THE Friends of Palestine group in Bradford on Avon has pleaded for peace in Gaza and the West Bank.

The group has urged both Israel and the Hamas group in Palestine to call a ceasefire and hold peace talks.

Judith Hammond, speaking on behalf of Bradford on Avon Friends of Palestine said: “We condemn violence wherever it comes from: Israeli or Palestinian.

“Neither Hamas in Gaza, nor Israeli extremists in East Jerusalem are representative of their own people. “We must look at the underlying reasons that cause Palestinians such despair: unrest has been brewing in East Jerusalem which legitimately should be part of Palestine.

“Recently, an Israeli court ruled that six families, comprising 70 people, whose ancestors built their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, are to leave their home by force, for illegal Jewish Settlers to live in.

“This, alongside extremists, with the complicit Israeli Defence Force standing by, breaking windows, throwing stun grenades and rubberised steel bullets at people praying in the Al Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan was surely the final insult.

“Peace in the region will not come whilst injustice reigns. It’s time for Britain and the International Community to ensure both peoples are subject to the same basic human rights.”

The group recently staged a demonstration by the Millie millennium statue in the centre of the town marking the Palestinian ‘NAKBA’ , when Israel was created on May 15 1948.

After British peacekeeping forces pulled out, Israel moved into Palestine and in the ensuing strife 750,000 Palestinians were dispossessed from their homeland. Thousands were killed or fled to neighbouring countries.

Mrs Hammond added: “Those who remained have been consistently discriminated against by the Israelis, as well as having had much of their West Bank land stolen for illegal Israeli settlements.”

Over the past week so, rockets and air strikes have continued in Israel and Gaza, destroying buildings and the death toll has mounted daily.

The Israeli military said that concentration of militant rocket fire towards towns and cities in the past week is at the highest level ever.

In Gaza, officials said the latest Israeli air strikes were the deadliest attack in the conflict so far.

So far, ten people have been killed in Israel. In Gaza, 188 people have been killed.