Free Palestine! Hands Off Jerusalem!

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Over 3,000 protesters shouted ‘Free Palestine! Hands off Jerusalem!’ as they gathered outside the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square on Friday night
Over 3,000 protesters shouted ‘Free Palestine! Hands off Jerusalem!’ as they gathered outside the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square on Friday night

‘FREE Palestine! Hands off Jerusalem!’ shouted over 3,000 protesters outside the US Embassy on Friday night.

The massive rally called for mass demonstrations against the decision of US president Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the US embassy to the city.

The Stop the War campaign statement said: ‘We welcome the Foreign Secretary’s criticism of this move but it is essential that the government clearly condemns Trump’s action and in the light of this move cancels any possible visit by President Trump to the UK next year.’

Addressing the massive rally Palestinian ambassador Manuel Hassassian said: ‘Trump will never silence the voice of freedom. Jerusalem is occupied territory. Jerusalem is ours. The USA for 25 years has given hollow promises. Let us stop this charade about human rights.

‘America is naked imperialism and is attempting to silence those who have been suffering under occupation. We are staying on our land we are staying in Al Aqsa and we will struggle and show the world Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Palestinian people. Jerusalem is the symbol of our culture and history and it will be until we free the whole of Palestine.’

Also addressing the rally was Louise Regan the NUT section president of the National Education Union who has just returned from Palestine. She said: ‘Children in Palestine are very vulnerable.

‘As a union we condemn president Trump and we stand with the people of Palestine and will always do so.’ A speaker from Turkey said that a million-strong march is being organised in Istanbul.

Rajab Shamalakh from the Palestinian Community in the UK said: ‘We are now 100 years after the Balfour Declaration, where a privileged white man gave away our country. Now another privileged white man is giving away our capital.

‘What President Trump has done is a catastrophe for Palestine. It is a catastrophe for peace.

‘He has shown his support for occupation and violence. Jerusalem is not Trump’s to give away.

‘As our leader Arafat said: “The victory march will continue until the Palestinian flag flies in Jerusalem and all over Palestine.”’

Friends of Al Aqsa and Head of Public Affairs, Shamiul Joarder argued that Israel has been asserting its authority over Jerusalem since the state’s creation, including East Jerusalem which belongs to the Palestinians according to International Law. He maintained: ‘Jerusalem is not up for negotiation as it is the heart of Palestinian land and Trump has no right to give the Holy City away to an occupying entity.’

One of the protesters, Hafiza, who came with her family from south east London, told News Line: ‘The scene here outside the US Embassy says more than 1,000 words. Our voices we’ll be heard and they are saying what is right. All the people know that Jerusalem is Palestinian. We need to dump Trump and shame on all those who are supporting him. Shame on the British government for celebrating Balfour Declaration. It has to apologise for giving away our land.’

Rahma Dinally from Mauritius said: ‘Israel is practising apartheid. Palestinians have no alternative but to fight and need more support from across the world. The British treated the Chagos Islands in a similar way when Chagossians were expelled from the land and many came to live in a poor area of Mauritius.’

Model, Bella Hadid, who is Palestinian from Holland, attended the protest after she cut the ribbon at a Xmas event on Oxford Street in central London. Salim Sana came with her friends from the London School of Economics and said: ‘Palestine is an occupied land, Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine and we are here to show our support for the Palestinian people in the struggle for their own state.’

A statement from the Palestinian Forum said: ‘Thousands have gone to the streets in around 10 cities in the UK including London, Manchester, Birmingham and more to protest against Donald J. Trump’s latest decision of relocating the American embassy which entails the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

‘The protesters answered to the call of the Palestinian Forum of Britain (PFB) and other big organisations in solidarity with Palestine defying the extreme cold weather in front of the US embassy in central London.’

The Chair of the PFB Hafez Al-Karmi regarded the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of an oppressive entity a violation of every legality and laws as well as all the norms. He also emphasised that this action created a state of chaos in the world where international laws are not respected.

Karmi asks that if the world stood against the terror of ISIS and passed many international agreements in order to fight it, who will stand and fight the terror adopted by Trump and Netanyahu today.