|The News Line: Feature
Monday, 9 April 2018
UK MUST SUPPORT INDEPENDENT INTERNATIONAL INQUIRY INTO KILLING OF PROTESTERS IN GAZA – Corbyn tells demo
A DEMONSTRATION on Saturday of over 2,000 people shouted their support for Palestine in solidarity with the ‘Great March of Return’ in Gaza and condemned the Israeli killing of marchers. They demanded an end to the siege of Gaza and that the British government stop arming the Israeli state.
|‘In our millions, in our billions, we are all Palestinians!’ shouted the thousands demonstratiing opposite Downing Street on Saturday
The demonstration was addressed by number of speakers including a young Palestinian student Leanne Mohamad, who said: ‘The deaths in Gaza last Friday were referred to in the media as a clash. This was no class it was an inhumane massacre. ‘All the Palestinians who were killed and wounded wanted was to return to their homes but they were met with bullets and with tear gas. ‘Our courage, resistance and determination the Israelis cannot break. ‘Let us tell them we are the generation that will return to Palestine. ‘In our thousands in our millions we are all Palestinians!’
Also addressing the rally, Tosh McDonald ASLEF president said: ‘Our union has sent a number of delegations to Palestine. ‘I became involved in the unions during the anti apartheid movement in the 1980s and I see the Israeli government being similar to the apartheid South African regime.
‘It was pressure on this government that brought down apartheid. They are both surrounded by a firewall of Western governments that protect them. ‘We have to step up the pressure against this government.
‘The officers that allowed soldiers to shoot Palestinians last week have blood on their hands.
‘Government’s in the West that turn a blind eye two what’s going on in Gaza have blood on their hands. ‘There is no escaping that it is a massacre beyond anything else happening in the world today.’
Liberal peer Jenny Tonge said: ‘Hands up all those from the House of Lords and the House of Commons that are here today.’ No hands were raised. ‘I am ashamed that there is no one from our Parliament standing here with us.’
A statement to the rally from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was read by a young Labour Party member: ‘I have asked for this statement to be read at today’s demonstration supporting the Palestinian people in Gaza: ‘The killing and wounding of yet more unarmed Palestinian protesters yesterday by Israeli forces in Gaza is an outrage.
‘The majority of the people of the Gaza Strip are stateless refugees, subject to a decade-long blockade and the denial of basic human and political rights. More than two thirds are reliant on humanitarian assistance, with limited access to the most basic amenities, such as water and electricity.
‘They have a right to protest against their appalling conditions and the continuing blockade and occupation of Palestinian land, and in support of their right to return to their homes and their right to self-determination. ‘Firing live ammunition into crowds of unarmed civilians is illegal and inhumane and cannot be tolerated.
‘We stand in solidarity with the Israelis who have taken to the streets this last week to protest their government’s actions. ‘The silence from international powers with the responsibility of bringing a just settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict must end. ‘The UK government must support the UN Secretary-General’s call for an independent international inquiry into the killing of protesters in Gaza and review the sale of arms that could be used in violation of international law.
‘The events in Gaza and the threat of renewed conflict underlines the urgent necessity of genuine negotiations to achieve a viable two-state settlement that delivers peace, justice and security to both Palestinians and Israelis.’
Protesters at the rally spoke to News Line. Rachel Quinlan said: ‘Palestine was never Britain’s to give away in the first place. It is no accident that in the same week as 26 people are killed in the Gaza Strip all the headlines in the media are about how Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-semite which is nonsense. ‘I’m here because I want everyone to be free and we need to keep up the momentum here for Palestine as long as they are keeping it going in Gaza – until May the 16th.’
Rory McKay said: ‘I’m here to show solidarity with the Palestinian people who are being treated like prisoners in their own country. ‘This demonstration is to send a message to the Tories here and governments all around the world that we support Palestine ‘This government treats us as imbeciles. They are trying to divide us, they have to go.’
Terry Bowles from Sevenoaks said: ‘Corbyn has been smeared with the worst smears you could attribute – racism, anti-semitism – yet since the smears 20,000 new members have joined Labour Party in the last couple of weeks after he’s had everything thrown at him.
‘The people in the Labour Party who are joining in these smears should be weeded out. ‘Those supporting these smears are all pro-EU. The EU is an unelected rich boys club. The EU just wants to keep wages low, it is used as a stick to beat the unions with, look at the way in which the EU banks have treated Greece.’
A group of Sri Lankans travelled up to the protest from Crawley to show their support for Palestine. One of them. Shafwan Shaheed told News Line: ‘We are seeing the mainstream media boycott news from Palestine – this government must stop arming Israel. ‘In Sri Lanka we have just had a state of emergency with Buddhists attacking Muslim shops and homes in the Kandy District where our families are from. ‘The Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu, who led the atrocities against Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar (Burma) came to Sri Lanka to stir up divisions against the Muslim people.
‘He met with the right-wing Bodu Bala Sena (Buddist Power Force) organisation in Sri Lanka to stir up anti-Muslim tensions.’
Anti Zionist and Hammersmith council worker Stan Keable from Hammersmith told News Line how he had been suspended from his job working for the council after attending a rally in Parliament Square to oppose the anti-Corbyn “enough is enough” campaign about supposed anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. He said: ‘A BBC journalist sent a video to Chelsea and Fulham MP Greg Hands who then sent it to Hammersmith Council leader with a tweet to “investigate, and urge action” and the next day I was suspended “pending investigation”.
‘We know that this fake anti-semitism stems from a department of the Israeli government to counter the success of the BDS movement by claiming critics of Israel and Zionism are anti-semitic.’
Another protester Paul Clement said ‘Demonstrations are not enough. We should storm the gates of Downing Street. Israel is shooting protesters with impunity.’
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