Exclusive – #FreePalestine protest in London

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IMG_1095SHAFAQNA – Pro-Palestine activists staged a counter-protest outside London’s Palestinian mission against pro-Israel groups, also rallying at the mission against of a spate of stabbings in Israel and the Occupied Territories, which they brand as ‘incitement’.

Pro-Palestine groups are gathering in response to a protest organized by the pro-Israel Board of Deputies, the Zionist Federation (ZF) and others, assembled under the Twitter hashtag #IsraeliLivesMatter to oppose a recent surge in stabbings around Jerusalem and the Occupied Territories.IMG_1102

The escalating attacks follow clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and at holy sites in Jerusalem which have fueled fears of a third Intifada or Palestinian uprising.

espite calls by pro-Israel groups for the Palestinian Authority (PA) to condemn the attacks, no such statement has been forthcoming. Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies, has called the lack of a response “nothing short of disgraceful.

IMG_1108The choice of hashtag has angered pro-Palestinian groups. Eighty people have signed a letter to the ZF and Board of Deputies, which reads: “When Jewish organizations, who claim to represent the voice of British Jewry, say only that ‘#IsraeliLivesMatter,’ it shames us as people who care about the lives of everyone in the region.

Richard Verber, vice president of the Board of Deputies, told the Jewish Chronicle newspaper: “The ZF’s hashtag may have been misinterpreted by some, but it is simply being used to highlight the media’s poor coverage of the indiscriminate stabbings which have taken place throughout Israel.

We will be outside the Palestinian mission to respectfully mourn the deaths of those who have lost their lives and hold [Palestinian president] Abbas to account given that Shin Bet have said PA and Fatah officials are involved in incitement.

We urge all those attending to follow the advice of the police and CST [Community Security Trust] given the potential for counter-protests,” he added.

Tuesday saw a wave of attacks at locations in Jerusalem, Raanana and Haifa.

The most serious attack took place in Armon HaNatziv area of Jerusalem, where two terrorists reportedly shot and stabbed commuters on a city bus. They were shot dead by a police officer who was at the scene.

We will be outside the Palestinian mission to respectfully mourn the deaths of those who have lost their lives and hold [Palestinian president] Abbas to account given that Shin Bet have said PA and Fatah officials are involved in incitement.

We urge all those attending to follow the advice of the police and CST [Community Security Trust] given the potential for counter-protests,” he added.

Tuesday saw a wave of attacks at locations in Jerusalem, Raanana and Haifa.

The most serious attack took place in Armon HaNatziv area of Jerusalem, where two terrorists reportedly shot and stabbed commuters on a city bus. They were shot dead by a police officer who was at the scene.

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