#IsraeliLivesMatter: London protest condemning ‘Palestinian incitement’ challenged
Pro-Palestine groups are gathering in response to a protest organized by the pro-Israel Board of Deputies, the Zionist Federation (ZF) and others, assembled under the Twitter hashtag #IsraeliLivesMatter to oppose a recent surge in stabbings around Jerusalem and the Occupied Territories.
The escalating attacks follow clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and at holy sites in Jerusalem which have fueled fears of a third Intifada or Palestinian uprising.
Despite calls by pro-Israel groups for the Palestinian Authority (PA) to condemn the attacks, no such statement has been forthcoming. Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies, has called the lack of a response “nothing short of disgraceful.”
The choice of hashtag has angered pro-Palestinian groups. Eighty people have signed a letter to the ZF and Board of Deputies, which reads: “When Jewish organizations, who claim to represent the voice of British Jewry, say only that ‘#IsraeliLivesMatter,’ it shames us as people who care about the lives of everyone in the region.”
Richard Verber, vice president of the Board of Deputies, told the Jewish Chronicle newspaper: “The ZF’s hashtag may have been misinterpreted by some, but it is simply being used to highlight the media’s poor coverage of the indiscriminate stabbings which have taken place throughout Israel.
“We will be outside the Palestinian mission to respectfully mourn the deaths of those who have lost their lives and hold [Palestinian president] Abbas to account given that Shin Bet have said PA and Fatah officials are involved in incitement.
“We urge all those attending to follow the advice of the police and CST [Community Security Trust] given the potential for counter-protests,” he added.
Tuesday saw a wave of attacks at locations in Jerusalem, Raanana and Haifa.
The most serious attack took place in Armon HaNatziv area of Jerusalem, where two terrorists reportedly shot and stabbed commuters on a city bus. They were shot dead by a police officer who was at the scene.
At least 16 people were wounded and eight are in serious condition. Haaretz reports two of the victims have died. One of the attackers was killed by police, while the other is in a serious condition.
On Friday, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) released a statement condemning Israeli violence against Palestinians.
“Over the last seven days, at least 900 Palestinians have been injured; attacks over the last week have left 11 Palestinians and Israelis dead,” PSC chair Hugh Lanning said.
“Protests are widespread, from occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank to Gaza – where at the time of writing a further six Palestinians have just been shot dead at a protest. Palestinian citizens of Israel are also on the streets – yesterday Israeli police used stun grenades to attack a rally in Nazareth.”
He said accused the media of failing to be even-handed in its reporting of the conflict. He said “the violence of Israeli occupation and colonization” lie at the root.