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Statement of Principles:

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Emergency demo on Gaza

Emergency Protest – Gaza: Stop the Massacre

 

Today, Tuesday 15 May – 5.30pm to 7pm

Opposite Downing Street, Whitehall, London

The toll of death and injury in Gaza today is appalling. Israeli forces have today massacred 52 Palestinians in Gaza, and injured a further 2,400, including 200 children. They have called  them “clashes”. We call it murder.

Over the last 7 weeks, Israel has responded to Palestinians exercising their right to demonstrate with shocking violence. Having deployed snipers along the Gaza border, Israeli forces have been using live ammunition with deadly consequences. Prior to today’s bloody onslaught, Israeli forces had already killed at least 45 Palestinians and injured a further 6,400 since the 30th March.

The death count is likely to rise as Palestinians continue to mark the 70th  anniversary of the Nakba, when they were ethnically cleansed from their land, and protest against the US embassy move to Jerusalem.

Take urgent action to make sure that Israel is held accountable. 

* Join us demonstrating today outside Downing Street!

* Write to your MP (using PSC’s template letter, which you can modify).

In solidarity!

19 comments to Emergency demo on Gaza

  • John

    Statement by Jeremy Corbyn 2 hours ago:-

    ‘Today’s killing of dozens of unarmed protesters and the wounding of many more by Israeli forces in Gaza is an outrage that demands not just international condemnation, but action to hold those responsible to account.

    This slaughter follows weeks of killings of Palestinian civilians demonstrating for their right to return, most of whom are refugees or the families of refugees. Coming on the day President Trump moved the US embassy to Jerusalem, it underlines the threat to peace posed by the continuing and intolerable injustices faced by the Palestinian people.

    The response from many western governments to this flagrant illegality, including our own – which bears a particular responsibility for a peaceful and just resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict – has been wholly inadequate. They should take a lead from Israeli peace and justice campaigners: to demand an end to the multiple abuses of human and political rights Palestinians face on a daily basis, the 11-year siege of Gaza, the continuing 50-year occupation of Palestinian territory and the ongoing expansion of illegal settlements.

    We cannot turn a blind eye to such wanton disregard for international law. That is why Labour is committed to reviewing UK arms sales to Israel while these violations continue.

    The international community must at last put its collective authority and weight behind achieving a lasting settlement that delivers peace, justice and security for both Israelis and Palestinians, who have waited so long to achieve their rights.’

  • Hilary Wise

    It is incredible that absolutely no rights are left to the people of Gaza – not the right to protest, not even the right to life.Our government should be expelling the Israeli ambassador.

  • Jaye

    John, Corbyn should look a little closer at the “peaceful civilians” sent by his friends from Hamas. Every death is a tragedy and in this case they were all avoidable but unfortunately,Hamas sent them to be “martyrs”.

  • Amin

    Thank you Labour Leader
    Can we see you in the demonstration condemn the terrorist state of Israel and clarify to all this is not anti-Semitic, it’s about justice , about human rights violations against innocent people who have been displaced as refugees around the world and they have the right of return to their home land .
    Thank you

  • Mary Evans Young

    This statement and its sentiments – which I wholeheartedly agree with -illustrates the rift within the Labour Party. It is markedly different from the one released by Labour Friends of Israel and could never come from the Conservative Party.

  • Richard Kuper

    Craig Murray writes: “The true face of the organisation calling itself “Labour Friends of Israel” has been revealed today, in truly disgusting victim-blaming tweets reacting to the massacre of over fifty Palestinians – including yet more children – by the Israeli Defence Force in Gaza.”

    See https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/05/the-stomach-churning-victim-blaming-by-labour-friends-of-israel/

  • Mike Scott

    I can’t see how this wouldn’t come into the definition of a Crime Against Humanity. How does a referral to the International Criminal Court get to be made?

  • Richard Kuper

    Emily Thornberry responds to the killing of Palestinians in Gaza today

    Emily Thornberry MP, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, responding to the killing of Palestinians in Gaza today [14 May], said:

    “We condemn unreservedly the Israeli government for their brutal, lethal and utterly unjustified actions on the Gaza border, and our thoughts are with all those Palestinians in Gaza whose loved ones have been killed or injured as a result.

