Crowds mark centenary of plan, saying ‘make it right’
TENS of thousands of demonstrators marched through central London on Saturday, marking the the centenary of the Balfour Declaration with a call to “Make it Right” for Palestine.
They were demanding freedom and justice for the Palestinian people and condemning the 67-word declaration, which laid the ground for Israel’s creation.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) said the declaration had begun a process of “dispossession, colonisation, violence and oppression that resulted in the expulsion and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homes.”
It noted that more than seven million Palestinians still live in refugee camps or scattered around the world.
Supporters of Israel clashed with Palestinian activists when a small group of counterprotesters cut off the march at Oxford Street and hurled insults at those taking part.
However, they were outnumbered and pro-Palestinian demonstrators chanted: “Free, free Palestine” and “Occupation no more” as police dispersed the zionist sympathisers.
Despite this, the counterprotesters — who were displaying Israeli flags and pro-zionist placards — continued to goad the marchers as they made they way though central London.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was unable to attend the demonstration, but sent a message of solidarity via a video link urging people to “increase pressure” on Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank.
Also speaking by video link, shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: “I want the children of Palestine to have the same hopes, dreams and opportunities as everyone else.”
Addressing the crowd, leading activist Salma Yaqoob said that Prime Minister Theresa May should be apologising for the Balfour Declaration instead of celebrating it by dining with her Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu.
“While she was enjoying her elegant dinner, Palestinians to this day are choking on the words forced down their throats 100 years ago.
She blasted the “arrogance” shown by British ministers in 1917 in “giving away land that did not belong to them to zionist lobbyists in London.”
Stop the War spokesman John Rees told the rally that the declaration had led to “an imperialist carve-up” which is still continuing today.
Palestine Solidarity Campaign director Hugh Lanning said the demonstration proved that people in Britain recognise the country’s historic complicity in the dispossession and oppression of Palestinians. firstname.lastname@example.org