‘OCCUPATION no more!’ ‘Israel is a terror state!’ ‘Free Palestine!’ shouted over 200 workers and youth at a picket of the Israeli embassy in west London on Saturday.
Over 30 Palestinians have been killed and thousands wounded by live fire, tear gas and rubber-coated steel baton rounds.
News Line spoke to some of the protesters. Ratiba Abdessemed said: ‘I’m completely against any occupation. I’m for free determination and sovereignty for every country.‘I’m against imperialism and Zionism – I’m not anti-Semitic at all, I’m a Semite myself. ‘I have so many Jewish friends who are against Zionism, which is a right wing political movement. ‘The Balfour Declaration was a nightmare for the Palestinians. ‘The British gave away a land that did not belong to them. ‘The land was already occupied by Jews, Christians and Muslims – they were all Palestinians.
‘The imperialists are trying to destroy the Arab world. ‘They destroyed Libya, bombed Iraq and Syria and now they want to destroy Iran. ‘I want a solution for all peoples to have peace.
‘The trade unions in Britain and America, and all over the world, must take action and bring down these imperialist governments. ‘We need workers states that help each other.
‘Blair should be behind bars over Iraq. ‘I’m for socialism. The 1%, the rich, is destroying the world.’
A Syrian living in the UK, Maher Hamadouch, said: ‘I’m here to oppose the Israeli state over the murdering of Palestinian people.
‘I’m also here to support my Palestinian brothers who have helped in the Syrian struggle. ‘There needs to be a one-state solution in Palestine through which there is a democratically elected government. ‘There has to be a secular state, not a religious one.
‘I’m opposed to splitting up Syria, the whole of the Middle East even, which is the Americans’ plan. ‘They’ve been doing it since the 1950s. ‘The workers in Britain and America should take action to bring down the May and Trump governments. ‘There needs to be a general strike – for all industries.
‘We need to shut them down before they shut us down. ‘(Labour leader) Jeremy Corbyn should be firm and make his stance clear. ‘Labour should kick out the Blairites.’
Daithi Ciontun told News Line: ‘I’m from occupied Ireland.
‘I support the Palestinians whose land was handed over by the British 100 years ago and has been occupied since 1948. ‘I’m an Irish Republican in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle.
‘It’s shocking but not surprising, the killing of unarmed civilians at the Gaza border. The genocide continues. ‘The unions should be taking action to bring down the May government and for the workers to take power.’
Nana Hourriyana was one of some impromptu speakers.
She told News Line: ‘I’m the cousin of (jailed Palestinian teenager) Ahed Tamimi’s father. ‘I’m here and I can’t get to Palestine for four weeks. It hurts that I can’t get to my village Nabi Saleh in the West Bank, near Ramallah.
‘Jenna, Abed’s cousin, 11-years-old, was arrested two days ago and held for two hours by Israeli soldiers. ‘She is inviting people from all over the world, saying please come and help us. ‘The Israelis are shooting children from our village. I’ve had snipers at my own head.
‘There are Palestinians in Britain that cannot come to this demo because if Israelis see them on TV they won’t be able to go back and see their family. ‘I went to Gaza in 2009. Everybody is getting attacked. Everybody should boycott Israel.’
Rana Kassem, a Lebanese activist, told the picket: ‘When the Israelis bomb Palestinians no-one does anything about it, but when an alleged chemical attack is said to take place in Syria they bomb Syria.
‘The British government supports the White Helmets who are terrorists. But they are not going to win. This is the era of Syria, of Palestine, of Hezbollah. ‘All the people in the Middle East, all the people in the world are standing with Corbyn. We are with the Jewish people who are against Zionists. The Zionists are treating the Jewish people badly. ‘No matter how many people are killed, we are going to win this war.’
Another speaker said: ‘My name is Carol, I’m a Jewish anti-Zionist.
‘I’ve been vilified. I’ve had Zionists attack me. Most righteous Jews, most real Jews, stand behind Palestine. ‘Real Jews back justice. Palestinians are right and the Zionists are wrong. We long for the Palestinian state, very soon.’
Rafik Hamadouch, a Syrian who has lived in the UK for 35 years, told News Line: ‘We are here to support the cause of the Palestinians. ‘They have to have their own land, their own home. ‘There needs to be an end to the refugees camps for Palestinians and for the refugees to return to their home in the land of Palestine. ‘They justify for Jews from all over the world to be in Palestine, and for the Palestinians they are not allowed to be in their own home. ‘If you want to implement the law, there has to be a law for everybody. ‘The demonstrations are now in West Bank and Gaza at the same time because they realise the division has to end so they can have their own state.
‘What’s happening in Syria and Gaza, with air strikes and killings, is the same. ‘The imperialists don’t like anyone who objects to their policy in the Middle East. ‘Syria is the only country and Lebanon, are the only countries who stand up for the Palestinians. They have lands of their own which are occupied. ‘The trade unions in Britain should take action over the war on the Palestinians and the Syrians. We should get rid of this Tory government. ‘May calls the leaders in the Middle East dictators, but she is a dictator.’
Yousef, a Palestinian living in the UK, said: ‘My parents were refugees from al Dawymeh village.
‘They were evicted in 1948. Last week was the 70th anniversary of the Deir Yassin massacre on 9 April. Al Dawymeh had a massacre on 29th October 1948 in which at least 700 men, women and children were killed – at least 17% of the village at the time. ‘They went to a refugee camp near Jericho until 1967, and in 1967 to Jordan. ‘We are here today to remind people of the Palestinian Political Prisoners as we commemorate Prisoners Day on 17th April each year.
‘We come here to demonstrate at Israeli occupation in conjunction with the US, British and French aggression against Syria last night. ‘There is an alliance of imperialism, Zionism and reactionary Arab regimes and we have to stand against that. ‘The unions in Britain should take action on both fronts – the prisoners and the attack on Syria. ‘Palestinians are being imprisoned using laws made under the British mandate.’