    “These actions are made all the worse because they come not as the result of a disproportionate over-reaction to one day’s protests, but as the culmination of six weeks of an apparently systemic and deliberate policy of killing and maiming unarmed protestors and bystanders who pose no threat to the forces at the Gaza border, many of them shot in the back, many of them shot hundreds of metres from the border, and many of them children.

    “Throughout that six-week period, the UN’s Secretary General has been calling for an independent investigation into these incidents, one that should urgently determine whether international law has been broken, and hold the Netanyahu government to account for their actions. The UK should lead calls for the UN Security Council to order such an investigation today.

    “These incidents must also be the catalyst for urgent and concerted international pressure on the Netanyahu government to lift the blockade on Gaza, and end Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories. No longer can Netanyahu act as a law unto himself, under the protection of the Trump administration, whose decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem today has further inflamed the situation.

    “In the meantime, we urge the Israeli forces serving on the Gaza border to show some long-overdue responsibility to their fellow human beings, and stop this vicious and utterly avoidable slaughter of peaceful protesters demanding the right to return to their homes.”

    https://labour.org.uk/press/emily-thornberry-responds-killing-palestinians-gaza-today/

  • Richard Kuper

    LAWYERS FOR PALESTINIANS HUMAN RIGHTS

    Statement on the use of force against protesters in Gaza
    London, 15 May 2018

    As lawyers committed to the protection of Palestinian human rights, we strongly abhor the deliberate and widespread targeting of Palestinian protesters in Gaza yesterday that caused 57 fatalities, including 6 children and a person with a disability, and at least another 2,000 injured. 1,114 of the injured were shot with live ammunition and at least 70 are in serious or critical condition. It is imperative that the commission of any serious crimes is properly met with legal accountability and justice, rather than dangerous impunity.

    For over six weeks since the protests began on 30 March, it has been clearly apparent that applicable legal standards on the use of force against protesters have being seriously and repeatedly violated. On 8 April, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, stated she was following “the violence with grave concern” and strikingly noted that: “Violence against civilians – in a situation such as the one prevailing in Gaza – could constitute crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”

    Israel’s military, however, has not apparently amended their open-fire instructions against unarmed Palestinian protesters despite the acute concerns that they sanction acts of serious criminality, including wilful killing and wilfully causing serious injury. The fact that Israel’s political and military leadership has not changed its course of action raises extremely serious questions about potential international humanitarian and human rights law violations by these officials.

    Israel stated in early April that a fact-finding mechanism will review the use of force against Palestinian protesters in Gaza. We are however extremely doubtful that Israel’s investigation will conform with international standards on the duty to investigate. We note that the leading Israeli human rights organisation, B’Tselem, announced in 2016 that it will stop referring complaints to Israel’s military law enforcement system, because: “There is no longer any point in pursuing justice and defending human rights by working with a system whose real function is measured by its ability to continue to successfully cover up.”

    Israel’s investigation system has not since been restructured and there is no credible reason based on empirical evidence to expect a different outcome. We therefore reiterate our call upon the UK and the wider international community to monitor Israel’s investigation for the purpose of assessing its compliance with international standards of independence, impartiality, thoroughness, effectiveness, promptness and transparency.
    We also urge the UK and the wider international community to consider the steps it will take should Israel’s investigation not meet the criteria for a genuine investigation. We suggest this should particularly include expressly supporting Palestinian victims, survivors and their families in pursuing the only viable avenue open to them to secure legal accountability and justice, which will be through the International Criminal Court.

    LPHR Legal Q&A on the use of force against Gaza protesters
    LPHR Urgent Action letters to the UK Government dated 3 April and 2 May

    Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights, C/O Bates Wells Braithwaite, 10 Queen Street Place, London EC4R 1BE

    Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights is a registered charity in England and Wales (1142158)

  • Jaye

    Do those commenting above not concede that any of the Gazans were bent on violence, destruction, mass assault on Israeli positions or towns, were armed with plenty of incendiary devices, knives, rocks and cutters and were terrorists trained by Hamas or Islamic Jihad to try and kidnap and/or massacre Jews? Not one of them .. even though they say they were? The IDF reported 12 attempts to violently attack and burst en masse through the border. Hamas, which is recognised as a terrorist group throughout the world, just like those groups who murder Britons in Britain and Europeans in Europe, has declared its charter and regards itself at war with Israel and proudly boasts its aim to destroy Israel. Reading the above posts you’d think that Israel had shot scouts at a jamboree. I’m sure that many were undeservedly shot but good heavens, joining the violence in a conflict zone after repeated warnings is not complete innocence and how would all of you react faced with the above and more and the mob violence directed at you if only they could get their hands on you?

