From The River To The Sea Palestine Will Be Free!

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The march sets off from Russell Square demanding stop arming Israel

First speaker at the rally in Parliament Square was Louise Regan, the chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, who said: ‘Since October, Palestinians have been experiencing the darkest times with over 33,000 confirmed dead. We hear that 10 children a day are having amputations with no anaesthetic. We are witnessing our leaders continuing to sell arms to Israel, while cutting funding to UNRWA. End the weapons sales! Restore funding for UNRWA! This genocide is born of 75 years of crimes by Israel and it must cease now!’

Upsama Begum, Labour MP for Poplar and Limehouse, said: ‘We are witnessing unprecedented atrocities, families completely wiped out by Israel using AI weaponry. The double standards and the racism chill us to our bones. The British government is completely out of kilter with the British people. How many of the 33,000 killed were killed by British weaponry? Stop arming Israel, restore funding for UNRWA immediately. We say this loud and clear recogniSe the state of Palestine!’

Lindsey German, Convener of Stop the War said: ‘Our government, the US and German governments, are arming Israel and the most amazing thing is they are not winning. They have lost the battle. Everyone around the world supports Palestine.’

Amina Minawari, Health Workers for Palestine, said: ‘Seven months of genocide – I struggled to find words, but there should never be words for genocide. There have been over 500 health workers killed whilst on duty in hospitals and clinics. The bloodthirsty Zionist regime has taken over 8,000 hostages.

‘Israel has a 76-year record of genocide We, the people, will not be silenced when speaking about the killings at Al-Shifa Hospital. Our beloved Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah, who was stopped from speaking at the Palestine Conference in Germany won’t be silenced. Say it loud and say it clear, we don’t want no Zionists here! Say it clear, say it loud, Gaza you make us proud!’

Khalid Sidahmed, speaking for Sudanese anti-war organisations, said: ‘In every war we look at, we find British imperialism there. Everywhere you look, and why? It is that capitalism and imperialism is the same system.

‘In my country two generals are fighting each other. They were put in power by the British and now they are fighting each other. They are drowning Sudan in blood. We started our revolution in 2018. We say to 10 Downing Street get out of Sudan!

‘Let’s use this momentum let’s fight them and beat them. We are holding a big march on 1st July organised by the Sudanese anti-war groups. The slogan of the Sudan Revolution is Freedom, Peace and Justice! Revolution is the Decision of the People of Sudan!’

Mustafa Al-Dabbagh, from the Muslim Association of Britain, said: ‘War crimes by Israel today are not just being done by one man. It’s just Zionism showing itself at its most extreme face. The problem is not just Netanyahu, it is embedded in Israeli society. This racism is inflicted on Palestinians every single day, it is the nature of Israel, the nature of Zionism. Israel has become a pariah state because of this character, it cannot change.

‘There must be an immediate international arms embargo on Israel. Britain is complicit in genocide. The British government has imposed arms embargoes in the past, not doing it now shows it is endorsing genocide. From the river to the sea Palestine will be free!’

Three Palestinians then read out the names of more than 20, 30 and 50 of their own family members killed in single Israeli air strikes on their homes – the names of dozens of infants, children, aunts, uncles, fathers, mothers, grandparents, of all ages, most with the same surnames, wiped out in a moment.

The readings of the names of the slaughtered was followed by a two minutes silence to remember all the dead.

The next speaker was Jeremy Corbyn MP, who said: ‘I pay tribute to the brave relatives we have just heard. We won’t keep quiet about their loss. Genocide must end. Globally there have been demonstrations everywhere.

‘They have tried to shut down our demonstrations. The home secretary at the time, I can’t remember her name, called these marches “hate marches” when they are love marches.

‘Now, when we make the very obvious call for a ceasefire we are told it is dangerous and unrealistic. No what’s dangerous and unrealistic is killing thousands and thousands.

‘An end to the arms trade. I was at The Hague for the South African case against Israel. The International Court of Justice said there are acts of genocide that have to be stopped. These acts are wrong, violent and abhorrent and they are illegal.

‘Over there in the House of Commons politicians are becoming nervous. They can feel the support seeping away from them. Yesterday, both front benches said that they are in favour of raising the expenditure on defence to 2.5%. They must be stopped.

‘My message to Parliament over there is we ain’t desperate, we’re stronger than ever.’

Kate Hudson, from CND, said: ‘Two weeks ago Israel launched a hugely provocative attack on the Iranian embassy in Damascus, killing 16 people. The way the media reports it is that Iran was responsible, which is ridiculous.

‘The greatest catastrophe will come when Israel decides to use its nuclear weapons. Its arsenal is illegal. It was Britain that enabled Israel’s nuclear weapons programme – Britain sold them the components. Israel must be disarmed. Its nuclear weapons must be taken away and destroyed.’

Katie Fallon, from Act Against the Arms Trade, said: ‘We see a genocide in front of us, a live genocide. We have to hold our own government to account. The system is purposefully secretive. They are hiding the true extent of their complicity. We know that the government is secretly selling arms. 600 legal experts recently wrote to the government saying stop arming Israel stop arming genocide.’

Shamil Jorda, from Friends of Al-Aqsa, said: ‘We all came here today because we had to. There have been a minimum of 33,000 killed, 13,000 of them children.

‘We have to work to ensure that the next national demonstration for Palestine, on Saturday 27th April, is the biggest yet. We can’t be complacent. Now they are starting to ban marches with no notice. We need everyone on the streets of London on that day. Do we stand with Gaza?’ he asked. ‘YES!’ came the reply.

Libby Nolan, the Unison president, said: ‘Stop the arms trade, it’s atrocious. At least 489 fellow health workers in Gaza have been killed. Restore the funding for UNRWA, end the occupation, end collective punishment.’

David Rosenberg, from the Jewish Socialist Group and the Jewish Bloc, said: ‘The Jewish Bloc was founded six months ago. Israel is increasingly isolated. There are more Jews rejecting Zionism than at any time in the past.

‘Growing up as a Jew in London I joined the Anti-Apartheid Movement to fight against apartheid in South Africa and now, 50 years later, I’m fighting against apartheid in Israel today.

‘We are internationalists, anti-nationalists and anti-Zionists. To be a Jew means always to be with the oppressed, never with the oppressor.’

Ibrahim Khalsa, from the Palestine Forum in Britain said: ‘I am unsure how to explain what is needed. The hospital of my birth, Al-Shifa, my house where I was raised, all have been razed to the ground. Twenty days after the UN voted for a ceasefire Israel has doubled down on its genocide.

‘You don’t accidentally kill 15,000 children, you don’t accidentally displace two million people. This is a targeted genocide. It’s time to make our governments stop arming Israel.’

The final speaker was Ben Jamal, from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, who said: ‘This march today is one of many around the country – Newcastle, Bristol, Oxford, Tunbridge Wells, even the Isle of Orkney!

‘We’ve seen six months of Israel’s unfolding genocide and still our government maintains its complicity. Our government defunds UNRWA and sells Israel weapons. Two million Palestinians face catastrophic hunger and still they defund UNRWA. This week, a UK opinion poll backed an arms embargo on Israel by more than three to one. On Tuesday, we will be handing in the petition to Downing Street calling for an end to the arms trade and on Wednesday at 6pm we will be here outside Parliament demanding “Stop Arming Israel”.

‘On 27th April, we will be holding the 12th national march for Palestine and to end the genocide. Please come and bring five others. Let’s make it the biggest march yet!’