Over 20,000 people protest the occupation of Palestine(click photo to enlarge)
40th Anniversary of the Occupation of large parts of Palestine
Demonstration & Rally, London
9th June 2007
Anti Zionism is not Anti Semitism
Only Justice Brings Peace
Green Party Message:
The Price of Peace is Justice
End 40 years of occupation
Justice is the path to peace
June 2007 marks the 40th anniversary of the occupation of large parts of Palestine following the Israeli war of expansion in 1967. It was in this month that the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai, Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the Sheba Farms were lost to zionist invaders. Whilst this is an important anniversary, we must not detract from remembering that, as one one the speakers points out, 78% of Palestine was already occupied by 1948 and any just solution must take that in to consideration. We must be clear that when we call for an 'end to the occupation' we are refering to every inch of Palestine that was occupied.
All around the world thousands marked the anniversary with a week of action against the zionist occupiers. In the UK, over 20,000 people converged on London for a huge demonstration through the streets of London climaxing in a rally in Trafalgar Square with over 20 speakers addressing the crowds. The rally was organised by the newly formed Enough! coalition of over 50 organisations ranging from charities, religious groups, trade unions and other campaign groups.
UNISON - A strong supporter of Palestine, next week at their conference they will table a motion to boycott Israel. [More..]
Shockingly, all UK mainstream media have maintained blanket-silence over the event! No coverage at all - the only story google news could find was a couple of reports on Indymedia! This makes it all the more important for us to provide detailed coverage of this important event.
The active Brighton & Hove branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign
People had come from all over the country to attend the demo as was evident from their banners: Brighton & Hove PSC, Oxford PSC, Warwick University, Wolverhampton PSC, Manchester PSC, York PSC..
40 Years is Enough - End the Occupation
The cause of Palestine had united people of all different backgrounds including many Jewish groups - ranging from the untra-orthodox Neutera Karta, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods(J-Big), Jews Against Zionism, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Jewish Socialists' Group, and Jews for Justice for Palestinians. Christians organisations included Pax Christi, the Quakers, Scottish Episcopal Church, and the Christian Peacemaker Teams.
People from all faiths, and none, turned up to support Palestine
The demontration started at Lincoln's Inn Fields, leaving at around 2pm through the streets of London heading for Trafalgar Square.
The front of a very long demonstration.
As the demonstration left Lincolnís Inn we had to pass through a narrow passage followed by a sharp turn. At the turn perched above us was a police cameraman standing on a railing, he was directed by police on the ground to take photos of certain people - usually those the standard big brother cameras had missed due to their faces being covered.
Police cameraman, with the now standard issue camera/camcorder unit, busy invading peoples privacy
Despite forcasts of rain, we had a wonderful sunny day. The public were genuinely with us, cars occasionally hooting in solidarity and people in cafes waving in support.
Just before reaching Trafalgar Square we did encounter a tiny zionist counter-demo, see below for a report on it.
Riah Abu El Assal, the Anglican Bishop from Jerusalem, addressing the crowd.
At Trafalgar Square, a stage had been set up with a giant video screen. We were treated to over 20 inspiring speeches. What distinguished the speaker list from previous demos was the number of first time speakers - many of them members from parliament and the House of Lords we had not seen speak at previous demos - this is clearly an indication of the growing strength of support in Britain for the Palestinian cause, a desire to see justice done. The "newbieís" from parliament included Richard Burden - MP and Chair all party committee on Palestine; Lord Andrew Phillips; Emily Thornberry - MP; and Brian Iddon - MP for Bolton. Other "newbieís" included the British Actress Miriam Margolyes; comedian Alexi Sayle; and the Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire. It was refreshing to listen to the new voices, many of them spoke of personal experiences of what they saw on visits to Palestine. The highlight of the day for us was to listen to the Prime Minister of Palestine, Ismail Haniyeh address the crowds via a video message broadcast across the giant screen - a truly inspirational message.
The full audio, and summary transcripts, of all the speeches are provided below in mp3 format, ready for downloading - enjoy!
20,000 people gathered at Trafalgar Square to listen to the speeches.
We will never succumb,[ To listen to audio need the Flash Player ]
never kneel down to oppression
Professor Manuel Hassassian, Palestinian General Delegate to the UK
Occupation will never, never be dominate over the freedom fighters of Palestine.. we will never succumb, never kneel down to oppression, to occupation..
Freedom of Palestine entails also the return of our refugees to our homeland, to Palestine.
We promise these alleged democracies that we the Palestinians are the genuine democracy in the world. We have elected our representatives, we have put them in parliament and they have put them in prisons and in jails - this is the hypocrisy of democracy.
