28 November 2012

Reporting for Arabstoday

Hundreds of Brits take to the streets to voice anger at Israel

Hundreds of Brits take to the streets to voice anger at Israel

London - Julie Cordier
Hundreds of activists took to the streets in front of the Israeli embassy on Thursday night, in protest against the Israeli offensive on Gaza, which claimed the lives of at least 23 Palestinians. As demonstrators gathered in front of the Israeli embassy in High Street Kensington chanting  “Free, free Palestine”, a much smaller group of supporters of Israel gathered on the opposite side of the road.

A human shield of police officers protected the entrance to the Israeli embassy to prevent protesters from penetrating the building. An impressive number of police officers were summoned on duty to contain any hostilities between the pro-Palestinian and the pro-Israeli camps.

The crowd of protesters brandished Palestinian flags and banners bearing the slogan “Israel: criminal”.

Khadija Hasan, from the Gaza Project charity, proudly waved a banner against Israel. She told Arabstoday that she has left Gaza to work in London while her husband remains in the Strip: “To respond with tanks and F16s against homemade rockets is disproportionate - I live in Gaza, I know what these rockets look like, kids can carry them. Hamas had asked for a truce when Jabari was killed. Israel knew exactly what they were going to do; this has been planned for a long time.

“The growth of anger against Israel now is coming from the understanding that people will not listen to mainstream media. Israel is not trying to defend itself; Israel is trying to steal more land. That’s all it is. They’ve already killed children and a pregnant woman. This is not war, this is massacre.”

The protest - organised by the “Stop the War Coalition” association - attracted more than 1,000 people to High Street Kensington.

In an interview with Arabstoday, political activist and author John Rees said that Israel is a danger to the whole of the Middle East: “Jabari was, at the time, involved with serious peace negotiations with the Israeli state in order to reach a long term truce. It tells you a great deal about the Israeli leaders who chose to assassinate this person at this time.”

Marvin, spokesman for the Zionist Federation, claimed that Israel is only defending its citizens: “This is a war; there’s no other way to describe it. Israel is only protecting its citizens in the south of Israel as any responsible government would do.”

British Foreign Secretary William Hague strongly sided with Israel on Thursday. He said: "Hamas bears principal responsibility for the current crisis. I utterly condemn rocket attacks from Gaza into southern Israel by Hamas and other armed groups. Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza should cease attacks against Israel immediately.
“These events underline once again the fragility of the situation and the urgent need for progress toward a two state solution which allows Israelis and Palestinians to live alongside each other in peace and security. Britain will do all it can to support such progress and an urgent resumptions of negotiations."


This story was published on Arabstoday.net on 16-11-2012

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