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Hundreds of thousands mark Nakba in national march for Palestine

New poll shows majority of British public backs immediate ceasefire

HUNDREDS of thousands of people are set to flood the streets of London at the 14th national demonstration for Palestine.

Protesters meet at Mortimer Street and march to Whitehall, demanding an end to Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza.

Expected speakers include Gazan photojournalist Motaz Azaiza, Palestinian poet Rafeef Ziadah, former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and PCS general secretary Fran Heathcote.

Tomorrow’s march marks the 76th anniversary of the Nakba in which 750,000 Palestinians were forced to flee their homes.

Palestine Solidarity Campaign director Ben Jamal, who helped organise the protest, said the march commemorates the Nakba “as an act of ongoing dispossession, occupation and ethnic cleansing. 

“Today, even in this darkest moment, we also march to celebrate and affirm the refusal of the Palestinian people to succumb to erasure.

“We will not stop, we will not rest, until the Palestinian people finally achieve their liberation.”  

Israel is pressing on with an offensive on Gaza’s southernmost city Rafah, while the death toll tops 35,000. 

The South African government pressed the International Court of Justice on Thursday to order an immediate halt to Israel’s assault.

Vaughan Lowe, a lawyer for South Africa, said the attack on Rafah is “the last step in the destruction of Gaza and its Palestinian people.”

Stop the War convener Lindsey German, due to join tomorrow’s protest, said: “It’s incredible that, seven months on from that first national march in demand of an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, our anti-war movement is still building and growing. 

“We shouldn’t need to still be marching. But we will keep on going until there is a permanent ceasefire, an end to the UK selling arms to Israel and until Palestine is free.

A new poll by Medical Aid for Palestinians and the Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu) shows 73 per cent of the British public supports an immediate ceasefire.

The British government continues to insist on selling arms to Israel, but the poll suggests that only 13 per cent of the public want to see sales continue.

MAP director of advocacy and campaigns Rohan Talbot said: “The feeling among the British public reaffirms the demands of humanitarians: UK leaders must do more to end the killing in Gaza, including halting arms sales so they cannot be used in further violations of international law.”

The poll found 18 per cent of those polled approve of the government’s response to the crisis, while only 12 per cent approve the response from Labour.

Caabu director Chris Doyle said the poll shows “there is little confidence in the leadership of both the main parties in the handling of this major international crisis.”

Kate Ramsden, who will be chairing a PSC protest against Barclays in Aberdeen tomorrow, said that even though Western governments “have turned their backs” she was “proud” that “ordinary people have turned out week on week to this and other protests.”

A boycott has led to thousands closing their accounts with the bank, which holds over £2 billion in shares, along with £6bn of underwriting and loans, in military and arms companies linked to Israel. 

Cambridge University has been forced to the negotiating table with activists who are pushing for divestment from firms such as Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest weapons manufacturer. 

Escalating pressure on administrators, protesters expanded their encampment to the institution’s Senate House, forcing graduation ceremonies that were due to take place there to move venue. 

Former home secretary Suella Braverman went on a mission to stir up tensions accompanied by right-wing GB News on Thursday. 

Students ignored her antagonisms as she patrolled the edge of the camp saying things like: “I’m interested to hear your message to Hamas.”

At Edinburgh University, 17 students are on hunger strike to pressure for divestment. 

And in Shenstone this week, Palestine Action activists blockaded UAV Engines, which provides engines for Israeli drones

Ahead of tomorrow’s national march, Kate Hudson from Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament said: “The British government has to end its support for the genocide. It has tried and failed to stop our marches. Now it needs to get on the side of the people: of the Palestinian people and the overwhelming majority of the British people.”

“Let's step up the pressure: build our demonstrations, campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, and urge our trade unions to shut down arms shipments to Israel.”-

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