Concrete actions you can take to stand up for Palestinian rights


Photo: Mohammed Zaanoun / activestills.org

Over the past seven weeks (March-May 2018), Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been taking part in the Great Return March, a demonstration of hundreds of thousands of people protesting over Israel’s illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip, and demanding their right of return to the homes and properties from which they were forcibly displaced in 1948.

The Israeli military has opened fire on this peaceful protest week on week, escalating dramatically on 14 May, Nakba Day, making it the bloodiest day in Palestine since Israel’s horrific bombing campaign of 2014. At least 58 unarmed Palestinians including an 8 month old baby were killed by Israeli soldiers in a single day, and thousands were injured. These numbers were added on to the already high casualty rate from the weeks before, bringing the cumulative casualty rate up to over 90 killed, including children, and over 12,000 injured, thousands of whom were injured by live fire.

This violence is unfortunately not exceptional; it is a part of Israel’s systematic use of armed force against Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and inside Israel itself. Israel’s militarised repression is one of the key ways in which it maintains its apartheid regime of control over Palestinians, denying them their basic rights enshrined in international law, and attempting to choke their struggle for freedom and justice.

The UK Government is not just a neutral onlooker, it is directly complicit in Israel’s violence against Palestinians. Since 2014, the UK Government has approved over £490 million worth of arms exports to Israel, including millions of pounds worth of small arms such as sniper rifles, assault rifles, surveillance and armed drones, and other items precisely like those being used to attack unarmed Palestinians as we write this. The UK Government knows that these weapons are being used for this brutal violence and for grave breaches of international law, and yet it allows this arms trade to continue.

Grassroots civil society, individual people of conscience, trade unions, student unions, charities, and activist groups have a key role to play in pressuring our government and our institutions to end their complicity in Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinian people. As we watch the horrible news stream through on our televisions, we have a responsibility not just to mourn the dead, but to take action to force the violence to stop, and to hasten the day when justice, human rights, and peace will prevail for all people.

Here are some key things for you to do:

1. Talk to your friends, family, and colleagues about why Palestinians are protesting in the first place. While it’s important to focus on UK complicity in the violence, it’s also important to understand the Palestinian demand for their rights. Here’s an explainer video about the Right of Return that you can use to start.

2. Educate yourself and others about the UK-Israel arms trade, and why it’s so imperative that we put an end to it. Here’s a short briefing/primer on the topic relevant to what’s happening now. You can also read our reports Arming Apartheid and Deadly Investments when you have a bit more time.

3. Email your MP and ask them to press the Government for a military embargo on Israel. As an urgent first step, a review of UK arms sales to Israel is in order, but this should lead to a two-way arms embargo on Israel. You can email your MP using this e-action form: https://www.waronwant.org/mp-action-stop-arming-israel

Latest news

MPs across parties call for suspension of arms sales to Israel

24 May 2018 - 10:00am

A cross-party group of MPs have called for a suspension of arms sales to Israel in an Early Day Motion tabled on 23 May 2018.

MPs from across political parties have expressed dismay over the UK Government’s response to Israel’s killing of unarmed protesters in Gaza, with particular questions on the legality of UK arms sales to Israel.

Read more

Reaction: UK abstention from UN Gaza vote makes a mockery of commitment to international law

19 May 2018 - 9:00am

Trusting that Israel can fairly and neutrally investigate its own war crimes is an insult to any common sense definition of justice, and makes a mockery of the UK’s stated commitment to international law, human rights, and accountability

Read more

Join the conversation

Key question from about UK Gov. licences for arms sales to Israel. The UK Gov. has said that it do… https://t.co/fH3FzM8Z49 19 hours 38 min ago
Important intervention from about Palestinians' right to life and accountability over Palestinian… https://t.co/3xDdXsXxrm 19 hours 42 min ago
Important question from about how Israel could be trusted to conduct an independent investigation into it… https://t.co/NSEQXQkt8u 19 hours 57 min ago