflict protect children and prevent the commission of grave violations against them, including killing and maiming, attacks on schools and hospitals, recruitment and use of children, abduction of children, and denial of humanitarian access.The letter acknowledged the deaths of 4,506 Palestinian and 31 Israeli children. It also mentioned the 20 Israeli children taken hostage by Hamas. Representative Cory Bush (D-MO), a signatory of the letter, introduced a ceasefire resolution to the US House of Representatives in October.Neither UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak nor Biden have called for a ceasefire in the conflict, but both have supported “humanitarian pauses.” The UK and US both pledged support for Israel following Hamas’s October 7 attack.  The UN Security Council rejected two ceasefire resolutions in October, owing to US and UK vetoes.  Last week, the Biden administration announced that Israel would implement four-hour pauses in the fighting for civilians to evacuate affected areas.These events come amid pressure for a ceasefire and accusations of atrocities made against both Israel and Hamas. In London, police charged seven people following a 300,000-strong pro-Palestine protest on Saturday. In Washington DC, a similarly-sized pro-Israel march took place Tuesday after a large pro-Palestine demonstration occurred there less than two weeks prior.Over 10,000 Palestinians and 1,200 Israelis have died as a result of the conflict.

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