Some of the most creative placards of the demonstration, see more of her artwork in the speech box of Ismail Haniyeh
How many human rights abuses do you need?[ To listen to audio need the Flash Player ]
Caroline Lucas, Member of European Parliament
When you ask our government or indeed the EU what they are going to do about it, they move their hands and say there is nothing they can do. Well thatís very strange because for example there is a thing called the EU-Israel Association Agreement. That agreement means that Israeli goods get preferential access to EU markets, and that agreement has a human rights clause, and that human rights clause says that in the event of human rights abuses on either side the agreement shall be suspended. So our question to our government today should be this - how many human rights abuses do you need? How many women dying in child birth, because they can't pass the checkpoints through the Israeli authorities, do you need?
The wall is about LAND GRAB - to separate Palestinians from their land.
78% of Palestine was occupied in 1947-48[ To listen to audio need the Flash Player ]
Ismael Patel, Friends of Al Aqsa
Lets remind ourselves that the 67 war was started by the zionist state Israel and Menachin Begin is quoted as saying that we attacked Nasser and we should be honest about that. But more that that we need to remind ourselves that 78% of mandate Palestine was occupied in 1947-48, but more than that we need to remind ourselves that it was 90 years ago that the British government under Balfour decided to give a Jewish people the home of Palestine without asking the Palestinians. And this was the greatest injustice carried out by the British government. We demand the British government apologies to the Palestinian people - the crime that is being carried out on the Palestinian people is partly the responsibility of out British government, and they should apologise for that!
Respect the Palestinian Choice - Hamas
Israel release that money,[ To listen to audio need the Flash Player ]
it does not belong to you!
Richard Burden, MP and Chair of all party committee on Palestine
40 years of checkpoints - stopping people going to school, stopping people getting to hospital, stopping people even getting to work. You see a wall that stops farmers getting to their own fields, and you see in Gaza an economic blockage that is causing levels of poverty equal to anything you see in sub-Saharan Africa. And against that background Israel is making that worse, not content just to blockade, but to halt back from the Palestinians money that belongs to them in terms of tax revenues. We need to be saying to our government an to the EU and the international community: Israel release that money, it does not belong to you!
Raising the flag of Palestine, a little girl gets ready to march for justice
Something is wrong when..[ To listen to audio need the Flash Player ]
Mustafa Barghouti, Palestinian Minister of Information
There is something wrong when 40 years of occupation pass.
There is something wrong with this world when 60 years pass after the dispossession of the Palestinian refugees and they don't go home.
Something is wrong when occupation transforms in front of the eyes of governments and people in to the worst apartheid system in the history of human beings.
Something is wrong when Israel continues to occupy Palestinian land, continues to confiscate our water, continues to oppress and persecute the Palestinians, and then the Palestinians are punished by the international community instead of punishing Israel the occupying power!
Something is wrong when after signing Oslo, the income of the Israelis used to be 6-1 in comparison to Palestinians and it is now 30 times more than what Palestinians make.
Something is wrong when we are obliged to buy products at the Israeli market price when Israelis make 30 times our income.
Something is wrong when an Israeli illegal settler is allowed to use 40 more times our water in the occupied territories.
Something is wrong when 11,000 Palestinian prisoners including 376 children and 121 women is in jail including our leaders, and this does not get reported in the international press which gets consumed with one ONE Israeli soldier!
Something is wrong when the best democracy in the Arab world, conducts the best elections in the region, and then one-third of our members of Parliament go to Israeli jails. And the world community is not doing enough to have them freed.
Something is wrong when Palestinians are punished although they are living through the worst form of occupation.
Something is wrong when I as a minister and member of elected parliament can come to London but I can't go to Gaza or Jerusalem because they don't give us permits to do so!
Mustafa Barghouti stopped from entering Hebron
Something is wrong when American President Jimmy Carter is accused of anti-Semitism because he dared to speak the truth he saw in Palestine which is that Israel has become a much worse apartheid than what prevailed in South Africa.
Something is wrong when Avraham Burg, the previous head of the Israel Knesset , the Israeli Parliament, and the son of one of the four most famous Jewish leaders in the history of Israel, when he is accused and prosecuted because he dared to say that Israel has become an imperialist, aggressive, ruthless power that reminds him of fascism.
Something is wrong when such an Israeli leader says the truth and he gets punished.
There is something wrong dear friends and comrades and colleagues, when Israel is allowed to build a wall that is three times the length of Berlin wall and twice as high. A wall that is separating Palestinian from Palestinians, and not Palestinians from Israelis.
We must demand not the punishment of the Palestinian people but the boycott - the punishment of Israel, the occupying power, the oppressive power.
We as a government have made an offer for peace, we have made an offer for complete, comprehensive, reciprocal, simultaneous ceasefire. We made an offer to accept the Arab initiative, and have peace based on a two state solution. We've mad a very flexible program and we've made an offer for exchange of prisoners and to each and every single offer from our side Israel said no no and no because Israel does not have in it as this moment a government that can be a partner for peace, and the British government must know that, and must recognise that.
Something is very wrong when Bushra Bargis, a 17 year old girl sitting behind her desk studying for her exams, and an Israeli sniper comes in and shoots her in the head ad kills her instantly.
Bushra's blood-stained grammar workbook
now serves as a kind of memorial. [ More
Something is wrong when an old man, al-Jabar in Hebron, is attacked inside his house, 67 years old, and shot by the Israeli army, and his wife and his three children inside their home three days ago.
