Britain must stop arming Israel and recognise Palestine!

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The 175,000-strong march to Whitehall demanding the stopping of all arms sales to Israel

‘BRITAIN must impose sanctions and an arms embargo on Israel and recognise the state of Palestine. We demand Israel gets out of Rafah, Gaza, Jerusalem, Palestine NOW,’ Husam Zomlot, Palestine Ambassador to the UK told the 175,000-strong mass rally in Whitehall, central London on Saturday.

He was speaking at the end of the 15th London march for Palestine since October 7th, from Russell Square to Whitehall.

The march was led by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Stop the War Coalition, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Friends of Al-Aqsa.

The march headed off with tens of thousands of Palestinian flags and marchers chanting ‘From the river to the sea Palestine will be free! One, two, three, four, occupation no more, five, six, seven, eight, Israel is a terrorist state!’

As the march was assembling, west London students Alexis Markou and Arena Morina told News Line: ‘The genocide must be stopped and the trade unions must strike.

‘Any company that funds Israel must be boycotted.

‘It’s horrendous the way the unions are behaving. It’s embarrassing.They should strike, the TUC should call a general strike.

‘Every day that people don’t take action is another day lost. The media treatment angers us immensely.’

Judith Paternoster a fashion worker from Hackney in East London, said: ‘Israel is committing genocide.

‘Our government is complicit, selling arms to Israel. They are all our children, Palestinian children are the same as children anywhere in the world, they’re not lesser, they’re not inferior.

‘It’s racist. The trade unions must strike for Palestine, we need a general strike now. We need a socialist system.’

Ron Berry, a National Education Union member and head teacher from Shrewsbury, was wearing a Free Julian Assange t-shirt.

He said: ‘I support Assange and I attend actions on his behalf. He should be released. Biden must drop the case.

‘The trade unions could and should do more to support Palestine. They are trying to work within the established norms, meanwhile the genocide continues. A general strike is necessary now.’

Palestine Ambassador to the UK Husam Zomlot was the first speaker at the rally at the end of the march in Parliament Square.

He said: ‘It’s been 245 days of mass murder, mass destruction, genocide.

‘Only in the last 24 hours Israel has killed 200 people in Gaza, mostly women and children. How can world leaders and mainstream media not act? How do they sleep when they see skeletal children dying of famine, when they see 18 month old Hamed beheaded by a US bomb?

‘I know I can’t sleep and you can’t sleep. How do they justify supporting a rogue state and continuing their support?

‘They continue to describe it as “self-defence”!

‘Israel has dropped more bombs in eight months than the entire allied bombing of Germany in all of World War Two.

‘But I see hope in the undimmed, unbroken spirit in Gaza, Jerusalem, Jenin, Nablus, Hebron, all over Palestine.

‘And I see Ireland, Norway, Spain, Slovenia, South Africa, Chile, and other principled countries standing up for Palestine.

‘And now today Israel is on the blacklist for harming children.

‘And I see you, filled with passion and determination to see justice done and served.

‘Britain must impose sanctions and an arms embargo. Recognise the state of Palestine now. We demand Israel gets out of Rafah, Gaza, Jerusalem, Palestine NOW!’

Viland Hoban, from the Jewish Bloc, addressing the rally said: ‘I’ve come from Germany, which has learned nothing from the Holocaust.

‘I’m here meeting Jews from 16 countries. We speak with one unified voice, we reject the desecration of our identity, those who want to turn Jews into supporters of oppression and genocide.

‘To be a Jew means to be with the oppressed, never with the oppressor. And this is a principle not just for Jews but for all of humanity.

‘We say Zionism will be brought down and we will decolonise Judaism.’

Dave Ward, General Secretary of the Communications Workers Union, said to the rally: ‘I’m proud to bring solidarity from the CWU.

‘We’re here standing together against the genocide being perpetrated in Palestine. We have a job to do in the UK – no ifs, no buts, war crimes are not acceptable.

‘Our job as trade unionists is to do whatever we can, and we can do more. As trade unions we commit to do more and we will do more.’

Stop the War Coalition Convener Lindsey German said: ‘This is the 15th National Demonstration. We have to stop Britain arming Israel, only 8% of the people in the UK back what Israel is doing. Make no mistake Israel is losing this war.

‘In this election the slogan has to be “no ceasefire, no vote!”

‘I want to get rid of the Tories as much as anybody but we won’t give Labour a free pass.’

The acclaimed poet Michael Rosen read his moving poem ‘Don’t mention the children, Don’t say dead children.’

This was followed by a number of children reading out the names of murdered Palestinian children during the past eight months – ten year olds, nine-year-olds, eight-year-olds, down to two year olds and one year olds, name after name.

This was followed by a two-minute silence.

