Thursday, May 25, 2006

Justice for peace in Palestine

THOUSANDS of friends and supporters of Palestine braved the wet and windy weather last Saturday to march from the Thames Embankment, via Parliament Square, to Trafalgar Square for a rally calling for an end to the illegal Israeli occupation of the Palestinian homeland. The event was organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Association of Palestinian Community, Palestinian Return Centre, British Muslim Initiative, Friends of Al-Aqsa and the Palestinian Forum in Britain.
It was supported by: Just Peace UK, Muslim Association of Britain, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Pax Christi, Stop the War Coalition, Campaign for Freedom and Justice for Samar and Jawad, War on Want, Arab Media Watch and major British trade unions. These included public sector union Unison, the National Union of Journalists and the lecturers’ union Natfhe.
Placards and banners on the march demanded: “Stop starving Palestinians” – a reference to the current Israeli economic blockade of Palestine – and called for justice for the Palestinian people.
Professor Manual Assassian, the man who would be the Palestinian ambassador to Britain if Palestine was recognised as a country, addressed the rally. He said that 70 percent of Palestinians were living below the poverty line in a totally gloomy, desperate, desolate and unpredictable environment. The western world preaches democracy and the rule of law but when the Palestinians practice democracy, it reneges.
Other speakers included Green Party MEP Caroline Lucas – who called on the British government to reject Israel’s illegal and immoral occupation – and Baroness Jenny Tonge.
Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn told the rally: “We are here today because we believe that peace can only come about through justice for the Palestinian people. Wars like the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and occupations only benefit those who sell arms.
“The losers are the dispossessed in the Middle East region. Peace will not come about through another insane conflict against the people of Iran. Peace and security will only come through recognising the rights of others on the planet.”
The demonstrators were also addressed by speakers from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Palestinian Forum in Britain, the Palestinian Community in Britain, Friends of Al Aqsa and Jews for Justice for Palestine.