We are here to demand that the world must say the truth about Palestine.
We are here to ask you to help empower the Palestinian government, which was democratically elected, so that we can establish law and order, and so that we can have Alan Johnston free, because Alan Johnston is a friend of the Palestinian people, and Alan Johnston for us is an important person that must be freed because he was bringing the truth about the reality in Palestine and because no suppression of the freedom of press should ever happen.
Dear friends lets see the reality - 40 years of occupation has become the worst apartheid, and lets be frank, exactly like in the case of South Africa, Israel will not change from within. There should be pressure on Israel from outside like there was pressure on South African regime from outside, and we ask for a boycott campaign, and sanctions campaign. Western governments at least stop buying military equipment from Israel. Scandinavian countries, Britain, and other countries should not buy military equipment from Israel, which has become the fourth largest military exporter in the world.
Time has come to end this injustice, and thatís why we ask you to help us. I want to thank the University College Union for taking the initiative of demanding boycott of academic institutions. I want to ask you to remember that the Palestinian issue has become the moral issue number one in our century. Like Vietnam was freed, Palestine will be free; like South African people that are free, Palestine will be free; like India became independent, Palestine will be independent..
Three VIPs from Palestine
The intifada awakened the world and made it known that there was a new Palestinian generation yearning for freedom[ To listen to audio need the Flash Player ]
Ismail Haniyeh, Palestinian Prime Minister (video message)
In the name of God, most Gracious, most Merciful.
Brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen, peace be with you and warm greetings from the here, the land of Palestine, from the Gaza Strip, from the West Bank, and from Jerusalem.
I am addressing you on this painful occasion, the 40th anniversary of the occupation of large areas of Palestine, the lands of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem. I salute you all for your stand, for your solidarity, and for your human, brotherly, and patriotic true feelings.
The zionist leadership sought through wars to conclude the conflict by completing the occupation of Palestine under process of ethnic cleansing which they started in 1948. All this took place while the world paid no attention to the apartheid regime with its systematic destruction of Palestinian lives.
This situation persisted until 1987 when the intifada awakened the world and made it known that there was a new Palestinian generation yearning for freedom and living on its and with dignity.
It was Israelís mistakes which caused the intifada as Israel treated the Palestinian people with disdane. During the first two years of the intifada Israel killed 599 Palestinians, most of them children. Through the intifada the Palestinian people expressed themselves. The mistakes of 1948 will not be repeated, Palestinians will remain rooted in their land.
After the Oslo Agreement in 1993, contrary to expectations life in Palestine became even more difficult, and the rate of Jewish settlement of Palestinian land increased, and the dream of establishing a Palestinian state faded away.
Israel has always claimed it was defending itself, but facts on the ground belie these claims, and Israel has always been the party which threatened the very existence of the Palestinian people on their own land.
Israel has also ignored the international community and carried on with the building of the apartheid wall which has greatly restricted the movement of Palestinians.
We asked this simple question in this, the 21st century - Would any western government find it acceptable for its people to be caged in?
With all the hurdles Israel has put by force and persecution and in the light of present facts on the ground, it has become impossible to establish a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.
However despite the persecution, our people expressed their democratic choice through fair elections rarely witnessed in the region. However the international community responded by imposing an economic siege on the Palestinian people whilst ignoring 40 years of continuous death and destruction caused by the occupation.
There is no way out of the present political impasse without lifting the inhuman economic siege, releasing frozen funds and freeing Palestinian captives. The rate of arbitrary detention of Palestinians since 1967 reached about 20% of the Palestinian population.
40 years have passed since the 1967 war. Israel has conquered the land of Palestine, but has failed to conquer the people - the mind, the conscience, or the heart.
Throughout history the oppressed have found ways of getting strength to face and get rid of the oppressor. 40 years have passed since the war of June 1967, during which Israel has launched a series of wars that have resulted in a state of loss of balance in the region and resulted in an increase in mistrust between the Arabs and the west.
By not addressing the real causes of the conflict and continuing to support the oppressor, the western world is providing fertile grounds for justifying reactions and prolonging the conflict.
1967 remains the unfinished chapter only because Palestinians and not detached from Palestine, nothing will stop the struggle for freedom and reunification of Palestinian people and sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
Brothers and sisters, ladies and gentleman, on this painful anniversary, the anniversary of nexa, the anniversary of the occupation of rest of Palestinian land I can only stress the following:
First, we adhere to Palestinian rights and constance similar to those of any people in the world.
Second, we adhere to the Palestinian peoples right to defend themselves and resist the occupation in accordance with divine laws and international accords and conventions.
Third, we emphasise the right of return for Palestinian refugees to their lands and homes.
Fourth, we emphasise the human dimension of our cause, and our relations with the international community, and the principle of mutual respect, and on the principle of Palestinian inalienable rights.
