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PALESTINE supporters staged nationwide protests throughout Britain on Saturday at branches of HSBC against its investments in firms supplying arms to Israel.
HSBC invests in firms including Caterpillar which supplies militarised bulldozers used to demolish Palestinian communities to make way for Israeli settlements.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced plans to take over more land in the West Bank in breach of international law if he is re-elected head of state in forthcoming elections.
Manchester’s branch of HSBC was one of the targets of Saturday’s protests.
Norma Turner of Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) said: “We won’t stop until HSBC divests from companies profiting from Israel’s ongoing destruction of Palestinian land, towns and communities, such as the £99m they invest in Caterpillar whose bulldozers are destroying Palestinian houses as we speak.
“HSBC is directly complicit in Israel’s crimes, just as Barclays was in supporting the racist apartheid regime in South Africa.
“Here in Manchester we stood against UK complicity then and we will stand against HSBC now.
“During the recent ethnic cleansing of 1,000 people by the Israeli army from the town of Sur Baher, they used bulldozers made by Caterpillar and UK company JCB to destroy apartments that were home to many large families.
“We’re calling for a two-way arms embargo between the UK and Israel and an end to UK companies like HSBC profiteering off the backs of so much suffering and oppression of the Palestinians.”
PSC has reported that in the last 18 months over 6,000 Palestinian protesters have been shot by Israeli soldiers in Gaza, a strip of Palestinian land where 1.5 million Palestinian refugees live.
Last week two teenage protesters in Gaza, 14-year-old Khalid Abu Bakr al-Rabai and 17-years-old Ali Sami Ali al-Ashqar, were shot and killed by Israeli soldiers.
Ms Turner said: “Just like with South Africa, when governments and companies profit from such injustice, we will hold them to account on our high streets and break the chains of complicity through boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns.
“Solidarity is growing and with more people joining the movement we can win.”
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