'UK must condemn Israel': Protests in Edinburgh and Glasgow organised against Gaza massacre

Campaigners will protest in Edinburgh and Glasgow after Israeli troops killed 58 and injured thousands in Gaza

PROTESTS HAVE been organised by anti-war and pro-Palestinian campaigners in Glasgow, Edinburgh and London after Monday (14 May) saw Israeli troops launch their most fatal attack on Palestinians in four years.  

58 Palestinians were killed in the attack in Gaza on Monday by Israeli forces using snipers and other forms of deadly fire, and Palestinian officials say that around 2,700 more were injured. The massacre coincided with the controversial opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, previously based in Tel Aviv, and with the 70th anniversary of the Israeli Declaration of Independence.

For Palestinians, the anniversary marks the date of the ‘Nakba’, meaning ‘catastrophe’, which forced over 750,000 Palestinians from their homes in order to enable the establishment of the Israeli state. Palestinians were protesting on Monday as part of “the Great March of Return”, a mass mobilisation which began on 30 March.

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Israel has defended its decision to open fire on the demonstrators, stating that as many as 40,000 Palestinians, led by the Hamas government in Gaza, engaged in “violent riots” at the security fence at the Gaza border.

However, the UN has criticised Israeli’s actions, with high commissioner for human rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein stating on Tuesday that “those responsible for outrageous human rights violations must be held to account”.

Campaigners from Stop the War Coalition have organised protests to take place on Tuesday evening in London and Glasgow, while the Palestine Alliance will hold a demonstration in Edinburgh on Tuesday afternoon while a further march will take place in Glasgow on Saturday.

Sofiah MacLeod, chair of Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which is supporting the protest on Princes Street from 12 noon today, told CommonSpace that campaigners felt the international reaction to Israel’s attack had been so far insufficient.

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“Yesterday, as the US and Israeli governments celebrated the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, Palestinians were being picked off and murdered by Israeli snipers - as I write this 59 Palestinians were killed yesterday, almost 100 over the past few weeks with thousands maimed and injured,” MacLeod said.

“The lack of any serious condemnation and outrage at Israel's actions, or recognition of Palestinian rights to protest, to resist their oppressor, means that our only course of action must be to support and actively campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).

“We saw yesterday what Israel is capable of, we expect the same again today since there is not a single government, institution or body that is prepared to stop the Israeli government.”

MacLeod said it was essential for the Scottish Government to take a stronger stance on the issue, which she said it could do by “opposing the direct Edinburgh-Tel Aviv Israir Airlines air link set to operate this summer”.

“What is it going to take for the Scottish Government to stop welcoming representatives of the Israeli government to the Scottish Parliament, to stop endorsing Friends of Israel events and to support the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and stop their war crimes?” she added.

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The Stop the War Coalition has called on the UK Government to end its arms sales and condemned the US’s decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise it as the capital of Israel as a “deliberate provocation to the Palestinians who are forced to endure occupation, illegal settlement and brutal repression”.

Stop the War Convenor Lindsey German added: "This massacre should be immediately met with international condemnation and with protests in solidarity.

“We demand that Theresa May's government condemns the actions of Trump and Netanyahu in the strongest terms and that the British government stops all arms sales to Israel."

Protests will take place from 12pm on Tuesday on Princes Street, Edinburgh, from 5.30pm at Buchanan Steps in Glasgow, and from 5.30pm on Downing Street, London, and on Saturday at Buchanan Steps from 11.30am.

Picture courtesy of Muhammed Ashiq

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