UK Friends of Standing Together @omdimbeyachadUK

“A week of heavy emotions” (11 June)

We republish a report from Rula Daood, National Co-Director of Standing Together.

This has been one of the most emotional and overwhelming weeks thus far. Last week was Jerusalem Day, a day that marks the anniversary of the capture and occupation of East Jerusalem and its’ Holy sites in the 1967 war. On this day every year, extremist settlers participate in the flag march – a violent, racist march in Jerusalem that goes through the Muslim quarter of the old city. It is a day in which we Palestinians hear them chant for our deaths and watch them as they violently attack our shops and homes while being encouraged by right-wing government ministers and protected by the Israeli police. This year, I refused to stay silent and watch these attacks unfold.  

We gathered activists and members from the Humanitarian Guard and went to the old city to prevent acts of violence and de-escalate the events towards Palestinians living in the area. Of course, the Israeli police responded immediately to our actions, taking away our ID’s and moving us from the area, but that did not stop us; we stayed in Jerusalem to do what we could to protect people from the attacks.

Our determination to call out to the public did not stop here. Throughout the week, we flooded the country with billboards and banners on major roads in Israel that say “Accept the deal. End the war. NOW.” We are demanding that our government accept the ceasefire & hostage release deal proposal and commit to an end to the war. We also marched the streets this weekend chanting the same message, despite the violent acts of Israeli police officers spraying us down with water and physically attacking and arresting Standing Together activists.

This Saturday [8 June] was an incredibly emotional day. It was a relief to see that four Israeli hostages were rescued from Hamas’ captivity, yet it came at the high price of over 200 Palestinians being killed in the Nuseirat Refugee camp. Every innocent life that has been lost is a life that could have been saved if there was a deal. As the days go by, the lives of both Palestinians and the remaining Israeli hostages in Gaza are at serious risk. It’s now more crucial than ever to push the Israeli government to accept the proposed deal for a ceasefire and hostage deal. Every life matters –  we cannot get used to this cycle of  empty promises and never-ending war.