Jeremy Corbyn has faced down the campaign to brand critics of Israel as antisemitic. The Labour leader blasted Western silence as Israel continued to shoot Palestinian protestors. This week, Israel’s military has killed at least 31 unarmed demonstrators and wounded over 1,600 others. There have been no Israeli causalities.
“The silence from international powers must end”
Firing live ammunition into crowds of unarmed civilians is illegal and inhumane and cannot be tolerated.
We stand in solidarity with the Israelis who have taken to the streets this last week to protest their government’s actions.
The silence from international powers with the responsibility of bringing a just settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict must end.
The UK government must support the UN Secretary-General’s call for an independent international inquiry into the killing of protesters in Gaza and review the sale of arms that could be used in violation of international law.
Neither foreign secretary Boris Johnson nor prime minister Theresa May have made statements since shootings began.
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Meanwhile, UN human rights spokeswoman Elizabeth Throssell has said Israel’s violence could break the Geneva Convention if it amounts to wilful killing of civilians.
“Denial of basic human and political rights”
At a London protest against Israel’s actions on 8 April, a representative read out the Labour leader’s message. Thousands of people attended the demonstration outside Downing Street. Corbyn’s letter further said:
The killing and wounding of yet more unarmed Palestinian protesters yesterday by Israeli forces in Gaza is an outrage.
The majority of the people of the Gaza Strip are stateless refugees, subject to a decade long blockade and the denial of basic human and political rights. More than two thirds are reliant on humanitarian assistance, with limited access to the most basic amenities, such as water and electricity.
They have a right to protest against their appalling conditions and the continuing blockade and occupation of Palestinian land, and in support of their right to return to their homes and their right to self-determinaion.
Amnesty International also drew attention to the abuses of people living under Israeli occupation:
Human rights violations by Israeli forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) have included, but are not limited to, home demolitions and the forced eviction of Palestinian families; punitive arrests, unfair trials, ill-treatment and torture of detainees and the use of excessive or lethal force to subdue nonviolent demonstrations as well as the use of restrictive legal means.
At the protests, one of those killed was Palestinian journalist Yaser Murtaja:
Sources in Gaza have confirmed that journalist Yaser Murtaja has died after being shot in the abdomen by an Israeli sniper while covering the protests. He was clearly wearing a vest that identified him as press. Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/oKLSBhXiUk
— Liam O'Hare (@Liam_O_Hare) April 6, 2018
The Labour leader rounded off by saying:
The events in Gaza and the threat of renewed conflict underlines the urgent necessity of genuine negotiations to achieve a viable two-state settlement that delivers peace, justice and security to both Palestinians and Israelis.
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