Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD this afternoon addressed the March for Palestine in London and called for an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East.
“This week, South Africa has shown others what it means to lead. The case for an immediate and permanent ceasefire is unanswerable. Israel must be held to account, the slaughter must end now, governments everywhere must call for ceasefires. The international effort must now be for peace and Palestinian self-determination.
“Together, we stand with Palestine. United, in our thousands, in our millions, an international movement for freedom and justice. We won’t remain silent while Palestinians are slaughtered. We won’t stay quiet about Israel’s apartheid.
“We won’t be silenced in the face of genocide – a genocide that is broadcast every day for nearly one hundred days now. For nearly one hundred days, the impoverished, dispossessed, refugee population of Gaza have faced annihilation – a horrific crescendo of apartheid that has brutalised generations of Palestinians.
“For nearly one hundred days, the mothers and fathers of Gaza have wept an ocean of tears over the still bodies of their dead children. Gaza, the graveyard of children, and the world looks on in horror and shouts loudly for a ceasefire, but some choose to look the other way.
“Some believe that Israel can act with impunity, rain hell on a civilian population, decimate a civilian infrastructure – hospitals, schools, refugee camps, terrorise children, steal their lives, without consequence.
“Perhaps that is the greatest obscenity, a long playing obscenity. Israel seeks to justify its barbarity calling it self-defence. Destroying hospitals, cutting off water supplies is not self-defence. Displacing an entire population is not self-defence. Massacring children is their thousands is not self-defence.
“This week, South Africa has shown others what it means to lead. The case for an immediate, permanent ceasefire is unanswerable. The refusal to support an immediate, permanent ceasefire is unconscionable.
“The world stands at a crossroads and there is a choice to be made. We’re told the world order is based on human rights, justice and the rule of law. We now demand human rights, justice, and the rule of law for Palestine, for Gaza, for the West Bank.
“We demand that Israel is held to account, that the slaughter ends now, that governments everywhere call for ceasefires. That the international effort is now for peace and Palestinian self-determination.
“The Nakba, the Palestinian nightmare, has gone on too long. We seek a new horizon of freedom, of peace, of security. To the cynics, the indifferent, the belligerent, who say that this can’t happen, that peace and Palestinian freedom is a dream too far.
“I say this standing here in London, in common cause with you, having walked our own long journey out of conflict, of building a peace for twenty-five years. I say this can happen, this must happen, that all of us must ensure it will happen.”