Hubba, the student organiser at Queen Mary’s encampment, was introduced with the information that there are currently 36 student encampments for Palestine across the UK.

She said: ‘As part of the global student movement for Palestine, we say there will be no business as usual. We demand our university cuts ties with Israel. Every single university in Gaza has been destroyed.

‘Queen Mary’s University refuses to talk to us and has taken us to court instead, but we will not be moved and we will not be by-standers in genocide.

‘We cannot be complacent, we will not stop. Long live the student movement until liberation please support the encampments.’

George the poet was the next speaker, saying: ‘We are all here united in our horror and disgust at the Israeli genocide.

‘We are the red line. If our politicians don’t have a red line then we are the red line.

‘You just heard from the students. We don’t accept this as the new reality.’

Ismail Patel from Friends of Al-Aqsa, said: ‘Eight months of live genocide and Israel has turned Gaza into a mass cemetery, ethnically cleansing Palestinians from the river to the sea.

‘This is all enabled by the British government. If we want to stop genocide then we have to prioritise genocide at the election. No ceasefire, no vote!

‘Actively campaign for candidates that are for a ceasefire. We owe it to the people of Gaza, then we will be able to face the future generations.’

Amira Nimrawi, Chief Executive Officer of Health Workers for Palestine, said: ‘Millions around the world support the Palestinian struggle. There have been 720 health workers deliberately killed in Gaza in eight months. Hundreds have been abducted, stripped, tortured. 218 are currently abducted across Gaza.

‘There are no fully functioning hospitals. One million people in Gaza are now expected to die by starvation by mid-July.

‘This government supports this genocide. Hands off our healthcare, hands-off Palestine. We will continue to push for an honest leadership in this country.’

Daniel Kebede, National Education Union General Secretary was barracked during his speech by women shouting: ‘Our children are being persecuted for speaking out against genocide. What what are you going to do about it? This is all just talk, we want action.’

Kebede however continued: ‘80% of all schools have been damaged in Gaza. More than 40 people were killed in the UNRWA school just this week. Biden and Sunak are complicit in genocide. Cholera is becoming endemic in Gaza, this must stop.’

Kate Hudson, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament leader, said: ‘There have been 70,000 tons of bombs dropped on Gaza in the past eight months. This is not only Israeli genocide it is the West’s genocide, it is our government-supported genocide.

‘These genocide supporters must not be re-elected. They bomb the Houthies for supporting Palestine. I will never again vote for anyone who supports genocide.

‘Gaza defines this election. We will not allow this genocide to be normalised. We must change politics in this country.’

Louise Regan, Chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign said: ‘10 children a day are having operations and amputations with no anaesthetic. We need an immediate ceasefire and an immediate restoration of funding to the UNRWA.’

Chris Smalls the President of the Amazon Labour Union, said: ‘We’ve got to hold these politicians accountable. Back in the USA Genocide Joe has to go. We need a Labour Party in America.

‘If you’re supporting Amazon you’re supporting genocide. We are not free until all are free.’

Faris Abba, from the Palestine Forum in Britain said: ‘After eight months of genocide Germany, the US and Britain are complicit. They have their hands on the throats of the Palestinians. Without their support Israel could not get away with its actions for one minute.

‘It’s our duty and responsibility to put a stop to UK support for genocide.

‘There are no parties for peace in the government of the Zionist entity. They seek to build beach-front properties on the graves of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

‘The genocidal Zionist entity is the greatest evil of our age and the whole world is waking up to this reality.

‘It is only a matter of time before Israel goes the same way of apartheid South Africa.’

Marha Assam, Egyptian Revolutionary Council said: ‘If it was not for you the complicit Western and Arab governments would have let Israel get away with this genocide.

‘It must be stopped. What is happening in Gaza is unprecedented war crimes. This is a crime that began 76 years ago. We must fight the evil of racism and that is what Zionism is.

‘The dictator in Egypt Sisi has denied aid to the people of Gaza. He does not represent Egyptians. We will not give up until all of Palestine is free.’

The final speaker was Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. He said: ‘Thanks for coming today, 175,000-strong. We must not normalise massacres.

‘Two days ago Israel bombed the UNRWA school and since then, in the last 48 hours, not a word, not a single comment, has been heard about it from Sunak or Starmer. They have normalised genocide.

‘Today another massacre occurred. So we say no vote for genocide supporters. We will publish lists of genocide supporters in the coming days.

‘Every constituency must vote for justice for Palestine. This must be the issue. This must be forced on the agenda for this election.

‘Our next march will take place on July 6th two days after the general election, two days after you have elected a new government.

‘We want you to back on the streets on that day. Tomorrow will be Palestine’s day. From the river to the sea Palestine will be free!’
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