A few dozen young people in London recited Kaddish, the Jewish mourning prayer, for fatalities in Gaza whom a Hamas official had said mostly belonged to his organization.
The activists gathered outside Parliament Square Wednesday, reading the names of the 62 Gazan Palestinians listed by the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza as killed in clashes Monday and Tuesday between tens of thousands of protesters and Israeli troops guarding the border with Gaza. The riots were part of a march organized by Hamas whose stated goal was to breach the border fence and cross into Israel.
Israel accused the Hamas terror group of encouraging the protests and using them as cover to attempt to carry out terror attacks, including firing at troops and attempting to breach the border fence.
Salah Bardawil, a Hamas lawmaker and spokesperson in Khan Younis, on Wednesday said that 50 out of the 62 people listed as killed Monday were members of his organization. Islamic Jihad, another terrorist group, said three other fatalities were its members.
The group gathered outside the British houses of parliament sang songs and read out the 62 names, before reciting the Kaddish prayer.
The list of names began with Layla Ghandour, an 8-month-old baby who Dr. Ashraf Al-Qudra, director of public relations for the ministry, on Tuesday listed as killed by Israel. On Wednesday, amid reports she had a preexisting medical condition, he told The Times of Israel that the cause of her death was unknown.
“When Palestinians stand resolute on the Gazan border [for] their freedom and their right to return, they are not committing acts of terrorism, they are performing a mitzvah,” one of the speakers at the Kaddish for Gaza event said.
“I am here because I refuse to sit by as my community doesn’t condemn outrageous acts of violence,” a participant said. Another said: I’m here because I’m sick of listening to [people] equivocate and make excuses for Israel.”
A woman interrupted the gathering, telling the group, “I’m here to tell each one of you: Shame on you.” She was shoved away from the event by a tall man who stood in front of her phone to prevent her from filming the event.
A man began swearing and shouting that 50 of those killed were identified as Hamas members. He told the assembled group, “They would have fucking killed you if you were there. If you are Jews they would have killed you.”
He told the group that they would be held responsible for any future deaths.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews in a statement Wednesday said it was “profoundly anguished at the violent scenes and loss of life at the Israel-Gaza border,” but added, “The responsibility for the violence lies with Hamas, a terrorist organization with the explicit stated aim of murdering Israeli civilians and the ultimate destruction of the State of Israel.”