Thousands rally for an end to Israeli occupation
Organised by Enough! a coalition of over 50 charities, trade unions, and other campaign and religious groups, the rally included a number of prominent speakers including members of the Palestinian government, trade unionists, faith leaders and an Israeli refusnik.
Prime Minister Ismael Haniya delivered a video message to the crowd in which he said that although Israel had conquered the land it had failed to conquer the people.
He called for a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
Mustafa Barghouti, the Palestinian Authorities’ Minister of Information, addressed the rally calling for international support to the democratically elected government.
He compared the situation to apartheid South Africa stating and said that “Israel cannot be changed from within, there needs to be pressure from outside”.
He repeated for a boycott of Israel which was also upheld by several other speakers and demanded the release of Alan Johnston.
Bishop Riah Abu El Assal, the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, spoke of his belief in the ultimate victory of peace based on justice.
Bruce Kent of Pax Christi spoke of peace and praised Jews who campaign for justice for the Palestinians, and who formed a major part of the coalition. Netan’l Silverman, an Israeli member of Combatants for Peace, a group that forms dialogue between Palestinian and Israeli ex-combatants, praised their important work.
Several British politicians also called for an end to the occupation, including Jeremy Corbyn MP and Baroness Jenny Tonge – both patrons of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign – as well as Richard Burden MP, Emily Thornberry MP, George Galloway MP and Caroline Lucas MEP.
Alison Shepherd, President of the Trade Union Congress, highlighted the worsening economic situation, increased poverty, and the exploitation of Palestinian workers.
Jewish celebrities Alexei Sayle and Miriam Margolyes also addressed the rally by video message.
Other speakers also included Dr Daud Abdullah from the Muslim Council of Britain, Friends of al Aqsa’s chair Ismael Patel, Dr Azzam Tamimi and Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire.