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LRU statement in solidarity with Palestine

All human life is sacred and we mourn the horrific loss of life that has taken place in Palestine and Israel on and since October 7.

The British government is currently giving its full support to Israel – including sending navy ships and spy planes – as it carpet bombs Palestinian homes, schools and hospitals and kills thousands of Palestinians. This is apartheid. This is genocide.

The way that Palestinian resistance movements struggle against Israeli settler colonialism through popular resistance, protest, strike action and culture and art have long been, and continue to be, a source of inspiration for unions and movements all across the world.

The London Renters Union is an anti-colonial and anti-racist organisation that fights against homelessness and for everyone to have a home where they can live a good, joyful life. The systems of oppression that force Londoners from our homes are deeply linked to the systems that dispossess Palestinians, domicide anywhere is domicide everywhere. We stand in full solidarity with Palestinians as they face forced displacement from their homes and the deliberate destruction of their lives, homes and communities.

What are some of the origins of what’s happening right now?

In 1948 the Israeli apartheid regime was founded through a Zionist campaign of terror that included bombings, massacres of Palestinian civilians, the forced displacement of 700,000 Palestinian people. 531 Palestinian towns and villages were destroyed and 85% of the Palestinian population were banished and displaced. The Palestinians refer to this as ‘The Nakba’, the catastrophe.

Many families in Gaza are originally from destroyed villages just miles away on the other side of Israel’s border fence. Since 2005, Israel has imposed a siege on Gaza and turned it into the world’s largest concentration camp. In 2006, an Israeli leader said the purpose of the siege was to “put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger”. Now Israel is cutting off food and water and carpet bombing them. Many Palestinians are calling Israel’s current attack on Gaza a second Nakba, a second catastrophe.

According to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, more than 131,000 Palestinian homes have been destroyed since 1948. Hundreds if not thousands more have been destroyed in recent days.

How are politicians in the UK responding?

Israel has clearly stated its plan to carry out a genocide of Palestinians in Gaza. Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant has said: “We are imposing a complete siege on Gaza. No electricity, no food, no water, no fuel. Everything is closed. We are fighting human animals, and we will act accordingly.”

Rishi Sunak has promised Israel “unqualified support”. British politicians are repeating misinformation giving political cover to Israel and a green light to carry out genocide. The dehumanising, anti-Palesitnian, anti-Muslim language used by the media and politicians from both major parties in recent days is a serious escalation of state racism.

We strongly condemn attempts by the government to further criminalise protest and impinge on the right to dissent. Standing in solidarity with Palestine is not a crime.

What are Palestinian organisations calling for?

Palestinian organisations are calling for an immediate ceasefire, for humanitarian aid to be allowed into Gaza and international action to prevent Israel’s genocide against Palestinians.

In a statement published on Monday, Palestinian trade unions said: “This urgent, genocidal situation can only be prevented by a mass increase of global solidarity with the people of Palestine and that can restrain the Israeli war machine”.

The statement called for an end to all military trade with Israel and urged union members to take action against arms companies and against the arms trade with Israel.

How can we organise together to support the people of Palestine?

  • We urge everyone who can to join Saturday’s protest in support of Palestinian freedom.
  • Join and organise actions against the companies and politicians that are supporting and profiting from Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism, particularly weapons and military companies.
  • Join and support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement: bdsmovement.net.
  • Contact your MP and urge them to speak out against Israeli genocide and in support of an end to all military trade with Israel. There is a template here: https://palestinecampaign.eaction.online/stopthewarongaza/search
  • The LRU urges its allies in the housing movement and wider British progressive movements to distribute the statement from Palestinian trade unions and organise to answer the calls from Palestinian unions for a mass escalation of solidarity with Palestine.

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