Fifth, we greet all our Palestinian people who live in Britain, in Europe, and the world over. I assure them that they are in our minds, in our hearts, and in our consciences. We are positive that you will return one day to the beloved land of Palestine.
Thank you all once again for your continued support and solidarity with the Palestinian people.
At least 20,000 people listening to
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's message
British Muslim Initiative:
Free Palestinian Members of Parliament
The truth is this is not really an occupation at all, its colonisation - aggressive on-going colonisation![ To listen to audio need the Flash Player ]
Lord Andrew Phillips, shares his observations of the West Bank following his several visits to the area.
The truth is this is not really an occupation of the West Bank at all, its colonisation - aggressive on going colonisation!
There are now nearly half a million permanent settlers in the West Bank. Pristine hill top settlements are omnipresent and canonise the West Bank. Whatís more they breed yet more electric fences, moats, Jew-only roads, road-blocks, checkpoints, soldiers - over 500 of them. Imagine if this situation was reversed, if it was the Palestinians doing this to the Jews would the reaction of this government and the world be the same? I don't think so.
And all this destroys the lives of ordinary Palestinians, they queue to get passes, and then queue to use their passes at the checkpoints for hours and days - old women, pregnant women, children, sick people - hours and hours humiliating, calculated humiliating and I'm afraid to say, I say reluctantly racist!
The recent UN Commission on Human Rights called what is going on in Palestine "Controlled strangulation" and so it is! You could not contrive which more certainly provokes the violent resistance which the Israelis then claim justifies their punitive and illegal regime!
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
God has no favourites![ To listen to audio need the Flash Player ]
Bruce Kent, Pax Christi
The people who I have no time for are the zionists. They read the bible in an absolute bizarre way. God has no favourites! That's in the bible as well. And yet the zionists think this bit of land was given to them only. It won't work and its not true. We are all Gods children, whether we are Muslims, Christians or Jews, we are all together in this world.
York PSC: Boycott Israeli Goods
The shortest way to Baghdad goes through Jerusalem - once peace comes to Jerusalem peace will come to the whole world.[ To listen to audio need the Flash Player ]
Riah Abu El Assal, Anglican Bishop from Jerusalem
Those who were instrumental in partitioning Palestine were the first party to build separation wall between two communities who have been living side by side for ages and have been pre-destined to live side by side and must learn the art of peace making and not only peace talking.
There are many people prepared to speak about peace in the world, from the United Nations, to some governments both here and there. And I keep reminding them of another man from Nazareth - Jesus of Nazareth, who said "blessed are the peacemakers", thank God he didn't say blessed are the peacetalkers!
On his meeting with Tony Blair:
On the 18th of February 2003, when I was one of four bishops meeting the Prime Minister Tony Blair, he tried to impress us by saying, when we tried to convince him not to go to war against Iraq; he said he was going to war against Iraq to pave the way to peace in the Middle-East. When my turn came to speak to him I said "Sir, the shortest way to Baghdad goes through Jerusalem - once peace comes to Jerusalem peace will come to the whole world."
Women in Black
Remove the double standards! [ To listen to audio need the Flash Player ]
Keith Sonnet, deputy general secretary of Britains biggest trade union UNISON (pubic services union)
One of the things we must do is to make sure our government acts in a consistent way and removes the double standards that it has in its foreign policy.
We went to war with Iraq over weapons of mass destruction, we've donít nothing to condemn the nuclear weapons programme of the Israeli government - we should be condemning it. If we want to genuinely bring peace in the Middle-East we should stop selling arms to Israel. My union demands that.
If United Nations resolutions are important as they were over Iraq then we should be demanding that the Israelis abide by the United Resolutions and withdraw to the 1967 boundaries.
And if international law is so important then we demand that the rights of the Palestinian people are recognised, and the International Court of Justice decision is recognised and the apartheid wall is brought down and destroyed - we demand it!
Victory to the Intifada! Isolate the Zionist State
I know in my Jewish heart its wrong[ To listen to audio need the Flash Player ]
Miriam Margolyes, British actress
I've been to Gaza and I've seen for myself the ghastly situation in which the Palestinians are living in, and I know in my heart, in my Jewish heart, I know its wrong and we have to stop it. And the only way to do that is for Jews in this country and all around the world to say itís wrong.
Price for a Palestinian head paid for my the US and delivered by Israel
We stand for a free country from the Jordan river to the Mediterranean sea, where all people can live in dignity and equality[ To listen to audio need the Flash Player ]
George Galloway, Respect Party MP
Its not just enough of 40 years of occupation, it is enough of talking about 40 years of occupation. Action speaks louder than worlds and we must now move on to the phase of action.
First we must demand unequivocally the release of the hero prisoner Marwan Barghouti, and all of the Palestinian political prisoners. They are not terrorists; we do not equate the violence of the occupier and the aggressor with the violence of the resister to Israeli occupation and violence.
Secondly if Israel is an apartheid state, as Dr. Barghouti, told us today, she must be treated as an apartheid state. No decent person during apartheid South Africa would have dreamt of buying the produce of apartheid South Africa. No decent person should trade with, talk with, do to academic conferences with any part of the apartheid state of Israel.
