More than 1,000 people protested outside the Israeli embassy in West London today, Saturday, against Israel's deadly new attacks on the Gaza strip.
The protest was called at just a few days notice by Palestine Solidarity Campaign and backed by Stop the War Coalition and Friends of Al Aqsa among others.
The diverse crowd included many young Muslims fasting for Ramadan. Student Sadia Lira told Socialist Worker, “There is never any mention in the mainstream media when things happen to Palestinians. When I come here and protest I can get my voice heard. What's happening in Palestine is ethnic cleansing, it's so unjust.”
Israel began airstrikes on Gaza following the killing of three young Israelis in the West Bank, where they lived as part of an illegal Israeli settlement.
Gaza is a poor and densely populated area that has been under seige by Israel since the end of military occupation in 2005, making it effectively the world's largest open air prison.
There was a lot of anger at the skewed coverage in the media, particularly the BBC.
Pensioner John Lloyd said, “Israeli kills so many Palestinian children, but all the focus is on the three Israelis. Of course those deaths are tragic, but what about the Palestinians? If they are mentioned at all it is as collateral damage.”
Hamas, the Islamist faction that effectively runs the Gaza strip since it was elected in 2007, and Fatah, which controls the Palestinian Authority in the larger West Bank, have recently committed to working together.
Israel blames the settlers' deaths on Hamas. But protester Salah Mohamed-Mariche wasn't convinced.
“If Hamas had done it they would say so,” he told Socialist Worker. “Israel don't like it when Fatah and Hamas get together. They want to stop the peace deal because they don't want to see Palestine united.”
There were other protests in towns around Britain, including Glasgow where 200 people rallied in Buchanan Street.
In London, the protest began behind fences across the street from the embassy. But after a group of activists staged a symbolic “die-in” at the embassy entrance, others followed chanting “Free Free Palestine,” forcing police to close the road.