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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.
The British Government's Permanent Representative at the UN recently made a statement concerning the current violence in Israel and the Israel-occupied Palestinian territories, including the Zionist regime's savage bombardment of Gaza. The government makes little effort to disguise its support for Israel, since although it condemns violence in general, demanding "that this cycle of violence must end", it only condemns the armed resistance of Hamas, the Palestinian organisation governing Gaza. According to the British government, Hamas is a "terrorist group", and it therefore condemns so-called "acts of terrorism" carried out in defence of the Palestinian people, whose homeland has been taken from them and whose territory is occupied by a foreign aggressor.
Zionist Israel, on the other hand is not condemned by the government for its state terrorism which, as the whole world has seen, is unleashed with scores of jet fighters, tanks and other weapons of mass destruction, largely supplied by Britain and its allies. Indeed, as the Campaign Against the Arms Trade has documented, British governments have supported Israel's acquisition of British-manufactured arms for over fifty years, particularly since the illegal occupation of Palestinian land in 1967. British monopolies such as BAE systems also work closely with US monopolies to supply arms to Israel, including helicopters and jet fighters. According to the British government, Israel "has a legitimate right to self-defence", while the Palestinian people and Hamas do not. From this perspective, the government cries crocodile tears concerning the hundreds of deaths, including over sixty children, well over one thousand wounded and many thousands who have lost their homes in Gaza. It calls merely for Israel to act in line with international law, which since 1967 it has never done, as even the government is forced to acknowledge.
In regard to international law, it cannot be forgotten that Boris Johnson's government only a few weeks ago firmly opposed plans for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Israeli war crimes carried out in the Occupied Territories since 2014. The Zionist regime referred to ICC's investigation as "undiluted antisemitism", a clear indication of how that term is now being employed. While professing to be one of the "strongest supporters" of the ICC, the Prime Minister stated that "we oppose the ICC's investigation into war crimes in Palestine. We do not accept that the ICC has jurisdiction in this instance, given that Israel is not a party to the Statute of Rome and Palestine is not a sovereign state." He added that "this investigation gives the impression of being a partial and prejudicial attack on a friend and ally of the UK's". The ICC has already determined that its jurisdiction extends "to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza, and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem".
In response, the Palestinian Mission in London called the Prime Minister's stance "deeply regrettable". It pointed out that Palestine is a signatory to the Rome Statute, and "it has every right to pursue claims on behalf of victims of war crimes at the Court". The statement added that Johnson's position "subverts the rules-based global order. And it sets back efforts to secure a lasting and just peace in Palestine." The Mission statement points out that Israel's illegal settlements "are a violation of international law and therefore a war crime". Furthermore, it argues that Britain "has a historic responsibility for the Palestinian people, having been instrumental in creating the problem in the first place". The Palestinian Mission concludes: "It is clear that the UK now believes Israel is above the law. There is no other interpretation of a statement that gives carte blanche to Israel to continue its illegal settlement project in occupied territory, and signals to Israel that no matter its actions vis-à-vis the Palestinian people in occupied territory, it will not be held to account."
Thirteen British charities also condemned the position of the government, including Christian Aid, War on Want, Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, and Quakers in Britain. In a joint statement they condemned "political interference by states" such as Britain. The statement adds, "Providing impartial justice and ending decades of impunity would bring the prospect of lasting peace closer and would signal an end to the suffering endured by generations across the region."
What is clear is that successive British governments and their allies, not least US imperialism, have aided and supported the state terrorism of Zionist Israel, which has for so long denied the Palestinian people their legitimate rights as a nation.
Ireland, Galway and Belfast, May 21 2021.
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Defence John Brady TD described the May 26 vote to adopt the Sinn Féin motion on the annexation of Palestinian lands by Israel as an historic moment, a victory for justice, and a recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.
The Wicklow TD said:
"I wish to convey my thanks to the members of the Dáil who have voted unanimous support for the Sinn Féin motion, to the co-signatories to the motion, the Labour Party, the Social Democrats, and the various independent TDs.
"I also want to express my gratitude to Trócaire, Sadaka, Christian Aid, Al Haq, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and the other members of the Oireachtas who have worked with us in developing this motion.
"For tonight, the Irish people have secured an historic victory for the people of Palestine.
"The decision by the members of the Dáil to vote to accept the Sinn Féin motion on annexation is a sure reflection of the strength of feeling that runs in this country at the treatment of the Palestinian people by the apartheid state of Israel.
"Ireland now stands as the first country in Europe to categorically state without equivocation that Israel has carried out the crime of annexation in the occupied Palestinian Territories.
"The respected international groups, Al Haq, Human Rights Watch, and B'Tselem have placed before the world the undeniable evidence that the state of Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid.
"I still recall my pride in our country when in the 1980s, the Dunnes Stores Workers took the decision to strike, and run the risk of losing their jobs, rather than handle produce from the apartheid state of South Africa.
"Today, in an article on last night's debate on the Sinn Féin motion, I read an article on Al Jazeera that described this moment as 'a landmark on the road to isolating an apartheid state as we did in the 1980s' such is the importance of what has been achieved here tonight.
"But I need to stress that this is more than mere symbolism. Annexation is a crime under international law.
"Such is the importance attached to what has occurred today, that the United Nations Special Rapporteur for the situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territory Occupied since 1967, Michael Lynk, felt compelled to write to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, in advance of last night's debate imploring the Irish government to act to recognise that de facto annexation has taken place.
"The Irish people have pushed the government over the line. The recognition that de facto annexation has taken place in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is now the formal position of Ireland.
"The Irish people, through the Dáil, have stated that Israel is guilty of the crime of annexation.
"The significance of the victory in getting the Irish government to acknowledge that annexation has taken place is enormous.
"It is now incumbent upon the Irish government to accept the imprimatur of the Irish people and take this motion and press for action in the EU, and for action on the UN Security Council on this issue.
"By shifting the discourse away from the outdated colonial discourse that has been allowed to prevail for decades, and which has been used to give licence to the concept of Israeli exceptionalism, a discourse which is satisfied to allow Israel to attempt to justify its acts of violence against innocent Palestinian civilians, and to receive a dispensation, an exemption if you like, from the international community for its deliberate targeting of civilians.
"We have stated clearly in this motion, and in our commentary on this motion, that we wish to frame a fresh discourse on the conflict, a discourse which focuses on the primacy of international law.
"And under the law there must be accountability.
"And now the international community must be pressured into holding Israel to account for the treatment of Palestinian civilians, and the destruction of their homes and infrastructure.
"The Irish government must act to introduce the Occupied Territories Bill. It must recognise the state of Palestine.
"It must ensure that Israel is held accountable for its action by the international community.
"Hopefully other countries can follow Ireland's lead, and take this motion as a template to use in their own parliaments."
(Sinn Féin Newsroom)
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