Lastly, 27 years ago I was responsible for twinning my city of Dundee with the Palestinian town of Nabulas. We became the first public building in the whole of the western world to fly the Palestinian flag from the city hall. And 27 years later, its still flying. Its time to step up the twinning campaigns. Every hospital, every college, every university, every church, every mosque, every mass organisation can twin with a Palestinian organisation and make the world here spoken in to practical reality.
Its time for action, not words. We stand with the right of all the Palestinian people to return to their homes and their lands. We stand for a free country from the Jordan river to the Mediterranean sea, where all people can live in dignity and equality.
Israel's Apartheid Wall - The wall must fall
If we can't get action from our government, then we must take action ourselves in the form of boycotts[ To listen to audio need the Flash Player ]
Jenny Tonge, Baroness (House of Lords)
Having been sacked from the front bench of my party for my remarks about Palestinians some time ago, I'm now glad to tell you that within the Liberal Democrats officially there is an organisation called Friends of Palestine.
I am sick of being accused of anti-Semitism when what I am doing is criticising Israel and the state of Israel. We must not be deflected. But what we must also do is start taking action instead of just talking. And if we can't get action from our government on the trade agreement; if we can't get action from our government to stop selling arms to Israel and to stop buying their arms, well then we must take action ourselves in the form of boycotts.
Letís see boycotts of Israeli goods, letís see boycotts by academics, boycotts by my own profession - the doctors, boycotts by the trade unionists. Support them all. Lets us take action, don't lets wait for our governments!
World's #1 Terrorist - Bush
Palestinian homes were being pulled down because there werenít any permits, and through the rubble and dust I could see Har Homa [illegal settlement] with its permission for another 1000 units..[ To listen to audio need the Flash Player ]
Emily Thornberry, MP
I went to the rest of the West Bank, the last time I'd been there had been 20 years ago, and I didn't recognise it. There are walls, there are barriers, there are fences, there are road blocks, and you cannot get around, and the economy is completely crushed. And you look at it and you see more settlements. I went to Har Homa, which is this beautiful settlement - it even has a skyscraper - its extraordinary, and you can buy one of the flats - if you go to Alexandra Palace, there was recently [18 March 2007] a show there, you could buy a holiday home there. But its illegal, its built on Palestinian land, it is getting in the way of peace and it should not be there!
Real Estate website advert for a penthouse in the illegal settlement of Har Homa. An interactive real-estate map of Israel on the same website doesn't even show the Gaza Strip or the West Bank - every inch is shown as Israeli real-estate territory!
Har Homa has just been given permission for another 1000 units. And I went down the road, and I went to the Palestinian village, and I saw there were houses, they were being pulled down because there werenít any permits for the Palestinian homes. And through the rubble and through all the dust I could see Har Homa shinning in the distance with its permission for another 1000 units - illegal and getting in the way of peace..
Palestinian woman sitting on the rubble of her demolished home
Support Palestine - wear the Palestinian football strip
Upcoming Campaigns[ To listen to audio need the Flash Player ]
Betty Hunter, PSC Chair, talks briefly on upcoming campaigns:
- Free Gaza Campaign: Breaking the siege of Gaza by sailing a boat in to Gaza city
- Demonstrate against Israeli football team coming to Britain (8th September)
- Support Palestinian youth football team coming to Britain in August
Standing up for Palestine - young and old, black and white, men and women
No independence is possible as long as it sustains itself through the occupation, oppression, and humiliation of others[ To listen to audio need the Flash Player ]
Nataníl Silverman, Combatants for Peace, (introduced by Alexi Sayle)
[Members of Combatants for Peace] asked themselves the same question: How could it be possible to keep on living a life where one side is an occupier and the other side occupied?
Each one of the Israeli members in our group had reached a point where they dared to doubt and questions the truths they were raised upon and managed to see that their existence as occupiers of another people is a terrible, terrible thing. They managed to see the crack deeply engraved on the flag they were taught to salute, and the stain spread all over the slogan of the Jewish independent state because they understood that no independence is possible as long as it sustains itself through the occupation, oppression, and humiliation of others.
Alexi Sayle, comedian and writer, introduces
Israeli refusnik Nataníl Silverman
A reminder on Israel's crimes
I went to Palestine - nothing can prepare you for the experience [ To listen to audio need the Flash Player ]
Alison Shephard, President Trade Union Congress (TUC)
I was part of the delegation from the TUC that went to Israel and Palestine in January this year, and like so many people say, nothing can prepare you for the experience. We were there for only a very short time, to see the patience and incredible fortitude of the Palestinian people.
The situation is bad and getting worse. Unemployment in Palestine is over 70%, poverty is significant, and the population as a whole is humiliated by the collective punishment of the wall and the roadblocks. The economy in Palestine is failing because of the restrictions on travel caused by the roadblocks. The disruptions to the farms and the water supply, caused by the wall. The withholding of the tax revenues by the Israeli government, and the aid by the EU and others, is crippling the Palestinian public services like health and education..
