On Saturday August 22nd, dozens of socially distanced protests will take place across the UK, demanding an end to UK complicity in Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights. Here’s why:
On Wednesday 29th July 2014 Ahmad Ramadan Ghaban was walking back from morning prayers to Jabalia Elementary School, situated in a refugee camp in the North of Gaza, where he and his family had sought refuge from Israel’s bombardment of the strip.
As he entered the gates to the school, an artillery shell landed in front of the school, where his children slept.
Recounting his story to UNRWA, Ahmad recalled “I did not know what to do or where to go”, “I kept thinking that we would all die. I kept thinking about my poor children. It is the worst feeling in the world, to be so completely helpless that you can’t save your own family.”
While his family survived the attack, over 15 perished, including children. The United Nations had provided Israel with the co-ordinates of the school seventeen times. In Gaza, there is no safe place from Israel’s violence.
The attack on the school was just one example of Israel’s deadly bombing campaign, which targeted densely populated civilian areas in Gaza, subjecting the population to 51days of sheer terror.
The attack killed over 2,200 Palestinians, nearly a quarter of them children, and destroyed 18,000 residential units, leaving over 100,000 Palestinians homeless.
Since the end of the attack Israel has continued to kill Palestinians with impunity.
In its brutal suppression of the Great Return March protests in Gaza Israel has killed more than 280 Palestinians and injured over 60,000.
Despite widespread condemnation of Israel’s deliberate, systematic and repeated targeting of the civilian population of Gaza, including by the United Nations, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the UK continues to arm Israel.
According to Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) between 2014 and 2018, the UK issued individual licenses for £364 million worth of military equipment and technology for export to Israel, as well as 20 open licenses, allowing unlimited deliveries over a 3-5 year period.
That’s why, across the UK, hundreds are gearing up to take action on Saturday as part of a national day of action coordinated by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, War on Want and Campaign Against Arms Trade.
Responding to the recent call from Palestinian civil society for states to take ‘effective action’ until Israel ends its gross violations of international law, we will be gathering to call for the government to enact an immediate two-way arms embargo on Israel.
But the chain of complicity runs deeper than the government, and so does our demands.
As revealed by Palestine Solidarity Campaign research UK universities and local government pension funds invest in swathes of companies complicit in Israel’s war crimes, including companies that supply weapons to Israel.
In addition, financial institutions such as HSBC invest and provide financial services worth millions to companies that supply Israel with weapons. Including BAE Systems and Raytheon. Weapons with both BAE and Raytheon components were used in Israel’s attacks in 2014.
That’s why many of the protests will take place outside local branches of HSBC, a long-running target for campaigners for Palestinian rights.
The UK’s complicity is a source of national shame. Together we can, and must, end all complicity.
To find out more and to join your local protest, visit: https://bit.ly/SAIAction