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Over 8,000 attended the emergency ‘Rally for Jerusalem’ demonstration outside Downing Street yesterday [11 May]. This Saturday there will be an event in Hastings. Pic credit: Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Palestine solidarity group to hold rally against ‘Israeli violence and ethnic cleansing’

The Hastings & Rye Palestine Solidarity Group (HRPSG) will hold a rally this Saturday (15 May). It will be both a Nakba Day commemoration event and a protest against the brutal Israeli police violence against worshippers at Al Aqsa Mosque and the ongoing ethnic cleansing campaign in East Jerusalem, as they say.

HRPSC Chair Katy Colley said: ‘Every 15 May we commemorate “Nakba” Day, which is the Arabic word for ‘”catastrophe” and refers to the ethnic cleansing in 1948 of 750,000 Palestinians from their homes, never to be allowed to return.

‘The Nakba created a population in exile, despite their right of return being enshrined in international law. But the Nakba is not a thing of the past. Today, Palestinian families are still being evicted from their homes by the Israeli settler-colonialist regime.

“During the coronavirus crisis, 869 Palestinians have been made homeless as part of a systematic campaign to force out the Palestinian population. Now hundreds in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem are under threat of imminent eviction from homes they have lived in for decades.”

The proposed evictions in Sheikh Jarrah have attracted condemnation from around the world and last week the UN human rights office demanded Israel halt all forced evictions, saying they were ‘prohibited under international humanitarian law and may amount to a war crime’. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) also urged Israel to ‘respect freedom of expression and assembly, including of those who are protesting against the evictions, and to exercise maximum restraint in the use of force while ensuring safety and security in East Jerusalem.’

Now the Israeli court has delayed a decision on the proposed evictions until next month. But the UN’s call for restraint has gone unheeded, with brutal police attacks on peaceful protestors at Sheikh Jarrah and on worshippers at the Al Aqsa Mosque.

In the past week the Israeli police twice raided Al Aqsa during the month of Ramadan, the holiest time for Muslims, and, according to eyewitness reports, fired rubber bullets at men, women and children at prayer, let off tear gas canisters and sound grenades inside the mosque, wounding hundreds, including medics and journalists.

The first such attack was described by SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon as ‘reprehensible’ in a Tweet on Saturday 8 May – she is the only leader of any of the main UK political parties to make a statement on the assaults.

She wrote: ‘Attacking a place of worship at any time is reprehensible but attacking a mosque during Ramadan is utterly indefensible. It is also a violation of international law. Israel should heed calls to halt the violence immediately.’

Protestors at a rally held last week outside the Houses of Parliament.

These brutal assaults have prompted rallies in several cities across the UK, including in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Bradford, calling on political leaders to put pressure on Israel to respect Palestinian human rights. On Saturday 15 May, Hastings will join the hundreds of towns and cities across the globe staging protests against the ‘Nakba – past and present’.

Colley said: ‘We watched on the news last week, horrified, as rows of peaceful worshippers were showered with rubber bullets and sound grenades, we have seen the appalling violence and brutality meted out indiscriminately and now we demand the UK government, the official opposition and all our political leaders speak out unequivocally for the rights of Palestinians and condemn these violent assaults by Israeli forces.

‘A tipping point has come – the time for action is now. Please join our event on Saturday to send a powerful message to our government that we will not stand by and let Israel’s brutal oppression of Palestinians continue unchallenged.’

The event will begin at noon on Saturday 15 May outside Debenhams in Hastings town centre. There is a Facebook event page.
For more information on the Hastings & Rye Palestine Solidarity Campaign visit http://www.hastingspalestinecampaign.org or email info@hastingspalestinecampaign.org.

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Posted 20:19 Wednesday, May 12, 2021 In: Campaigns

1 Comment

Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. DAR

    Not saying don’t protest, but, unfortunately, I don’t think it will change anything for the better. I can hardly believe that an Israeli government (and most Israeli citizens) can sanction their beliefs and actions after their own past experiences in WW2 and further back in history. Oh no, sorry, it was God who gave Jews the land…so that’s all right, then. Evidence?

    Anecdote. I once answered an exam question that went like this: ” ‘Religion has caused more harm than good.’ Discuss.” I was fairly even-handed in my answer then (many years ago), but I now think the statement is probably correct – in terms of mass organised religions, anyway.

    Comment by DAR — Thursday, May 13, 2021 @ 14:17

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