Zionist counter demo
Along the route, the zionists had set up a counter demonstration - despite teaming up with Christian zionists, they could only muster a very small group.
At one point a zionist woman grabbed her little boy, crossed the road to our side, and proceeded to walk through our demonstration in the opposite direction provocatively waving an Israeli flag. She clearly wished to provoke an incident - hoping for news headline like "Jewish mun and young son attacked by pro-Palestinian mob". She was visibly disappointed when no one took the bait. The police were less than 30 metres away - poor policing..
"Hebron Now & Forever" (in hebrew)
Apart from the usual banners accusing us of anti-Semitism, a chilling Jewish Defence League(JDL) top was visible with the words "Hebron Now & Forever".
After the Hebron massacre of 1984, in which mass murdered Baruch Goldstein slaughtered 29 defenceless Arab worshippers in the Ibrahimi Mosque, his followers in the JDL came up with the slogan "Hebron Now & Forever" in support of the illegal colonisation of Hebron by fanatical settlers. JDL car bumper stickers, caps and t-shirts all carry the slogan. The FBI have categorically labelled the JDL as a "right-wing terrorist group" after they were caught about to blow up a Mosque in Culver City, California in 2001.
Settlers Attack ChildrenJewish settlers have attacked a group of schoolchildren near the West Bank city of Hebron. Residents of the Havat Maon settlement threw stones, cement blocks and empty bottles at about 20 schoolchildren.. One settler also commanded his dog to attack the group.. The children were aged between six and 11.
The illegal settler movement in Hebron has a particularly vile reputation for racist attacks against the Arabs of the city.
Their chief Rabbi Dov Lior (Hebron and Kiryat-Arba) has even issued a religious decree ordering Jewish settlers to poison the livestock and water wells owned by Arabs. Not a single day passed without Palestinians finding dead sheep and poisoned water. [More..]
Palestinian children and their mothers are regularly stoned by settlers on their way to school.
A Palestinian mother in Hebron, Samar Abdul-Shafti, is kicked by a Jewish boy while a Jewish woman rips off her Islamic headscarf.(Aug, 2003).
School children in Hebron on their way to school - after being stoned by Israeli settlers, they are then humiliated by the Israeli army with intrusive searches.(20 Nov, 2005).
To illustrate the racism that Palestinians in Hebron have to live with every single day, we have included a few example of common graffiti found daubed on Arab homes in Hebron. The photographs were taken by a "Christian Peacemakers Team" that visited Hebron in May 2002. Please visit their website for more example of such graffiti:
"Arabs to the gas chambers!" signed "JDL" - Jewish Defence League
Threats of rape spray painted on the wall of a Palestinian home - "Watch out Fatima - We will rape all Arab women!"
Stars of David with the words "Kill Arabs"
"Exterminate the Muslims!"
"Die Arab Sand-Niggers!"
My motherís house, is my motherís house - it can never become a zionist place[ To listen to audio need the Flash Player ]
Dr Azzam Tamimi, Palesinian academic, director of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought.
When my town Hebron was occupied in 1967 I was 12 years old, and I was in Kuwait with my parents. I saw my father weep all night, he wept all night not just because Hebron had been taken away, but because he never expected this tiny zionist colonial entity to defeat three Arab countries, three Arab armies, take the Golan Heights, take the Sinai, take Gaza, and take the West Bank! He was so upset, that his hero of Arab nationalism had let him down.
As for my mother, it was a completely different situation. It took me years to understand how my mother felt, because my mother was not from Hebron, my mother was from Beersheba from Beer al-Sabe, occupied 19 years earlier by the zionists who came from Europe, who were aided by the leaders of this country in order to rape by people, and turn them in to refugees.
When Dr. Mustafa Barghouti says "Something must be wrong", I say yes of course - Israel is wrong! Israel is what is wrong!
Now I do appreciate all this sympathy, all the support we the Palestinians get from all of you, but let me tell you this equivocally, clearly, don't tell us what to accept and what not to accept. Don't teach us what is our right, and what is not our right. For my motherís house, is my motherís house. It can never become a zionist place. What is wrong is Israel, you have to tell the truth, what is this nonsense about accepting a racist entity that considers us sub-human, whilst they see themselves as super-human.
And let me let you, this is not a conflict between the Muslims and the Jews. The dearest of people to me are our friends standing there [pointing to the Rabbis of the Neturei Karta] from Neturei Karta, they walked all the way here to be with us. Because this is not about religion, this is not about whether this land belongs to them or to us, this is about what is right and what is wrong. Once we have accepted this. Once we have analysed and diagnosed correctly, then we can solve the problem. Don't ever be tempted to tell a lady who has jut been raped that it was okay for her to be raped. And my people have been raped, and rape cannot be accepted, the whole of Palestine will be free - from the sea to the river, from the north to the south, and the refugees will return, and I will go back to my motherís house. If I don't, I assure you my children will, my grandchildren will. One day we shall return!
