About two-thousand protesters gathered in front of 10 Downing Street, the headquarters of the British government, to ask the foreign secretary to “summon the Israeli ambassador to tell him that Israel must immediately end its provocative actions, abide by international law, and respect Palestinian human rights.”
The demonstrators had gathered in protest the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem and aggression on the Palestinian people.
The protesters described the situation in East Jerusalem as “untenable,” criticising Israel for “scaling up the attacks, the tension and the hatred against Palestinians in the city.”
They also called on the British government to work to “stop the destruction of Jerusalem, end the brutal occupation and end Israeli apartheid.”
The protest, which was seen as an escalation of popular pressure on the David Cameron government, was organised by Stop the War Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), British Midland International, the Islamic Forum of Europe, the Palestinian Forum in Britain and other pro-Palestine groups and organisations in the UK.
This popular movement comes as tension has been escalating due to the Israeli action against Palestinians in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem.
Other organisers said “we (the British) must do all we can to ensure our government uses every tool at its disposal to end Israel's impunity.”
PSC has asked the British government to move to support new action at the UN to end Israel's incitement and violence against the residents of East Jerusalem.
During the protest, PSC, which is the biggest and most influential pro-Palestine group in the West, handed out leaflets urging the British people to email the British Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond to ask him to “take urgent action regarding occupied East Jerusalem” and put pressure on Israel to stop settlements in the Palestinian territories.
On 28 October, Hammond said in the House of Commons (UK Parliament) that “the settlements are illegal and building them is intended to undermine the prospects of the peace process. We must not allow that to happen.”
“These [statements] need to be followed up by action,” he added.
The campaign called on Hammond to outline what measures his government will be taking against Israel’s settlement expansion.
On 29 October, the British government informed the United Nations of its “deep concern” regarding Israel’s plans to relocate the Bedouin population from around the sensitive E1 area, and by recent demolitions of Palestinian structures in East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank.
In a statement before the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, Ambassador Lyall Grant, head of the UK Mission to the UN, deplored the recent escalation in violence and Israel’s recent settlement announcements.
“The movement by Israeli settlers into the Silwan neighborhood in East Jerusalem over the last two months, has further fuelled tensions in Jerusalem,” he said.
“The United Kingdom has long made it clear that we condemn any actions that make it more difficult to reach a peace agreement,” the Ambassador concluded.