Labour councillors have called for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

The Labour administration on Brighton and Hove City Council have joined calls for fuel, food, water and medical supplies to be let into the Gaza Strip to address what councillors have called an “escalating humanitarian crisis”.

In a statement, Labour councillors said that, while they continue to condemn the “terrorist attack” by Hamas on Israel, “the sheer number of innocent civilians now killed and displaced in Gaza… is shocking for everyone to observe”.

However, they also said they recognise Israel’s right to defend itself and rescue its hostages “within international law”.

The party’s councillors said: “As Labour councillors in Brighton and Hove, we have, along with our residents, watched recent events in Israel and Gaza with horror and despair. We know these events have had a huge impact on residents in Brighton and Hove and that this is a very anxious time.

“We continue to condemn the terrorist attack by Hamas on the people of Israel, which marks the darkest day in Jewish history since the Holocaust. We call on them to immediately release all hostages unharmed, and we recognise that Israel has the right to take targeted action within international law to defend itself and rescue hostages.

“However, the sheer number of innocent civilians now killed and displaced in Gaza, the disproportionate numbers of women and children affected and the collapse of the healthcare and other infrastructure in Gaza is shocking for everyone to observe.

“This escalating humanitarian crisis must be addressed with the greatest urgency.

“That is why we echo calls from the UN Secretary-General Antonia Guterres, the International Rescue Committee and the International Committee of the Red Cross for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire by all parties in the conflict, as well as the release of all hostages.

“The UN has said that this is required to allow crucial life-saving supplies, including fuel, food, water and medical supplies into Gaza.

“Mr Guterres has said that the UN needs rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access now, and we agree.”

Labour’s councillors also called for increased work by the international community to bring a permanent end to the conflict, as well as stressing its condemnation of hate crimes against the Jewish and Muslim communities.

They said: “We know many in our communities are fearful as a result of rising hate crimes, and we completely condemn any acts of antisemitism, Islamophobia or racism that take place in our city.

“As community leaders, we want to support our residents by speaking to faith and community groups and working to protect our communities who are facing rising hate crime and racially motivated violence.

“As local councillors, our focus is on supporting all our residents in Brighton and Hove and to work to support community cohesion. However, we will continue to use our voice to condemn attacks on innocent civilians, call for the protection of civilians and seek peace.”

The statement comes less than a fortnight after Labour’s group of councillors in Worthing also called for an immediate ceasefire, as well as unrestricted humanitarian aid and meaningful peace talks.