The Neturei Karta have always rejected the zionist state as illegitimate.
The rabbis, in respect of their Sabbath, walked several miles to attend the rally.
Palestinians are living in a prison with the key to everything in their lives controlled by Israel. This is immoral![ To listen to audio need the Flash Player ]
Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate
Over 62 resolutions have been passed at the United Nations, including the right of return of refugees. And the International Court of Justice who has said the apartheid wall is illegal and must be demolished. So our question is, when we have all this legislation and law.. because this is a question - what is right and what is wrong?
It is wrong that the Palestinian people are abused, that they are living in like a prison with the key to everything in their lives is controlled by the Israeli government and Israeli military. This is wrong! This is immoral! This is unjust! This is unethical! And in our world today, as the human family we will not stand silent and allow the Israeli government supported by the American government, and the UK government to continue to abuse the rights of the Palestinian people. Occupation must end!
Something fundamentally wrong[ To listen to audio need the Flash Player ]
Dr Daud Abdullah, Muslim Council of Britain
The last 40 years have confirmed something that is fundamentally wrong with our foreign policy towards the Middle-East. It is wrong on two counts - wrong in its attitude towards the occupier, and wrong in its attitude towards the occupied. Towards the occupier it allowed him to continue the process of destruction, the process of repression, and the occupation for 40 years. This is wrong. And it was wrong to the occupied, because it coerced them; it blackmailed them; it threatened them in the name of democracy. And when they finally accepted and decided to vote for a government of their choice, we told them it is unacceptable. And what did we do? We imposed economic sanctions on them, so you have economic sanctions on the one hand and military occupation on the other. We say this is wrong, this is fundamentally wrong!
Would you accept for your daughters to climb walls, through barriers, through barbed wires to go to school? I'm sure you would say no.
Would you accept for your sisters and mothers to give birth at checkpoints? I'm sure you would say no.
Would you yourselves like to be caged in a canton and locked by a key held by a soldier, he opens it at 6 in the morning and closes it at 5 in the evening. No decent self respecting european - anybody on the face of the earth will not accept this condition, and Palestinians will not accept it!
Unheeded call from 40 years ago:[ To listen to audio need the Flash Player ]
"Holding on to the occupied territories will turn us in to a nation of murderers and murder victims"
Moshe Machover, Israeli sociaist dissident, Professor at Kings College London (Philosophy)
Two score years ago the first public announcement by Israelis against the occupation appeared as a paid advertisement in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. It was very brief, so I ask you to the gist of it. This is what it said:
Occupation entails foreign rule. Foreign rule entails resistance. Resistance entails repression. Repression entails terror and counter-terror. The victims of terror are mostly innocent people. Holding on to the occupied territories will turn us in to a nation of murderers and murder victims. Let us get out of the occupied territories immediately!
Well it has been too long, and the call which he made then is still valid, but it has taken too long. At the time we were few - only twelve people signed the declaration, now there are a few more. One of them has spoken here on behalf of Combatants for Peace. But these are not enough.
The occupation can only end when pressure is applied from outside. Who is going to apply this pressure? The United States is not going to apply the pressure because Israel is its rotwiller, Israel is its local enforcement - a junior partner in the Middle-East, it is a special relationship - Israel is the US rotwiller. The British government is not going to stop it because the British government is the poodle of the United States, this is another special relationship. So who is going to apply it? We are going to apply the pressure. Civil society, ordinary people apply pressure by applying boycott - by boycotting Israeli goods, and exports, by boycotting tourism to Israel, by boycotting academic institutions which are part of the machinery of oppression and torture. And then if enough are mobilised then the occupation will end. This by itself will not be a solution but it will open the road for a solution which is based on equal rights for all, on peace and justice.
Thatís just not good enough! [ To listen to audio need the Flash Player ]
Brian Iddon, MP (Bolton)
When ever I've been to see Tony Blair on a return from a visit to the Middle-East, from Palestine, he's sat and listened to me and others for half an hour, then at the end of the conversation the same expression nearly always comes out: "well its up to the Americans in the end, isn't it?" Well Tony thatís just not good enough!
What more does Israel have to do in its illegal activities before anything is done?[ To listen to audio need the Flash Player ]
Jeremy Corbyn, MP
I am old enough to have stood for years on demonstrations outside South Africa House. I remember all the rallies in this square when we condemned the apartheid regime and its murder of people through out South Africa, and we called for sanctions, we called for solidarity, and we called for unity, and yes eventually Mandela did walk free, the apartheid regime was overthrown. Many, many people died in that process, and it was primarily overthrown because of the bravery of people in South Africa, but international solidarity was an important factor in isolating that apartheid regime.
Over on my left there was a huge banner [see below] that had four messages on it. It showed a wall, it showed refugees, it showed settlements, and it showed prisoners. I did put this to a minister the other day: What more does Israel have to do in its illegal activities - assassinations, murders, construction of the wall, keeping the people imprisoned, arrestment and imprisonment of parliamentarians, before anything is done for any other country anywhere in the world to condemn them? Thatís the question I put.
