By Socialist Worker journalists
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2899

200,000 march in London on Palestine Land Day

Plus: US gives green light to more arms for terror state, Israel expands ‘no-go area’ for Palestinians 
Issue 2899
Palestine protest 30 March. Huge crowd with Palestine flags

Palestine solidarity in Trafalgar Square (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Around 200,000 people joined a march for Palestine in London on Saturday. 

While smaller than some of the biggest marches, it was still huge. It was bigger than the one on 9 December or 14 October, for example—and showed it was right to take to the streets despite Ramadan and Easter.

And sizeable demonstrations took place at the same time in other parts of Britain, including 1,000 people in Leeds, 300 in Cardiff and 400 in Halifax.

Hardly anyone on the march thought the recent United Nations (UN) ceasefire resolution would make much difference. But some people think it’s worth campaigning for its implementation.

Martin, a health worker, said, “Even if it doesn’t happen, it’s worth pushing for our politicians to turn words into action. International law is weak, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use it.” 

But other marchers think the focus on the UN takes the movement in the wrong direction. Hafsa from west London said, “The UN is camouflage, it takes our attention away from the reality of martyrdom and suffering in Gaza. We shouldn’t be drawn into seeing it as crucial.”

Lots of people on the march were wrestling with how to make the movement more effective—and how to use their vote to make an impact.

Everyone thinks the big marches are crucial to build confidence and show the immense scale of support for Palestine. But many protesters want to hit Israel and its British backers even harder. 

Giana from London, who was on her second demo, said, “I support the direct action of groups like Palestine Action. Shutting arms factories is key to the movement winning. We need to keep mobilising for each protest, pulling new people into the movement. 

“Voting out the Israel-backing politicians is a start to hold them to account, but we can’t wait until the elections. We need to call them out and protest at their offices.”

Sarah, who’s been on at least five of the national demonstrations, has always been a Labour voter but will find it very difficult to back Labour at the election. She told Socialist Worker, “These big protests have to go hand in hand with boycotts, calling for sanctions and supporting direct action. 

“The trade unions have been slow to move, they need to be pushed by members to do more to mobilise. Our political parties are a disgrace for backing Israel— and people will remember. 

“Joe Biden is Binyamin Netanyahu’s obedient lap dog. He might bark and appear to be calling for Israel to slow down its killing. But he knows he’s not being listened to and keeps arming Israel’s genocide.”

Abbie told Socialist Worker that she had been to five national Palestine demonstrations—and ones in north London. “The local demos are important,” she said. “I’ve been on ones after work that have been really big. I think they keep the movement going.

She added, “It’s surprising to me that things aren’t more militant already seeing the destruction in Gaza. I’m not against protests that aren’t so peaceful.” 

Maureen and Lucy had travelled from Oxfordshire. Maureen said she wasn’t hopeful about the recent UN resolution on a ceasefire making any difference. “For me the UN works as it’s supposed to,” she said. 

“Powerful countries such as the US and Britain can veto or the US can say the resolution wasn’t legally binding. The way things are set up means that these resolutions won’t make a difference.” 

Lucy added that in Oxfordshire there are almost nightly actions and events for Palestine. “There’s still lots going on all the time. We aren’t stopping,” she said. 

Fatima added that, after almost six months since 7 October, going to national protests is more important than ever. “We need to keep going not just for Palestine but for unity,” she said. 

“Our government has been trying to divide us to demonise Muslims. But here on these protests we are one and we have a shared goal.

“Our government makes me sick. They don’t care that people are being forced to rely on food banks, they don’t care about nurses’ pay yet they’ll fund more war.”

Fatima added that she’ll find it hard to vote for Labour. “I’m disgusted by Labour as well,” she said. “I did like Jeremy Corbyn, he’s the only person I’ve ever really wanted to vote for. But I’m not sure they’ll ever let someone like him be a leader of the party again.”

The march showed the feeling to keep fighting in solidarity with Palestine. Let’s have another national demonstration in mid-April, and not wait.


Palestine activists’ calendar
  • Palestine and the Unions—The Next Steps for the Movement, online meeting, Thu 18 April, 6.30pm. Contact [email protected] for details and Zoom link.
  • Workplace day of action, Wed 1 May.

