|Volume 51 Number 17, May 29, 2021||ARCHIVE||HOME||JBCENTRE||SUBSCRIBE|
London, one of the many mass demonstrations organised on Nakba day, May 15, 2021
Worldwide actions have taken place over the past two weeks and more in support of the heroic struggle of the Palestinian Resistance, and to protest against the criminal ethnic cleansing carried out by the Israeli Zionists. The Palestinian Resistance has demonstrated once more that they will continue to fight and expose the Zionists' schemes to expel the Palestinians from their homeland. The Palestinian people rose as one from Jerusalem to Gaza, as well as Palestinian refugee communities throughout the Middle East. It was the Palestinians who claimed victory when the unconditional ceasefire came into force, with Israel having been forced to accept that they cannot have a monopoly of the use of force forever, a monopoly which Israeli Zionism has been utilising to attempt to destroy the Palestinian people and get them to submit. In this, the Zionists have been given a green light for their crimes by the US imperialists, Britain and other allied states, who have given them all material and other support.
The record of the Zionists since the Nakba in 1948 has shown that the state of Israel has no interest in maintaining agreements, resolutions and peace treaties. Their aim has been that of genocide, destruction, and wrecking, not living in peace. Furthermore, the Palestinian refugees and their descendants have never given up their right to return to their land. Palestinian people have been fighting for their right to be, and have shown that they themselves will determine the character and aim of their collective action.
On May 15, millions of people all over the world took to the streets, including in Britain and the US, in militant demonstrations in solidarity with the Palestinian people and to demand an end to Israeli aggression. In Britain, as Israeli bombs were raining down over Gaza, 150,000 people shut down the streets of London and laid siege to the Israeli Embassy, in what was then the biggest protest in support of the Palestinian people since 2014. Over 80 other demonstrations took place across the country on the same day. In Newcastle, for example, over 1,000 gathered, including many Palestinians and youth, for a very lively demonstration with many speeches, songs and a wonderful Palestinian poem at the end. Speakers and participants also included those from Jews for Justice for Palestinians. The rally was organised by Newcastle Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Newcastle Stop the War supported by many other organisations and followed a similar rally in Durham the previous day. Among the many demonstrations in Europe, in Paris and Berlin demonstrators were brutally dispersed by police using water cannons.
Saturday, May 22, saw London's biggest ever demonstration for Palestine. A continuous crowd stretched from Parliament, past Downing Street, Trafalgar Square and most of the way down Piccadilly to Hyde Park. The demonstration was estimated at between 180,000-200,000. Trafalgar Square was turned into a spontaneous carnival of resistance as thousands took over the space with flags and banners, and chants and drums, before re-joining the demonstration.
The demonstration was called by six organisations: the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Muslim Association of Britain, Stop the War Coalition, Palestine Forum of Britain, CND and Friends of Al-Aqsa. The mood of defiance on the demonstration was testimony to the justice of the cause of the Palestinian people and the heroism of the Palestinian Resistance.
Youth, including groups of school students, were very prominent on the demonstration. A delegation of leading trade unionists carried the Trade Unions for Palestine banner produced by fourteen national unions. Speakers ranged from MPs to Jewish spokespeople, from trade union leaders to Muslim representatives. Anti-war leaders, students, musicians and performers also testified to the breadth of support for the Palestinians.
Jeremy Corbyn said to massive cheers towards the end of the rally that "if it hadn't been for the Palestinians' resistance and the global movement there wouldn't have been a ceasefire".
Demonstrations took place in cities and towns across the country. In Newcastle, 800 marched from the Civic Centre to a rally at the Monument. Among the militant speakers were those representing Newcastle Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Newcastle Stop the War. Manchester saw another big, lively, passionate and militant protest, rally and march for Palestine. In Bristol, about 1,000 gathered at the Shah Jalal Masjid, a mosque at the heart of Bristol's multicultural Easton area, to march with a sea of Palestinian flags almost three miles into the city centre to College Green, the site of Bristol's Council House. In Brighton, demonstrators gathered at the Peace statue on the Brighton and Hove seafront. It was called for Sunday, May 23, to avoid detracting from the huge demonstration that took place the previous day in nearby London.
Among the trade unions that issued statements in solidarity with the Palestinian Resistance were Equity, Unison, NASUWT, and a joint statement signed by 19 British unions and civil society organisations calling on Israel to be held accountable. The signatories included NEU, Unite the Union, RMT, GMB, UCU, PCS and Jews for Justice for Palestinians, as well as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. The TUC also issued a statement in solidarity with Palestinian workers and the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU). The statement concluded: "We stand in solidarity with Palestinian workers today and every day in their struggle for liberation, independence, equality and justice." This followed a general strike on May 18 in which some 1.6 million Palestinian citizens of Israel participated, called by the Arab High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel. Key unions, including Unite, Unison and the postal workers' union, pledged their support for the Palestinian general strike that shut down the occupied West Bank and the Arab regions of Israel.
The actions of the world's people have involved hundreds of thousands, if not millions. Not only have the crimes of the Zionists been condemned, but these actions have demonstrated that the people are rising against the disinformation campaigns which have sought to diffuse, criminalise and smash the resistance movement of the Palestinian people and their right to be.
All Glory to the Palestinian Resistance!
London, May 21 2021
Aberdeen and London
Bristol, May 22 2021
Manchester, May 22 2021
Albania and Australia
France and Germany
Iran and Iraq
Stop the War Coalition Newsletter
The brave resistance of Palestinians and the magnificent international demonstrations have put the question of Palestinian freedom back centre stage.
But despite the protests, and despite the continued brutal repression of the Palestinians, the Western powers in general - and the UK and the US in particular - continue their support for Israel.
This Wednesday join Tariq Ali, Shabbir Lakha, Lowkey, Ben Jamal and Salma Yaqoob to discuss the crucial question of why the Western powers back Israel and how their support is connected to the wars in the Middle East.
To build on the resurgence of the pro-Palestine movement over the past few weeks Stop the War is asking groups and activists to take to the streets next weekend (June 5/6) to petition for Palestine.