Protesters on the Palestine march in London (Picture: Stop The War)

At least 300,000 people marched for Palestine in London on Saturday, a magnificent turnout that underlines the determination to win justice.

It’s not surprising that the march was smaller than last time—but it was still huge. On most occasions it would be rightly seen as  historic.

Some people will hope the pause in the Israeli assault will become a full ceasefire and that will lead to some sort of  settlement. But those marching in London do not accept that’s going to happen. They are a very large, active and knowledgeable core of a bigger movement.

They rightly think Israel is highly likely to renew its brutal attacks when the four-day pause ends on Tuesday. Even if the pause is extended, most marchers do not believe Palestinian liberation is coming as a result of this present process.

Demonstrator Reshna said, “The temporary halt in the fighting is not the justice the Palestinians need. There has been 75 years of oppression, the siege of Gaza, the repeated assaults in Gaza—what the Israelis have called ‘mowing the lawn’.

“None of that has come to an end. Apartheid is still in place. Today there might not be bombing, but it could start again very soon.

“The demonstrations and other solidarity actions mean people are waking up. This is what we need to increase the pressure.”

Everywhere there was anger against Keir Starmer for his failure to call a ceasefire and to break from the US-Tory position of unflinching support for Israel. Amy told Socialist Worker that she remembered being on the streets to demonstrate against the Iraq War 20 years ago when she was a child.

“I remember the protests and I remember how great they were. But I also remember being so disappointed in the Labour Party and how they still went to war.

“Today they are doing the same thing. At the moment we’re still being ignored by Starmer and Labour. I don’t think I could vote Labour again. I’ll vote for the Green Party instead.”

Amy added that protesters must do “everything” to get those in power to listen. “We need to have bigger protests, blockades, die-ins and strikes,” she said. “People are scared that they could be punished but if we all do it they can’t punish us all.” 

Other marchers wanted the spirit of the London march to echo around the world. Leyla, a delivery driver, came from Ipswich where she has been organising local solidarity demonstrations. “I want our protests to be heard in the Middle East,” she said. “And I want them to spur on the resistance there.

“But what I want more than anything is a new Arab Spring across the whole region to help liberate Palestine.

“I lived in Egypt during the 2011 uprising, and that’s when I became politically active. l learnt something important that year—it is only the workers and the poor that really want change. The middle classes want to keep things as they are.

“I want this demonstration to inspire people back there, and to create a space for all the anger that there is about Palestine.” The movement must not pause, halt or have a ceasefire. It has to escalate.

Wednesday 29 November: Workplace day of action. Take action where you work—walkouts, meetings, rallies and whatever you can organise 
Tuesday 28 November: Stop the War London activists’ meeting: 6:30pm. Mander Hall, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London, WC1H 9BD GB 

Meanwhile, around 2000 people marched through Cardiff on Saturday. An angry, vibrant, diverse and young protest went through the centre of the city. There was also a brilliant break-away section that rallied outside the BBC offices, chanting, “BBC shame on you,” before rejoining the rally at the end. Trade union banners on the march included Swansea Unison and PCS. 

Matt Shepherd

The relentless Israeli murder machine

Israeli forces kept blasting Gaza’s hospitals right up to the last minute before the pause. After Israeli tanks and snipers laid siege to the Indonesian Hospital, one of northern Gaza’s largest healthcare facilities, troops raided it in the early hours of Friday.

“When they stormed the hospital we told them we are nurses, civilians, and that we have children and sick people here,” a nurse told Al Jazeera. “They interrogated me and three other nurses. They asked me about the resistance and if there were any fighters here.

“They asked about the entrances and exits of the hospital. We were all panicking. We were very scared,” the nurse added.

Another witness spoke about the horror of the Israeli soldiers’ interrogation. “The fourth floor of the hospital was targeted with a missile,” the male nurse from the emergency department said.

“They also cut off electricity and solar power. We had 25 people with broken pelvises who couldn’t be moved. They blew up this entrance, they shot the patients inside.” 

The hospital has been out of service for weeks. With the extent of the damage by Israeli forces, it’s not clear whether it will ever reopen. Journalists reported the stench of death forced people to cover their nose. Charred, decomposing bodies— children among them—were piled up in one corner.

No burials have taken place because Israeli snipers targeted anyone who ventured out to dig a grave.

But the massacres have not broken Palestinian resistance. And that’s a problem for Zionism and its Western backers. On 7 October Israeli leaders—and Netanyahu in particular—declared the military objective of “eliminating Hams”. Nothing else would do, they said.

But for now, Hamas remains strongly in existence and Israel is negotiating with its intermediaries. London marcher Aziz told Socialist Worker, “Israel has not been able to defeat Hamas so far. I am marching today in the hope that the Zionists’ plans will be frustrated more.

“The release of Palestinian hostages is a reason to be happy, and it would not have happened without a Palestinian fightback.”

Israel has murdered around 15,000 people in Gaza in 50 days. But its forces have also faced resistance. Its military admits to 70 soldiers dead in the ground offensive. 

Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades spokesperson Abu Obaida said on Thursday, “Our fighters have partially or completely destroyed 335 Israeli tanks and armoured personnel carriers since the beginning of the ground Israeli offensive.”

All of this makes a renewed war likely. Cabinet minister, and former opposition leader,  Benny Gantz said, “We will not stop, we will resume the efforts and the military action in Gaza to retrieve the hostages and restore deterrence.” 

Israel military chief of staff Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi said the military is “not ending the war.” “We will continue until we are victorious, going forward and continuing in other Hamas areas,” he said.

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