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Tens of thousands of people expected to join national Day of Action for Palestine with call for UK government to stop arming Israel

  • Around 100 actions are taking place in towns and cities across the UK
  • Many of the actions are directed against Barclays Bank which holds substantial financial ties to arms companies supplying Israel with weapons used in its attacks
  • UK political leaders are urged to stop their complicity in Israel’s war crimes

The suffering of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip continues to deepen as Israel’s devastating attacks enter a sixth month. On Thursday this week news emerged of yet another Israeli massacre as people desperately seeking food aid in northern Gaza were attacked with gun and tank fire, killing over 100 people and injuring 700. This atrocity has attracted condemnation around the world.

Famine is taking hold in Gaza because Israel has denied access to adequate aid after the wholesale destruction of food infrastructure. Most of the 2 million population are experiencing hunger, but one quarter are described as being one step away from starvation by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

As the death toll in Gaza passes 30 000, in what the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has found to be a plausible case of the highest crime of genocide, widespread, mass protests continue in the UK to demand an immediate ceasefire and lifting of Israel’s siege. The Genocide Convention requires states to ensure they are not complicit, but the UK continues to provide diplomatic, military and financial support to Israel. Most egregiously, the UK has failed to halt arms exports to Israel in the midst of a genocide.

This week the Prime Minister has sought to portray those seeking to defend the human rights of Palestinians as a “mob” that threatens democracy. Previously his former Home Secretary called them “hate marchers”. These are false and insulting attempts to demonise the hundreds of thousands who are seeking to uphold international law and human rights.

Barclays Bank is bankrolling Israel’s war crimes. It holds over £1 billion in shares, and provides over £3 billion in loans and underwriting to 9 companies whose weapons, components, and military technology are being used by Israel in its attacks on Palestinians. This includes General Dynamics, which produces the gun systems that arm the fighter jets used by Israel to bombard Gaza, and Elbit Systems, which produces armoured drones, munitions and artillery weapons used by the Israeli military.

Many of the actions on Saturday – from Abergavenny to Worthing – will target Barclays branches. PSC is leading a campaign calling on people to boycott Barclays, just as the Anti-Apartheid Movement did decades ago over Barclays support for apartheid South Africa. Hundreds of people are closing their accounts and refusing to bank with Barclays until it ends its complicity with Israel’s slaughter and oppression of Palestinians.

Ben Jamal, PSC Director, said :

“Israel’s actions in Gaza are repugnant and indefensible. The majority of British people want Israel to stop killing and starving Palestinians in Gaza. And yet our Government and Opposition refuse to draw clear lines of disengagement from a genocidal regime. There is no possible, legitimate case for supplying arms to Israel. UK arms exports must halt, immediately. Financial support to arms companies by corporations like Barclays must cease, immediately.

The scenes of horror that we see every day from Gaza have brought so many to the streets in peaceful protest over the past few months. Rishi Sunak’s response is to demonise those protesting, whilst he continues to offer Israel full support for what the ICJ has accepted as a plausible case of genocide. He wishes to insulate politicians from public opinion and democratic accountability by suppressing peaceful protest. We will not allow the voices of Palestinians to be silenced. We will continue to protest and march for the genocide to end and for an end to all UK complicity with Israel’s decades long oppression of the Palestinian people.”