Like millions of people I am saddened and sickened by the events in Gaza. We have witnessed a human tragedy of innocent children being killed and maimed.

The frustration of ordinary people who feel helpless as we watch on our screens the pain and suffering caused by the continuation and escalation of the war.

Every human being wants a ceasefire and for talks to start. Yet no one is listening.

I am therefore calling on all community and faith leaders to join me in a vigil for peace at St George’s Plateau 11am, Sunday 3rd August.

Whatever the issues, whoever started it and whichever side people see themselves on, surely we can agree that children should not, and must not, be victims of war? It cannot be right that children are at risk of their lives, frightened or being made homeless. Our diverse communities coming together in recognition of this will be a simple act of humanity. We are seeing daily images broadcast on the news, social media and the newspapers of children crying, frightened, injured and dead. They are too difficult to watch without doing something or saying something.

I have noticed the absence of clear leadership from our national Government and from our political leaders of all parties in calling for a ceasefire or applying pressure on peace talks. So I am also calling for our national leaders to speak up, loud and clear, that this shelling has to end on humanitarian grounds.

Just because our leaders will not speak up, does not mean that Liverpool cannot. I am conscious that this conflict is not so far away from Liverpool. There are citizens who live, work and study in our city, and are from on all sides of this conflict, whom have family and friends in Israel and Palestine. Any loss that they feel and suffer, I feel that we can and should acknowledge in the city where they live.

We have the opportunity and the responsibility to come together as diverse communities, despite serious disagreements, to build relations and find common ground in appealing for a ceasefire on humanitarian grounds. However small an act this might be, it is big message from Liverpool in calling for an end to this war. Please join us in the vigil for peace.

Joe Anderson

Mayor of Liverpool

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