Rachel Blundy — London Evening Standard July 22, 2014
Arsenal fans joined a pro-Palestine protest in west London as fighting intensifies in the Middle East.
The group of supporters were spotted with a banner which read ‘Gooners Against Apartheid’ and ‘Free Palestine’ at a march in Kensington High Street this evening.
The demonstration, organised by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC), is one of several to be staged outside the Israeli Embassy recently.
More than 600 Palestinians are believed to have killed and thousands more have been injured by Israeli army attacks since July 7, when the conflict in Gaza was reignited.
Campaigners are set to take part in another protest on Saturday, when they will march from the Embassy to Westminster.
They are calling on the UK government to put pressure on Israel to stop attacks on civilians.
In a statement online yesterday, the PSC said: “The Government is refusing to act to end the slaughter, and respect Palestinian lives.
“The new Foreign Secretary said “Israel has the right to defend itself”.
“Israel is not defending itself: this attack on Gaza is simply the latest stage in a long, brutal, illegal, military occupation.
“We demand that the British government calls for an immediate end of Israel’s action – which is fundamentally based on the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”
Today UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said it was his “hope and belief” that his emergency mission to the Middle East will lead to an end to the fighting between Hamas and Israel “in the very near future”.
Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the international community must hold Hamas accountable for rejecting multiple cease-fire offers and continuing its attacks against Israeli civilians.
Mr Netanyahu said Hamas was “like al-Qaida” and it must be dealt with accordingly.
Overnight, Israel bombed five mosques, a sports complex and the home of the late Hamas military chief, a Gaza police official said.
The Israel military announced earlier that two more soldiers had died – one from sniper fire yesterday and one from as yet unexplained causes – bringing the military death toll to 27.
It is the highest number of Israeli military fatalities for any campaign since the 2006 Lebanon war. Two Israeli civilians have also been killed in the latest conflict.