My speech to the People’s Assembly march

Manchester 3/10/2021

Friends, I bring you greetings from the Palestine Solidarity campaign.

Other speakers articulated the Tories terrible policies that impact on the daily lives of the most vulnerable people here in Britain.

But their terrible policies also impact on people’s lives thousands of miles away including the Palestinian people.

I must remind you that the Palestinian people’s ongoing Nakba was made in Britain. It started with the Balfour declaration which promised the homeland of the Palestinian people to the Zionist movement as if it was for it to give and as if the land was empty.

It had no right to promise Palestine to any other people.

Britain under a Tory government continues the failure of successive British governments to stand with the Palestinian people in their pursuit of their legitimate inalienable rights in their historic homeland.

It continues its hundreds of millions worth arms trade with Israel. It continues to allow Israeli weapons manufacturers like Elbit systems to manufacture components in the UK, when that company boasts that its weapons are field tested. This is short code for oppressing and killing Palestinians. Britain should not allow the manufacture of Israeli weapon components at sites around the country.

In May, when Israel was planning to evict Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah, when it was attacking peaceful worshippers at Alaqsa mosque the British Government was silent.

It only spoke when the bombs were falling on Gaza and the towers were being brought down, when over 60 children were killed to say Israel had a right to self defence. What about the Palestinian people’s right to self defence and to end the decades long illegal occupation?

Britain says it regards the Israeli settlements as illegal. How then does it allow the import of goods made in these settlements to be freely exported to the UK? The Tories should impose a ban on settlement goods, whose sales help sustain these illegal colonies.

You would have thought that the UK government would support the ICC in its investigation of crimes committed in the OPT. Instead, two Conservative Lords demanded a rejection of the ICC investigation into Israeli crimes from the then Tory Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, which resulted in the Tory prime minister, the bumbling Boris Johnson penning a letter to the CFI rejecting that investigation.

The Tories also found room in their BREXIT heavy manifesto to promise that they will legislate against the peaceful BDS movement, taking away the ethical right of public bodies to boycott or divest from companies complicit in breaches of international law. This followed a massive win by PSC against the government at the Supreme Court last year on the ability of Local Pension schemes ability to divest from companies complicit in Israeli crimes.

If global Britain under the tories really wants to play a positive role in bringing peace to the region then it must stand with the oppressed rather than the oppressor. It must listen to Human Rights Watch and Btselem whose recent reports confirmed Israel is an a apartheid State. This should result in accountability and sanctions on Apartheid Israel. This applies to all parties. The recent Labour Party conference passed a historic motion calling Israel an Apartheid state and calling for settlements. We will hold the Labour Party accountable for implementing the will of conference.

It must also stand with the peaceful Palestinian people until they have achieved their rights to freedom, justice and equality including the return of the refugees.

Thank you.

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