Rally in London calls for end to Israeli occupation of Palestine

By staff writers
June 11, 2007

Campaigners from around the country came together in London on Saturday to call for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the six-day war and subsequent Israeli occupation.

Similar events took place at the weekend around the world.

Church leaders in Jerusalem recently issued the a statement marking the anniversary and drawing attention to the hardships suffered by Palestinians and calling for justice to be done.

“This year marks the 40th anniversary of occupation by the Israelis of land previously held by Palestinians" they said. "It is totally unacceptable for the situation to continue where the Palestinians endure daily hardships and humiliations with deprivations of international human rights, allegedly to ensure the safety and security of the Israelis, whereas we believe the security of Israel is dependent on the freedom and justice of the Palestinians.”

A host of speakers at the rally in London urged those taking part to work for dialogue and political change.

Speakers included Palestinian Minister of Information Mustafa Barghouti, Anglican Bishop Riah of Jerusalem, Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Netan'l Silverman and Bruce Kent, vice-president of Pax Christi.

Bishop Riah spoke of the role of Jerusalem as the capital of the Holy Land, saying that the way to peace in the world was through peace in Jerusalem. He urged political leaders to be peace makers and not just 'peace talkers'.

Mairead Corrigan Maguire who recently visited Palestine spoke of the parallels between her own country, Northern Ireland, and Palestine. She reminded those listening that thirty years ago she stood at this same spot calling for peace, justice and human rights for the people of Northern Ireland. She made the same appeal for the people of Palestine.

Bruce Kent continued the theme using the recent peace plan in Northern Ireland as a sign of how situations of injustice and violence can be turned around.

Netan'l Silverman, a former Israeli soldier, spoke of the work of Combatants for Peace, a group of former Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters, and of the culture of fear which kept people apart and bred violence.

The Enough: End the Israeli Occupation of Palestine Coalition is made up of more than 50 organisations including Pax Christi, War on War, Quaker Peace & Social Witness, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Interpal, Medical Aid for Palestine and a number of Trade Unions.

The coalition will be organising a of Lobby of Parliament in November.

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