Derek Chauvin was the Minneapolis policeman who killed George Floyd on 25th May. Donald Trump stated that the policeman snapped. But he didn’t, the videos show a casual sense of entitlement from a white policeman using extreme force on a non resisting black man. Alarmed passers by were telling Chauvin that what he was doing was dangerous. The policeman’s experience of 18 years on the force and 18 complaints was that he was doing nothing wrong and there would be no serious consequences.
Five days later, half a world away another group of policemen confronted Iyad Halak. Iyad was autistic and on his way to a special school in East Jerusalem. For over 50 years Israeli police have exercised unquestioned power over the local population. They have presided over the steady displacing of Palestinians by ethnic Jews. Iyad’s carer told the police in Hebrew and in Arabic that he was autistic. They yelled at him, he panicked and ran, so they shot him. When he was wounded on the floor they killed him. Netanyahu said sorry and the world looked away.
On Saturday there was a massive demonstration in Sheffield under the banner of Black Lives Matter. Ours was part of a worldwide wave of protest that is challenging ingrained assumptions of the powerful. Slave owners should be reviled rather than holding pride of place in our public squares. Chauvin is being charged with murder and the other three policemen with aiding and abetting murder.
I believe that the movement that is bringing justice to the killers of George Floyd by challenging racism can help bring justice for the Palestinians.
For fifty years Israel has been taking Palestinian land and water. Its military have killed with impunity. Against the bckground of Israel threatening more land confiscation – and this time on a massive scale – Palestinian family, in East Jerusalem, is due to be evicted from its home in two weeks time. The Sumarin family lived continuously in the family home from before Israel overran East Jerusalem in 1967. The only justification for it is that they are Palestinians. It is part of a land grab by the Jewish National Fund and a settler organisation. The Israeli Government is planning to annex the Jordan valley, taking yet more land. It sees no problem in this.
Britain has supported Israel since the Balfour declaration in 1917. Its official position is that the Israeli settlements are illegal under International Law. Its practice is to give diplomatic, military and economic aid to Israel. Pressure from below will be needed to turn nominal opposition to Israeli land thefts to real opposition.
Early Day Motion 529 opposes the eviction of the Sumarin family. So far it has 60 MPs. supporting it.
You can ask your MP to sign here.
You can see a film explaining the issues here.