LONDON: Activists gathered outside the Israeli Embassy in London on Wednesday to demand an end to Israel’s ongoing violence against Palestinians.
“Today’s action follows Israel’s barbaric attack on the Jenin refugee camp earlier this week, in which Israel attacked the refugee camp by ground and air in the biggest assault on the occupied West Bank since 2002,” said Friends of Al-Aqsa, a UK-based nongovernmental organization that campaigns to preserve the rights of Palestinians and protect Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Ismail Patel, its founder and chairperson, said: “What we’ve witnessed this week is another grim episode in Israel’s relentless brutality against Palestinians.”
His group organized the demonstration in collaboration with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Palestinian Forum in Britain, the Stop the War Coalition, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and the Muslim Association of Britain.
Twelve Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were killed during the two-day, large-scale Israeli military operation that targeted the Jenin camp in the occupied West Bank this week.
“Israel’s murder of 12 Palestinians in Jenin, including four children, demonstrates the apartheid state’s persistent barbarity,” Friends of Al-Aqsa said.
“Today, we’ve gathered to demand an end to this. We’re calling for sanctions on Israel and recommitting our efforts to standing up for Palestinians by urging everyone to email their MPs to oppose the dangerous ‘anti-BDS bill.’”
The statement was referring to the boycott, divestment and sanctions bill, which had its second reading in Parliament on Monday. If passed, it will make it illegal for public bodies to boycott and divest from countries, such as Israel, or businesses they consider complicit in human rights abuses and violations of international law.
“The recent vote on the ‘anti-BDS bill’ undermines the core values of freedom of speech and human rights advocacy in the UK,” Patel said.
“The second reading of this legislation has revealed its true intention: To stifle valid criticism of Israel’s apartheid policies and intimidate those who support the peaceful BDS movement against injustice.
“We must recognize that if this legislation had been in place during South African apartheid, local councils would not have been able to play their critical role in ending that injustice.”
He urged the public to contact their MPs and demand that they vote against the “harmful and antidemocratic legislation.”