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Vigil to be held for ‘all those suffering’ in Israeli-Palestinian conflict

People will gather outside Downing Street at 3pm on Sunday to ‘speak out against both antisemitism and anti-Muslim hate’.

Gwyn Wright
Tuesday 28 November 2023 00:01 GMT
Brendan Cox co-founded the Together coalition
Brendan Cox co-founded the Together coalition (PA Archive)

Grieving family members whose loved ones have been killed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will lead a vigil this weekend “for all those suffering” because of the most recent outbreak of fighting.

They will gather outside Downing Street at 3pm on Sunday to “speak out against both antisemitism and anti-Muslim hate”, organisers said.

The event, called Building Bridges, together for Humanity, will see faith leaders and politicians join grieving families “in the first mass event of its kind” since Hamas militants entered Israel on October 7.

Thousands of lanterns are expected to be lit to bring people together “in shared grief for all those who have been lost”.

Speakers will include British-Israeli Magen Inon, whose parents were both killed by Hamas on October 7, Palestinian peace activist Hamze Awawde, and Brendan Cox, who co-founded the Together coalition which is helping to organise the event.

We know communities in the UK live alongside each other very well and what we don't want to do is import the dynamics of the conflict in Israel and Palestine

Brendan Cox, co-founder of the Together coalition

Mr Cox, whose wife, MP Jo Cox, was murdered by a far-right extremist in 2016, told the PA news agency he hopes the vigil will “give voice to the vast majority of the British public who are upset when a child is killed whether it is Palestinian or Israeli”.

He added: “The loudest and most extreme voices have drowned out the vast majority of the public.

“What this is designed to do is give them that voice.

“We know communities in the UK live alongside each other very well and what we don’t want to do is import the dynamics of the conflict in Israel and Palestine.

People want to be able to express their grief and their pain for what they are seeing, but they don’t want to do that whilst taking a side or, even if they have, they don’t want to do it in such a way which excludes others.”

He described the vigil as “just the beginning”, with more events planned across the UK on December 13, adding that people are “crying out for this kind of opportunity”.

It is unbelievable that while mourning the murder of both my parents I have to witness extremists use our grief and tragedy to promote their hatred

British-Israeli Magen Inon

Mr Inon said: “It is unbelievable that while mourning the murder of both my parents I have to witness extremists use our grief and tragedy to promote their hatred.

“This wouldn’t have been my parents’ wish. They had friends and colleagues from diverse backgrounds and always treated people with respect.

“They would have wanted the society in which their grandchildren grow up to be based on those values of humanity and solidarity.

“It is up to us to continue their legacy, for them, for us, and for our children.”

Mr Awawde, who lives in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, said: “The pain and suffering this war has unleashed is unimaginable.

“In the West Bank where my immediate family live we are deeply traumatised by the current and ongoing situation.

“Just last week my cousin was shot in the leg in West Bank town of Dura.  But if anyone thinks stoking antisemitism and anti-Muslim hatred is the best response, you are wrong.

“We can only solve this conflict in the long term if we stop dehumanising each other.

“Please don’t make this conflict even worse by importing its tensions into the UK.

“Instead people should channel their energies into lobbying the Government to support peace and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.”

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