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Tomorrow, on Saturday 14th October  we will be leading a march in London in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Every humanitarian will be appalled and horrified, as we are, at the scenes we are witnessing of a severe escalation of violence since October 7th. International law must be the framework within which all actions should be judged. International law makes it clear that the deliberate killing of civilians, hostage-taking and collective punishment are war crimes. Such crimes must be condemned no matter who perpetrates them. International law also enshrines the right of a people to resist oppression and military occupation.

All people of conscience will be horrified by the order issued by the Israeli Government yesterday for over 1 million people in the north of the Gaza Strip to immediately leave their homes. Such a mass evacuation would be nearly impossible to organise safely anywhere, let alone in a besieged area that has been heavily bombed for a week and where basic infrastructure is collapsing. This is not a humanitarian gesture. Israel is signalling its intention to commit war crimes on an immense scale and seeking to pre-emptively justify the mass slaughter of many thousands of civilians, on the basis that they were warned to leave.

Statements by the leaders of the main political parties in the UK giving unqualified support for Israel’s actions, including the commission of war crimes, is giving Israel the green light to move ahead with the mass slaughter of civilians and contributing to the widespread dehumanisation of Palestinians in political discourse here in the UK.

We call for an end to the violence but know that this violence will not end until its root causes are addressed. The root causes are Israel’s decades long military occupation of Palestinian land and its imposition of a system of oppression, which meets the legal definition of apartheid according to a consensus of human rights experts and civil society. Ending the violence requires ending the occupation and dismantling the system of apartheid.

We demand that the UK government and all political leaders in the UK call for an immediate ceasefire and for Israel to lift the siege on Gaza so that humanitarian aid – including food, fuel, and medical supplies can reach the population.