London Gaza Demo: Voices From the Street

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Fair Observer spoke to protesters at the Gaza demonstration in London.

On July 26, over 45,000 people marched in London to protest against the Israeli invasion of Gaza. This was Europe’s largest demonstration so far. Over 1,035 Palestinians and 45 Israelis have lost their lives since the war began. The vast majority of Palestinians killed were civilians, while two Israeli civilians and a Thai laborer died due to rocket fire from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Fair Observer interviewed demonstrators in London about their thoughts on the current conflict. Operation Protective Edge, prospects of peace, or the lack thereof, and the protest itself were subjects of discussion. We invite you to share your thoughts and join the conversation.

Mark: “Attacking war with further aggression or the idea of fighting for peace is a misnomer.”

Sarah: “At the end of the day, I think there is no two-state solution — Israel has seen to that, they’ve made it impossible. The solution has to be equal rights for everyone in a single state.”

Chris: “… I am a child of the 1960s when we protested against the Vietnam War — it’s sort of in my DNA to protest.

“… Like all conflicts, in the end, people talk. Look at what happened in Northern Ireland, look what happened in South Africa — in the end, people know that’s what has to happen.”

Ayman: “[I am here] to support Palestine. I also happen to be Palestinian, so it’s an issue that’s especially important to me.

“… History has shown that non-violent protest is more successful than any violent means of achieving anything. Non-violence is the way to go, with protests and BDS, which is boycott, divestment and sanctions. The goal is to make the occupation no longer economically profitable for companies. When the occupation ceases to be economically profitable, then we can have some serious moves toward peace, justice and dignity for the Palestinians.”

Mel: “I find hope in many organizations such Rabbis for Human Rights. I think these people are amazing — people who, despite suffering a lot, are interested in working together, both Palestinians and Israelis.”

The triumph of ‘divisionism’ [is the cause]. The people to blame are those in the positions of power. There has been a failure of diplomacy and negotiation on all sides.

Steve James: “The only way this issue will be solved is via politicians and a political settlement at the end of the day. Violence will create more violence, and that’s what is happening now.

“… But, when you are negotiating, discussing or debating peace for 40-odd years and nothing has happened, and the situation for Palestinians in Gaza has gotten worse and the disproportionate amount of force the Israelis have used over the years, one has to ask: ‘What would I do in that situation?’ I don’t know, personally, but it cannot be violence. It has to be a political solution.”

Latifa: “I am here to voice my opinion. What’s happening in Gaza needs to be shown to the world. Enough of the killing. This is an occupied land. It’s nothing to do with faith — it’s to do with an apartheid state. The world has had enough. Free Palestine!”

Evronia: “I am an Egyptian activist and I am here today to support Palestine, but also to show that freedom to Palestine also starts with the freedom to Egypt … We demand [from the Egyptian government] the opening of the Rafah border.

“… You cannot blame the Palestinians when you take away everything from them and they fire a rocket, and you call them violent. This is called resistance.”

Steve (from Leicester): “The triumph of ‘divisionism’ [is the cause]. The people to blame are those in the positions of power. There has been a failure of diplomacy and negotiation on all sides.”

Sarah (from Kent): “I want the British government to acknowledge their involvement in the conflict. I want them to stand up and actually do something about it, and to stop pretending [the war] is balanced.

“… A lot of Palestinians are involved in non-violent struggle. There is a mass hunger strike but that doesn’t get any recognition in the news when something like this blows up.”

Nasser: “Most importantly, I would like the people of Gaza to see what is going on here: tens of thousands of people out in London and that might give them some comfort in their hour of need.”

Sam: “I think a class-based solution is the way forward for Palestinians — to appeal to the workers of Israel to support them in their struggle. I think the people in Israel are also being suppressed by the situation. They are made to be afraid and divided from the Palestinians.”

Tania: “I have young children and, 30 years down the line, I don’t want them to be faced with any of this [the conflict]. We have to make a change.”

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

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