Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 53 Number 32, December 3, 2023 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

Workers and Students Walkout as the Government Continues its Support for Israeli War Crimes


November 25, London

Wednesday, November 29, marked the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People which has been observed on November 29 each year by the UN since 1977. This year people around the world staged rallies and walkouts in their thousands to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People condemning Israel's heinous war on Gaza and the West Bank killing a reported of at least 15,000 people including over 5,000 thousand children. The walkouts [1] called for a permanent ceasefire following Israel's being forced to agree a temporary ceasefire for an exchange of Palestinian prisoners - many who have never been charged, and many of them children (or, as many press reports here say, "persons under 18") - with the Israeli hostages in Gaza held by Hamas.


November 25, London

In a second workplace day of action thousands of workers and students across Britain joined protests and walkouts to stand with Palestine on the International Day of Solidarity in an action called by the Stop the War Coalition. Actions took place in almost every city with hundreds taking part in Colleges and workplaces in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Cambridge, Oxford and many other cities in England, Wales and Scotland all calling for a permanent ceasefire and an end to the Israeli Zionist genocide in Gaza.

According to various sources and reports, over 100 workers and students protested outside Westminster Kingsway College in central London. In a demonstration at the Strand campus of Kings College London, around 100 students who had staged a walkout held a rally with speeches calling explicitly for the right to resistance, one state solution and bringing attention to the mass arrests of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. The students then marched to LSE (London School of Economics). Previously, on November 24, over 1,000 students had gathered at the SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London) campus, where speeches were made demanding the reinstatement of a number of SOAS students who had been suspended after organising a pro-Palestine rally outside the university building on October 9. This was followed by a march from SOAS to the Camden offices of the Labour Party to protest against the refusal of Keir Starmer to demand a permanent ceasefire.


November 25, Scotland, Glasgow

UCU union members and students at City and Islington College, north London, protested on November 29 to demand a permanent ceasefire. Workers at Stoke Newington School in Hackney, east London, protested outside with Palestinian flags. And NEU union members at the BSix sixth form college in the same borough held signs demanding, "Ceasefire now," outside.

Around 25 workers at St George's Hospital in south London protested outside with Palestinian flags and placards. Health workers at Dorset County Hospital protested at lunchtime alongside supporters of the Islamic Centre and Dorset Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. Workers at Royal Stoke Hospital staged a lunchtime gathering inside, waving a Palestine flag. Staff at the Homerton in east London showed their solidarity with Palestine. Postal workers in the CWU union at Stansted Airport held up posters that read, "Ceasefire now".

Around 200 culture workers gathered outside the Southbank Centre in south London. Organisers had stressed the action was "a walkout, a withdrawal of labour and a downing of tools". Around 30 people attended a protest organised by the PCS union outside the Houses of Parliament.


November 25, Ireland, Belfast

Some 30 students and workers from the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moore's university held a protest in University Square. Jewish anti-Zionist Saira Weiner - a UCU candidate for UCU general secretary - called for union leaders to build the movement to stand with Palestine.

Around 200 students from the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan and Salford universities protested in the city centre. UCU members also joined the protest. Students called out the property company Fisher German, which rents buildings out to the Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems. It is to be noted that after weeks of action, the sole recruiters for the British operations of Israel's largest weapons company, Elbit Systems, have confirmed via email to Palestine Action that they ended their association with Elbit on the evening of November 29 [1].

Around 300 Edinburgh students walked out of lectures for Palestine-the eighth week of walkouts at the university. Members of the EIS, UCU and Unite unions and Edinburgh trades council joined the protest.

Students also walked out in support of the Palestinian people at the University of Birmingham


Kings College London, as students chant "We will honour all our martyrs"

Also on Wednesday, in opposition to this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Rishi Sunak used Prime Minister's Question Time to speak on the steps he was taking to "give steadfast support for Israel" and had no intention to call on Israel to make the ceasefire permanent. He again emphasised "support for Israel's right to defend itself" and diverted any blame to Iran and "Iran backed groups" and Iran's "de-stabilising activity in the Middle East" for Israel crimes in Palestinian territories. Of course, Sunak failed to mention Britain's de-stabilising activity in the Middle East. Sunak had previously in October dispatched the "UK military to the Eastern Mediterranean to support Israel" and claimed this was justified to "reinforce regional stability" [2]. In other words the crimes against humanity being committed in Gaza by Israel have the political and military support of the British government.

Last week Declassified reported on Wednesday that the "US is moving weapons into Israel via the British bases in Akrotiri, with 50% of US flights leaving the area said to be carrying arms. This would again implicate Britain in offering the territory to the Americans without consulting the Republic of Cyprus, and thwart the notion of true postcolonial independence." [3].

Haaretz an Israeli newspaper, reported that over 40 US transport aircraft, 20 British transport aircraft and seven heavy transport helicopters have flown to RAF Akrotiri, Britain's vast base on Cyprus, carrying equipment, arms and forces [4]. Haaretz also wrote that "Cyprus provides the most significant international deployment of forces and equipment" for military operations related to Israel's bombing campaign in Gaza.

Actions are continuing across the country to denounce Israeli genocide. A national demonstration is to take place this coming Saturday, December 9, in London beginning at noon. The stand of both Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer in backing Israel is causing great and widespread anger. Their positions are further exposing the lack of legitimacy of the parliamentary democracy they represent, especially amongst the youth. While the horrors of the Israeli onslaught against Gaza are there for all to see, the heroism of the Palestinian people, the sacrifices of the martyrs of the resistance, and the dignity of the people of Gaza in the face of the attempted Israeli genocide, are also profoundly resonating with public opinion. The ongoing actions and demonstrations nationally and locally are a testament that the working class and people are refusing to be complicit in genocide, and have contempt for those politicians who are intent on siding with Israeli Zionism and following the lead of the U S and refusing to dissociate from its claim to be the indispensable nation. It is clear that the Palestinian people are fighting not only for their own liberation, but for that of oppressed people everywhere. We too declare, "Enough Is Enough!", "We are all Palestinians!", "Free, Free Palestine!".


Notes
1. Recruiters Drop Elbit Systems After Campaign
https://popularresistance.org/recruiters-drop-elbit-systems-after-campaign/
2.Press Release: Prime Minister deploys UK military to Eastern Mediterranean to support Israel, October 13, 2023
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-deploys-uk-military-to-eastern-mediterranean-to-support-israel
3. How Britain made Cyprus complicit in Gaza's slaughter
https://www.declassifieduk.org/how-britain-made-cyprus-complicit-in-gazas-slaughter/
4. President Christodoulides denies US use Cyprus bases to send military equipment to Israel, Philinews, November 18 2023
https://in-cyprus.philenews.com/local/president-christodoulides-denies-us-use-cyprus-bases-to-send-military-equipment-to-israel/
https://www.haaretz.com


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