London anti-Israel protest fails to draw big crowd

Only around 2,000 pro-Palestinian protesters gather in Trafalgar Square to hear Haniyeh satellite address.

occupation sign 88 (photo credit: )
occupation sign 88
(photo credit: )
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh addressed around 2,000 pro-Palestinian protesters gathered in Trafalgar Square in central London via satellite on Saturday, who were using the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War to demonstrate against Israel and call for the end of the occupation. The protest, which had been in the planning stages since the beginning of the year, had hoped to attract some 10,000, however. "On this painful anniversary of the occupation of the rest of Palestinian land, I can only stress the following," Haniyeh told the crowd. "First we appeal for Palestinian rights similar to other peoples in the world; second, we appeal that Palestinian people's [have the] right to defend themselves and resist the occupation in accordance with divine laws and international accords and conventions. We emphasize the right of return for Palestinian refugees." The rally was organized by the 'Enough!' coalition made up of UK-based non-governmental organizations, charities, trade unions and religious groups, and protesters called for an "end to the occupation" and "justice for the Palestinians," putting sole responsibility and the onus of blame on Israel. When the coalition was formed, members agreed to work in the spirit of the mission statement, which it says opposes "all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Holocaust denial or Nakba denial." A counter-protest by a group called 'Dayenu!' demonstrated in support of Israel.Organizer Jonathan Hoffman said: "Our group includes Jews, Christians, people of other faiths and indeed of no faith. The one thing we have in common is that we cannot bear the thought of thousands of misinformed and misled marchers on the streets of our capital city with free rein to attack Israel. "Our name 'Dayenu!' is in response to 'Enough!'. We also say 'Enough!': enough lies, enough Kassams, enough anti-Zionism, enough anti-Semitism, enough boycotts, enough blinkered attacks on Israel regardless of what is happening elsewhere in the world. Israel is prepared to exchange land for a secure peace but also how Israel gave back Gaza, only to be rewarded with Kassam rockets raining down on Sderot." Other speakers at the protest included Azzam Tamimi from the Muslim Association of Britain which is part of the Muslim Brotherhood.