Thousands attend a virtual emergency rally for Gaza

Bethlehem /PNN/

Thousands of people attended an online rally in solidarity with Palestinians living in Gaza. Featuring speakers from the Gaza Strip including Rana Shubair, Haidar Eid, and Ahmed Masoud, the rally was a chance to hear from voices on the ground about their lived experiences.

Other speakers included MPs such as Jeremy Corbyn, Philippa Whitford, and Bell Ribeiro-Addy. General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union and President of the Trade Union Congress Mark Serwotka also addressed attendees, as did Assistant General Secretary at Unite, Gail Cartmail.

The event elevated participants’ opposition to Israel’s nearly daily bombing of Gaza, which started more than three weeks ago. It also addressed the issue of Israeli-imposed fuel cuts, which have led to residents receiving only 1 to 3 hours of electricity per day.

Speakers explained how this has been affecting all parts of everyday life in Gaza, including through the disrupting of essential medical treatment and facilities for Covid-19 testing. With the discovery of coronavirus outside of quarantine facilities, they outlined their worries of a deadly outbreak that they feel the healthcare system is ill-equipped to cope with after 14 years of an Israeli blockade. Speakers also welcomed news of a potential truce but stressed that the fundamental situation in Gaza has not shifted.

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Attendees took action by writing to the secretary for Foreign Affairs Dominic Raab, to demand he place pressure on Israel to end its siege on Gaza. They also contacted their local MPs call for an immediate two-way arms embargo with Israel and tweeted out a message calling on the UK Government to take action.

Ben Jamal, Director of PSC said: “As the situation in Gaza reaches this critical point, we must take urgent action against Israel’s brutal and illegal siege.

The UK Government must immediately implement a two-way arms embargo, and all complicit institutions have the ethical responsibility to divest from Israel’s violent and flagrant violations of Palestinian rights. We must stop arming Israel. ”

Jeremy Corbyn MP, speaking at the rally, said: “The people of Gaza need the space and the opportunity to develop themselves, their life and their economy.

That can only be done by ending the siege through a long-term and the urgent peace process that brings hope to the people of Gaza.”