Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Carrying the H&DPSC banner at last weekend’s national march in London.

Activities this weekend in support of a ceasefire in Gaza

A march and rally in Hastings town centre this weekend calling for a ceasefire in Gaza will be supported by three political parties as well as a host of religious and community groups. Nick Terdre reports.

The Ceasefire Now! march, organized by the Hastings & District Palestine Solidarity Group  (HDPSC), takes place on Sunday 21 January starting in Warrior Square Gardens from 2pm, followed by a unity rally in the town centre. There will be speakers from a range of groups including the Green Party, Liberal Democrats and the newly formed Hastings Independents, made up of former Labour councillors.

The focus of the event is on children as it marks the appalling milestone of over 10,000 children killed in Gaza since the start of Israel’s bombing campaign 104 days ago.

This, the HDPSC notes grimly, is more than the entire school population of Hastings.

There will also be speakers from the East Sussex Islamic Association, a vicar, a former Anglican Bishop, a representative of Jewish residents, an arts community representative and trade union representatives, as well as children from Hastings Mosque.

‘The breadth of community support demonstrates a cohesive feeling locally that the immense suffering of the Palestinian people is simply wrong and must end,’ said Katy Colley, HDPSC chair.

‘We have been astonished by the number of new members joining our group in the past three months. Every single event we put on – whether it’s a demonstration, talk or a film screening – attracts huge numbers. People across the community are distressed about what they are witnessing in real time and they want to do everything they can to stop it.’

This weekend’s events in Hastings include the Big Ride for Palestine on Saturday 20th, with a march leaving General Dynamics UK, Castleham Road TN38 9NJ at 11am and arriving at the PSC stall in Hastings town centre at 1pm. The stall will run from 12.00 noon until 2pm.

There will also be a session of making banners for Sunday’s march and rally starting at 12pm at the Hastings Mosque, 12 Mercatoria, Hastings TN38 0EB.

These activities form part of a national weekend of ‘ceasefire’ actions taking place in over 40 towns and cities up and down the country, says Colley. Last Saturday was the seventh national march calling for a ceasefire, attracting over 500,000 demonstrators.

Israel in court

Last week, Israel was brought before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague by South Africa for acts of genocide and breach of the 1948 Genocide Convention. The South African government called on the highest international court to bring forward emergency interim measures to prevent Israel from committing  further ‘acts of potential genocide’.

South Africa’s case was laid out in in an 84-page report ahead of the hearings.

So far over 25,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli bombardment and a ‘total siege’ which aid agencies say has brought on mass starvation and disease, leaving the entire 2.2m population in food crisis.

Nevertheless, speaking at a press conference following the hearings, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted they would not stop their deadly attacks, even if an interim order was granted by the ICJ: ‘No one will stop us, not The Hague, not the axis of evil and not anyone else.’

‘Gaza has become the defining issue of our times,’ said Colley. ‘It is a mark of where exactly you stand on human rights and international law. In Hastings, as around the country, communities appear more determined than ever to stand up for the sanctity of human life and the rights of all people to live in dignity, safety and freedom.’


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Posted 18:35 Friday, Jan 19, 2024 In: Campaigns

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