  • Richard Kuper

    Jaye

    Take a moment to reflect on what you’ve written. Even better, try a thought experiment. What if they were Jews in Gaza? What if a neighbouring state, overwhelmingly more powerful today than this little Jewish enclave, surrounded and cut off from the world by its imperious neighbour, were struggling to assert its right to exist and to resist. And yes, some of them enraged beyond endurance by what they have been subjected to over the days, months, years and generations – but nonetheless exercising their right to resist unjust oppression. And exercising it on their own soil. You would happily see them shot like fish in a barrel?

  • Richard Kuper

    Stop the Bloodbath

    There is no dispute over Israel’s right to defend its border, but this does not mean it has the right to do whatever it pleases to those who try to cross it

    Haaretz Editorial May 15, 2018 4:08 AM

    The black smoke that rose above Gaza yesterday and the number of casualties that climbed by the hour did not interfere with the celebratory opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem, highlighting the wanton Israeli treatment of Palestinians in general and Gazans in particular.

    In the atmosphere of arrogance that has gripped the political system, bolstered by a sympathetic American president who has responded to all the whims of an Israeli prime minister who refuses to consider peace, it remains to be hoped that at least today, Nakba Day, the culmination of the Palestinian “March of Return,” Israel Defense Forces soldiers will do their best to prevent more mass killings. It is their duty to stop the tens of thousands of Palestinian demonstrators who will descend on the Gazan border fence with means as nonlethal as possible, and with as few casualties as possible.

    A month and a half of demonstrations by people who were mostly unarmed has resulted in dozens of deaths and thousands of wounded Palestinians. During these weeks of protest, Hamas and the other resistance movements in Gaza refrained from launching rockets into Israel. No Israeli soldier or resident was injured. Israel, on the other hand, acted against the unarmed demonstrators with sniper fire, live fire that killed and maimed.

    In the furthest place possible from the embassy opening in Jerusalem and the crowds celebrating Netta Barzilai’s victory in the Eurovision Song Contest, tens of thousands of desperate people without a present or future tried to cry for help. A series of broadcasts this week by Israel Television News shows the extent of the disaster that faces the two million besieged and trapped people in Gaza. The pictures are heartbreaking and horrific, and they are the real reason for the protest at the fence. Lethal weapons won’t deter young people who have nothing left to lose. There is no dispute over Israel’s right to defend its border, but this does not mean it has the right to do whatever it pleases to those who try to cross it.

    Israel bears responsibility, although not exclusively, for the Gazan disaster. The 2005 withdrawal did not absolve Israel of its responsibility, certainly so long as it suffocates Gaza with a blockade.

    The people on both sides of the fence are the same age. On one side are armed Israeli soldiers – whose lives are not in danger most of the time and none of whom have been injured – who are free people, citizens of their country, with their future ahead of them. Facing them are young Gazans, in general unarmed, unprotected, the vast majority unemployed, and hopeless as long as the siege continues. Most of them go to the fence demonstrations simply to cry out and express their despair

    The IDF is responsible for preventing and deterring infiltration into Israeli territory, but the solution really lies in the Prime Minister’s Office. He must seriously examine the readiness of Hamas to negotiate a cease-fire with Israel, and announce steps to reduce the blockade considerably and allow those seriously wounded to be treated in Israel.

    The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.

    • Jaye

      Richard

      In response to your posts above, you will find this article interesting. Anger and spontaneity played a part in the riots but the more violent manifestations which resulted in casualties seem to have been well planned and orchestrated.

      https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/IDF-releases-details-of-how-it-prevented-a-Hamas-border-crossing-from-Gaza-556484

      Monday afternoon, when the IDF confronted violent disturbances on the fence, an intelligence alert was received that a Hamas squad was planning to place an explosive charge on the fence to allow to for a mass infiltration into Israel.

      Troops belonging to the IDF’s Maglan unit stationed themselves opposite the expected attack point in the northern Gaza Strip. When the squad of eight terrorists emerged from amidst the violent demonstration which was taking place, two armored IDF vehicles drove over the fence and were attacked by the cell with explosives and light weapons.

