LONDON: Pro-Palestine and anti-war advocacy groups in the UK will protest outside Downing Street on Saturday against Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people.
While Prime Minister Boris Johnson is away for the annual G7 summit, protesters and speakers including former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn will rally against Israel’s “systematic discrimination against the Palestinian people,” which they say amounts to “the crime of apartheid under international law.”
Groups including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and Friends of Al-Aqsa will demand sanctions on Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians, which Human Rights Watch this year officially branded “apartheid.”
The protest follows 11 days of fighting in Gaza last month in which 248 Palestinians died, thousands were wounded and many more left without homes. About 10 people were also killed in Israel.
Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, told Arab News: “Although Israel is not currently bombarding the Gaza Strip, its regime of systematic discrimination against the Palestinian people, which amounts to the crime of apartheid, continues.
“We must continue to mobilize for justice by protesting, lobbying and taking direct action. We must keep up the pressure on our government until it acts against Israel’s violations of international law, through the placing of sanctions, a ban on settlement trade and an arms embargo,” he said.
The protest will take place as leaders from the G7 nations — the US, UK, France, Italy, Japan, Germany and Canada, as well as a representative from the EU — meet to discuss pressing global issues such as climate change.
Rights groups have criticized the role that Britain and other Western powers play in upholding the status quo in the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as for supplying Israel with weaponry that is then used against Palestinians.
PSC said in a statement: “Israeli apartheid can be sustained only because of the complicity of a range of governments, including those of the G7. The G7 includes the biggest suppliers of arms and military technology to the Israeli state, which are vital to enforce Israel’s regime of oppression.
“During this year’s G7 summit in Cornwall, international justice campaigners will come together to organize for a world based on justice and human rights. We’re joining them by taking to the streets to demand no more complicity with Israeli apartheid.”
Saturday’s protest outside the prime minister’s office will follow a number of demonstrations that took place during the intense fighting in Gaza. Those marches drew tens of thousands of people and were replicated in cities around the world.