The protest was organised by the Newcastle Palestine Solidarity Campaign (NPSC) and featured speeches from local activists, student groups and members of the public, many of whom have family living in Gaza.
People spoke of missing loved ones, and of frustration at news coverage of the conflict and subsequent pro-Palestinian demonstrations, which they labelled as Islamophobic.
The protest at Monument on 14 October was followed by a march to the BBC’s regional headquarters on Saturday, where protesters handed in letters of complaint and a petition concerning bias in the BBC’s reporting of the conflict.
One speaker called out the lack of ‘condemnation when Palestinian children are slaughtered’, asking ‘why is it that nobody cares when Palestinians are the victims?’.
Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian territories began in June 1967, after a six-day war between it and neighbouring states. The peace process has been ongoing ever since, involving dozens of peace treaties, negotiations, and nonaggression agreements.
Palestine is split into two isolated portions of land: the densely populated Gaza Strip, and the much larger West Bank. The West Bank is mostly under the control of the Israeli Government, with the remainder being administered by the Palestinian National Authority.
The Gaza Strip is under the exclusive control of Hamas, which has been designated a terrorist organisation by the UK Government. Despite this, Amnesty International still describes Israel’s administration of Palestine as a ‘system of apartheid’ due to its ‘policies of land confiscation, illegal settlement’ and ‘rampant discrimination’.
Over the course of the conflict, media coverage has become more critical of the actions of the Israeli military (IDF), including suggestions that they were the source of a missile that killed 500 civilians at the Al-Ahli Hospital on Tuesday.
International outcry over the bombing has led leaders of some countries to cancel diplomatic visits to the region. The American President Joe Biden has remained resolute in his support of Israel and is against a proposed ceasefire, telling a press conference that ‘terrorists will not win. Freedom will win’.
In the UK, a recent YouGov poll found that 58% of respondents believed that ‘there definitely should’ be ‘an immediate ceasefire in Israel and Palestine’.
Another protest organised by Newcastle PSC is scheduled to take place on Saturday 27 October at the Civic Centre.