End the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians

CAMPAINGERS including MPs, trade unionists and public figures assembled in Westminster on Saturday 18th May to protest outside Parliament against the continuing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

The protest marked the 65th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) and called on the British government to end the continuing American-backed Israeli assault on the human rights of Palestinians.

Palestinian flags flew next to Parliament as speaker after speaker called for an end to ethnic cleansing.

The protest was chaired by Palestine Solidarity Campaign chair Hugh Lanning and vice chair Kamel Hawwash, who is Palestinian. Hawwash, said:

“We will not rest until all Palestinians are free; until they have equal rights.”

MP Jeremy Corbyn reminded everyone that marking the Nakba — Palestinian catastrophe — is important because: “Speaking out all around the world has changed perceptions of the Palestinian people and what Israel is doing.”

Andy Slaughter MP, Vice- Chair of Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East (LFPME), which has a third of the Parliamentary Labour Party’s support said: “We are here to commemorate the most important date, the Nakba: Palestinians continue the fight to return. And the fight for an independent Palestinian state.

“Whether you are a Bedouin living in the Negev or Jordan Valley threatened with expulsion; whether you are living in the West Bank in communities subject to home demolition, settler violence and destruction of agricultural land — this is the on-going Nakba.”

“We hope this won’t always be the most important date. That the most important date will become the date when a free and prosperous Palestinian state is established.”

PSC Patron and former MP, John Austin, told protestors: “In the Palestinian village of Susiya in the West Bank I met a man the same age as me — 68 or 69 — born before the state of Israel, living on land his family had owned before the state of Israel. His presence is now described as a threat to ‘Israeli security’ — a farmer tending his land.

“Now his land has been declared a ‘rifle range’ and he is expected to leave. This is the ongoing Nakba.”

Aaron Kiely from NUS Black students said “The NUS is now passing policy to support Palestine, whereas past presidents used to visit Tzipi Livni for tea whilst she called for the bombing of Gaza.”

Hugh Lanning told the gathered supporters: “This Wednesday we handed in a letter to Downing Street with our demands — what we need our Government to do.

“We buy Arms from Israel; we fund the Occupation; we allow illegal settlement goods on sale .That all must change. It is our generation’s challenge to stop Israel getting away with what it is doing every single day.”

The protest was supported by a wide range of organisations including Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine (APJP), the train drivers union Aslef, the British Muslim Initiative (BMI), Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Communication Workers’ Union, Fire Brigades Union, Friends of Al Aqsa UK, General Union of Palestinian Students UK (GUPSUK), Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions UK (ICAHD UK), Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JFJFP), and many others.