Solidarity in Manchester

“The more you try to silence us the louder we will be” Hundreds of protesters gathered outside HOME, an arts centre in Manchester.

The venue recently cancelled the Voices of Resilience event intended to showcase Gazan writing.

HOME claim it is politically neutral, yet it has a record of supporting the work of those who face discrimination. False claims of antisemitism have been made against one of the writers involved.

Palestinians took the stage to speak of their experiences. We chanted “from the river to the sea” in solidarity with Masa Khawaja who was arrested for these words.

Celia in Manchester


How many demos have people been on? 

Socialist Worker’s survey of the London demonstration showed a similar pattern to previous recent marches. New people are still joining the movement in large numbers, and there is a big and determined core of those who have been on all, or almost all, of the national marches in London.

We asked marches how many of these mobilisations they have attended: 

First demo: 15 percent

Second demo: 9 percent

Third demo: 6 percent

Fourth demo: 7 percent

Fifth demo: 6 percent

Sixth demo: 6 percent

Seventh demo: 7 percent

Eighth demo: 8 percent

Ninth demo: 12 percent

Tenth demo: 12 percent

Eleventh demo: 13 percent


Big march in Denmark

Some 15-20,000 joined a march for Palestine in Copenhagen, Denmark. Charlie from Denmark reports, “The biggest demo since October has been 70,000 and there have been one of 50,000 and 30,000. 

“But there have been demos at least twice a week since the start of this year—and before that every day.

“This week’s was a big mobilisation, even if a little less than some. And the feeling, radicalisation and liveliness are still there.”


Land Day commemorates Israeli massacre 

The day of the demo, 30 March, marked Palestine Land Day. It’s the anniversary of the day in 1976 when Israel killed six people protesting over the theft of Palestinian territory.

The protesters in 1976 were resisting Israeli expropriation of swathes of Palestinian land in the Galilee—an area of historic Palestine now in northern Israel.

The land seized by the Israeli government was used to build several new Israeli villages and an army training camp. It was part of a policy the state then referred to as “Judaisation” of the Galilee.

On 30 March 2018 the Great Return March began—a campaign of weekly demonstrations demanding the right of return for Palestinian refugees. This form of resistance continued for 20 months.

Israel security forces—mostly snipers—killed at least 223 Palestinians, 46 of them under the age of 18, and injured 8,079 with live fire.


US gives green light to more arms for Israel 

Despite handwringing over the brutality of the assaults on Gaza, the US has just authorised shipments of billions of dollars worth of bombs and fighter jets to Israel.

The new arms packages include more than 1,800 MK84 2,000-pound bombs and 500 MK82 500-pound bombs.

The 2,000-pound “blockbuster” bombs leave craters 40 feet in length and kill and maim people up to 1,200 feet away, over an area equivalent to 58 soccer fields.

Such armaments are exactly the type of weapons Israel will use if it goes ahead with its ground offensive on Rafah or its “mopping up” operations elsewhere. 

In just the first two months of the war, Israel dropped over 25,000 tons of bombs on Gaza, equivalent to nearly twice the yield of the nuclear bomb dropped over Hiroshima in 1945.

The decision on weapons follows a visit to Washington by Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant this week. Gallant stressed the importance of US ties to his country’s armed forces and maintaining Israel’s “qualitative military edge” in the region, including its air capabilities.

If Biden cut off those supplies Israel could not keep up its assaults. About 70 percent of its arms imports come from the US and 25 percent from Germany.


Israel expands ‘no-go area’ for Palestinians 

Israel is expanding a “buffer zone” in Gaza adjacent to the famine-enforcing, siege-imposing border fence This significantly expands the area declared by the army as a Palestinian no-go zone before the war. 

Israeli newspaper Haaretz said the army had appointed a project director to push through the project. Upon completion, it will cover almost a fifth of the Gaza Strip.

This comes alongside a second project that seeks to cut Gaza into two parts and allow the army “to control traffic on strategic roads, which are at the core of negotiations with Hamas,” the newspaper said.

“These two projects—the buffer zone and the control corridor—together imply that the Israeli army is preparing for a long-term presence in the Strip,” it added.

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