And as a member of the British parliament I asked this question of the government. The European Union - Israel trade agreement has within it human rights clauses. Those human rights clauses require Israel to obey international law. It requires them not to abuse the human rights of the Palestinian people; it requires them not to build a wall in Palestine. They've done all of those things and more, yet the EU trade agreement goes on. The sale of goods illegally produced or produce grown in the Palestinian territories continues to be sold in British shops, in American shops, and through out Europe.
I want to see peace in the region, and I think we will see peace when Israel realises its got to make peace, and got to respect the Palestinian people, got to accept the existence of Palestine, free the prisoners, stop the wall building and give Palestine its money that it is illegally holding at the present time.
But itís also not up to western governments, the British one included, to second guess the democratic choices of the Palestinian people. I was an observer at the presidential election in Palestine, it was impeccably carried out, obsessive attention to the bureaucracy of election. It was a free and fair election. The parliamentary election, a little while later, was equally obsessively carried out, equally fair, equally democratic. It is up to us to respect that result - not to punish the Palestinian people by taking away their aid, thus creating unemployment, creating misery, creating discord.
We are here today because we ant to see justice for the Palestinian people, and every time I go to Palestine, ever time I go to Gaza, I get this feeling - a combination of quite complicated emotions - of sadness, of anger, of isolation. And going in to Gaza - talking to people in education, talking to people in the health service. 75% of the people of Gaza are suffering physical, mental depression. Is it surprising? When you are surrounded by guns, by watchtowers, by ships in the sea that will shoot you if you go in to the sea, by checkpoints you cannot pass through, and you are consigned to a life of poverty, a life of waiting for the food truck or the water supply to be turned on. That is no way to live. Is it surprising that young people get very angry? Is it surprising that young people want to have the same things that young people in the west want? The freedom to move about; the freedom to enjoy life; the freedom of association; the freedom of travel. For them travel is the internet, travel is the television, travel is the radio. But actually getting through those barriers, thatís a travel they canít take. But itís wrong, totally and absolutely wrong.
Our presence here today is our solidarity, is our determination to make our government change its policy, to make the US government change its policy, to make the European governments change their policies. Work for peace, work for justice, work for recognition, end the arms supply to Israel, end the economic priorities of Israel. Support, support, support the Palestinian people!
Glasgow Palestine Human Rights Campaign
Glasgow Palestine Human Rights Campaign
- a photo with the rabbis from the Neturei Karta
There were lots of stall at the rally. One that attracted our attention was a modest one run by the Glasgow Palestine Human Rights Campaign. They were selling small gift items purchased in the West Bank, and all proceeds from their sale were also bound for the refugee camps. Rather than try and explain all the good work they do, we have reproduced the following modest description from their website:
The GPHRC was formed early in 2003 after visiting the West Bank. On our time spent in the Refugee Camps and after conversations with various people living in the Camps we were shocked to see the poverty and injustices inflicted upon the Palestinian people by the Israeli Occupation Forces.
We made up our mind to fund a young girl from a Refugee Camp whose dream was to be a nurse but because of the occupation it was merely a dream for her. We also spent time in another Refugee Camp who felt completely isolated from the whole world as the Israeli Occupation Forces would seal off all entry points to their Camp and carry out their military operations. We were asked if there was any way we could supply them with digital cameras so they could at least take photographs of the Israeli operations and put them on the internet so the world could see. It was their way of fighting the occupation with words and pictures and also teaching the children that yes there were ways of fighting the occupation.
This is why the Campaign was set up.
Our 3 aims of the Campaign are:-
1. To highlight what the Israeli Occupation Forces are doing to the Palestinian people.
2. To fundraise for the Palestinian people
3. To actually get people over to the Refugee Camps and live and work with the people in them.
Our Campaign now funds 5 students in various Refugee Camps throughout the West Bank. We pay all their costs through University.
We also fund 7 children's groups in several Refugee Camps. At present because there is no money going back to Palestine we are funding the costs of rent, electricity etc.
Also lately we have been funding people who need operations and cannot afford them.
ONE HUNDRED PER CENT of all monies collected with our Campaign goes back to the above. No money comes out for any reason whatsoever.
We also visit Palestine 3 or 4 times a year visiting the people we fund and also working for the Peace Movement in Palestine.
We know every person we fund personally and can vouch for all monies going over to the Refugee Camps.
They have an on-line shop selling items sourced in the West Bank, and proceeds from the sales goes back to the refugee camps. Please visit it, there are lots of gift ideas all at very reasonable prices:http://www.gphrc.org/Gifts.html
A souvenir for a young girl who couldn't come to the demo.
The beautiful beaded Palestine flag pendant was made my Palestinian children in Hebron. The whole necklace was priced at a bargain £3. The good people at GPHRC source most of their goods from Palestine and all money raised from the sale is ploughed back in to the refugee camps.
Page URL: http://www.inminds.co.uk/enough.occupation.9.june.2007.php