Thousands of pro-Palestine protesters marched in central London on Saturday to mark 75 years since the creation of the Israeli apartheid state. Israel’s foundation saw nearly one million Palestinians systematically expelled from their land.
To Palestinians that expulsion is known as the Nakba—or catastrophe. Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign which organised the march said it was, “to say to the Palestinians ‘you are not alone’ and to demand an end to all British complicity with the ongoing Nakba.”
The Nakba was not a one-off event. Fundamental injustice continues today. Last week the Israeli army destroyed a school in Jubbet Ad Dhib village in the West Bank.
Amber, who was on Saturday’s demonstration, is an NEU union member from Bristol. She had previously visited the school site.
“After the demolition, the community put up tents where the school was to teach the children. The Israeli army took the tents as well,” she said.
“We had raised money for a computer room in the school and more equipment. The Israeli army took away everything from inside the school.”
“Their school was a safe space for those students, and it keeps being taken away. And it’s not just in Jubbet Ad Dhib. More than 60 schools are at risk of being destroyed by the Israeli state.
“We must keep fighting to say that education is a right everywhere.”
But Amber added that the people of Jubbet Ad Dhib would continue to rebuild the school despite the repression from the Israeli state.
Zarina from Newham in east London told Socialist Worker, “The bombing by Israeli forces continues in Gaza. And Britain is complicit. It still sells arms to Israel.
“In September, one of the world’s biggest arms-selling events will be held in London, the DSEI arms fair. Israeli companies will be there hoping to sell their military tech. These companies say these products are tried and tested. They were tested on Palestinians.”
Matt from Bath Friends of Palestine said that the rightward shift of the Israeli government will mean more misery for Palestinians. “The government is giving the settler movement confidence. They will feel more able to commit violence and demolish Palestinian homes without impunity,” he said.
Trade union banners on the demonstration included several from the NEU union. Activists from Stop the War, Friends of Al-Aqsa, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Just Stop Oil were there.
But there was just one Labour Party banner, and other activists voiced their anger at the party’s purge of those who support Palestine.
One ex-Labour member on the demonstration told Socialist Worker the leadership expelled her for pro-Palestinian views. She still argued for party members to stay and fight to wwin back Labour.
Matt had a different opinion. “Keir Starmer has betrayed the Palestinians and also those who support them,” he said.
Protesters marched to Downing Street where they held a rally. Jamal closed the day by pledging, “We will never stop struggling until Palestine is free.”
Zarina said it’s important to remember Palestinians’ resistance. “They struggle every day, but the strikes and protests of 2021 really showed how it’s possible to fight back against Israeli apartheid.”
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