'You are not welcome': Pro-Palestinian protesters rally against Netanyahu's UK visit
Pro-Palestinian groups rallied in central London on Friday to protest a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a new trade and military agreement between the UK and Israel.
Netanyahu was hosted by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at his residence on 10 Downing Street where he was faced with hundreds of protesters, angered by the massive human rights abuses in the West Bank and a deal that seals closer ties between the two countries until 2030.
This document states that the relationship between the UK and Israel "has never been stronger", despite the outrages of Netanyahu's new government, which includes far-right ministers who have called for wiping out Palestinian villages.
Ayesha Shah, Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), said Sunak is "not speaking for the British public" by entertaining Netanyahu in London and called on the UK government to ensure the rights of Palestinians are respected.
Ben Jamal, director of the PSC, told The New Arab: "The first message to Benjamin Netanyahu is that you are not welcome here. We do not want war criminals, violators of international law, and the purveyors of apartheid [in] the UK."
Jewish anti-occupation groups and other pro-Palestine protesters took part in the rally, which comes as 90 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank so far this year, following a series of violent raids by Israeli forces.
"We are here against Benjamin Netanyahu… just yesterday a 23-year-old Palestinian was killed," said Maryam Ofkir, an organiser for the SOAS Palestine Committee.
"Israeli forces have killed... with full impunity. Israel has to be held accountable for war crimes."
The 2030 roadmap has caused significant outrage in the UK, least of all with the Palestinian Mission in London.
"The 2030 agreement represents an abdication of the UK’s responsibilities under international law and the UK’s unique historic responsibility for the Palestinian issue," said Palestinian Mission Ambassador Husam Zomlot.
"The document effectively shields Israel by denouncing attempts to refer Israel to the International Court of Justice as an 'inappropriate measure' and denouncing what it defines as a 'disproportionate focus' on Israel at the UN."
The 2030 document claims that both Israel and the UK are clear that "democratic norms are the mainstay for maintaining a rules-based international system and respect for universal human rights".
It says nothing about the two-state solution, nor about the increasing incidents of settler violence across the occupied West Bank, and stays silent on the continued oppression of the Palestinian people.