      According to the army the cell fired at troops from two different locations, one from a hill some 200 meters from the security fence and another point some 30 meters from the border.

      Troops then engaged the cell, opening fire at them from Israeli territory while a tank and IAF aircraft struck the terrorists’ position. All eight terrorists were killed in the exchange of gunfire.

      “Yesterday, during a violent riot, which included the burning of tires, throwing of pipe bombs and throwing of stones, we saw shots fired at our forces and realized that Hamas operatives were the ones who carried out the shooting. Due to this, the crowed dispersed and I gave an order to fire. The fighters were operating professionally, with great courage and precision, and prevented a significant shooting attack on our forces,” a commander in the unit said.

      According to the army a pistol, grenade launchers, charges and preparations for opening the fence were found in the place where the firefight was.

      The army believes that the quiet on Tuesday is likely due to Hamas assessing the situation and calculating their next step.

  • Jaye scares me, despairs me. Snipers, controlled fire? 2000 wounded. Controlled fire!!!
    The lack of empathy is what I expect from Israel’s ambassador. That is is how they are selected. But from a UK civilian? There is something badly wrong there. And in the Labour party??? Can’t be.

  • Richard Kuper

    Noura Erekat explains the background to the present protest in this interview on CBS.

  • Louis Vermond

    Is any of this true?

    Regards, Louis

    “Yesterday, during a violent riot, which included the burning of tires, throwing of pipe bombs and throwing of stones, we saw shots fired at our forces and realized that Hamas operatives were the ones who carried out the shooting. Due to this, the crowed dispersed and I gave an order to fire. The fighters were operating professionally, with great courage and precision, and prevented a significant shooting attack on our forces,” a commander in the unit said.

    • Mike Cushman

      WE doubt it. If they were firing with great precision surely there would have been some Israeli casualties. They say the first casualty of war is truth but it is the 2001st casualty this week after all the murdered and wounded Gazans.

      • Louis Vermond

        Thank you, Mike.

        During the 1960s some of us in Canada were taught that if we looked towards Israel we would see Anne Frank and Molly Goldberg. What we see instead is John Wayne with Palestinian veins in his teeth. This was to be expected though…*

        I envy you for the possibilities afforded by New Old Labour.

        Regards, Louis

        * “If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in the struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long an desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future with be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.” Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Richard Kuper

    Jaye:

    Jerry Haber posted on his Facebook page:

    17 May at 00:08 ·

    You are going to hear in the next few days about how Hamas said that 50 people who were killed were members of the Hamas. And Israeli hasbara will make a big deal of that. But those of us with some memory will remember that the same thing happened in Protective Edge. One can say that Hamas has been deeply influenced by the Mormon practice of “baptising the dead.” When criticized by Gazans of sending impressionable young people to their death, they claim those young people as members of Hamas, and publish lists to that effect. Some of them may be, some of them not be, and what exactly is a member of Hamas is not ever explained, nor why membership in Hamas means that you have forfeited all human rights and are a legitimate target.

    But here’s the point of this post. What the partisans of both sides don’t get is that the only “us” vs. “them” that interests me now is the ‘us” civilians and people who just want jobs and freedom and the ability to live vs. “them” politicians, ideologues, and hard hearts. People assume that if I bash the Israeli government I must support Hamas. But I am an equal opportunity basher. I frankly don’t always see much difference between the two. And let’s throw in some of the PA for good measure. Look, they are politicians, and that doesn’t mean they are good or bad, just that they do what politicians do, which is to stay in power.

    What I don’t understand is those Israel partisans who don’t believe a word Hamas says when they announce numbers of wounded and dead, and then run to believe them when it serves their purpose.

    And this is not the first time that Hamas and the Israeli right have so much in common. Both want to make the martyrs part of Hamas, each side for its own purpose. That’s why I don’t believe anything that either side says, unless there is independent confirmation by reputable news outlets and human rights organizations. Those are my “us”. And yes I am skeptical of that “us” too, God has made me a skeptic, and I thank Him or Her (or whomever) for that.

    Edit: Please also read Mohammed Nabil’s comment below. According to him, there were members of the Hamas who were targeted by Israeli snipers who were not engaging in violent activity, but were back with the crowds. They were identified and shot at. That of course does not fit the Israeli narrative that the people who were killed were engaging violent activity. So not surprisingly, you won’t hear that in the hasbara reports.

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