“Why the double standard?” asked George Galloway MP, speaking at the demonstration.”Why is the blood in Ukraine so much more noteworthy than the blood in Gaza?”
Saturday 19 July will long be remembered as the day many tens of thousands of protesters from all over Britain marched in London to call for Israel’s bombing and killing to stop, and an end to the siege in Gaza and Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.
The huge turnout marched from outside prime minister David Cameron’s residence in Downing Street to the Israeli embassy in Kensington. The placards said “Gaza: Stop the Massacre”, “Stop Israel’s War Crimes”, “Freedom for Palestine”, “End Israeli Apartheid”.
So packed was the crowd in the sweltering heat that more than 20 people fainted.
Among the many speakers who addressed the crowd was the Labour MP Diane Abbott, who said, “I am here to show solidarity with the people in Gaza:
“Today’s national demonstration will give people from across the country the chance to say enough is enough, Israel’s siege of Gaza and its occupation of Palestinian land has to end now. People want justice and freedom for the Palestinians, and they will be voicing this in their thousands.”
Baroness Jenny Tonge said: “What on earth is Israel doing? It has lost its legitimacy, it is no longer a democratic state. It breaks international law, Geneva conventions, it has no respect for human rights. Israel must leave the international family of nations.”
Andrew Murray from Britain’s largest union, Unite, told the protesters Israel’s barbaric attack will not break the spirit of the people of Gaza. And it will not break the spirit of demonstrations like this one in London, determined to show solidarity with Palestinians as they face Israeli war crimes and illegal occupation.
When the marchers reached the Israeli embasssy they were met by a police blockade protecting the building.
Speakers told the crowd that the numbers killed in Gaza has now risen to over 330, and more than a fifth of those were children. George Galloway MP highlighted the disparity in the coverage of a similar number killed when the Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight was shot down in Ukraine, the day before the Gaza march.
“The 300 Palestinians are completely ignored by the same newspapers, by the same television stations and by the same political leaders who are threatening sanctions and war against Russia but who are supporting, with weapons and money and diplomatic political and media support, the Israeli killers.
“In fact, if whoever fired that missile in Ukraine had fired it instead at the beach in Gaza, the media could have knocked off for an early lunch and saved themselves all of this work.
“Why the double standard? Why is the blood in Ukraine so much more noteworthy than the blood in Gaza?”
One of the chants from the protesters was, “Gaza, we will never forget you”, and as Israel’s prime minister Netanyahu declared that Isael planned at least another two weeks of carnage in Gaza, we can be sure there will be solidarity protests and demonstrations across Britain.