Pro-Palestinians being ‘allowed to march in favour of terrorists’, Truss claims
The remarks by the former prime minister come as demonstrators prepare for a ‘day of action’ to call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.
Former prime minister Liz Truss has said people are being “allowed” to demonstrate “in favour of terrorists” as more pro-Palestinian marches take place across the UK on Saturday.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has arranged a country-wide “day of action” to demand a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.
Fighting has resumed between Tel Aviv and the Palestinian military group following a week-long truce that allowed hostages being held in Gaza to be released, along with Palestinian prisoners who had been incarcerated in Israel.
There are fears of further civilian casualties after Israel dropped leaflets on Friday warning residents to leave the southern part of the strip where two million people — almost the entire Gazan population — are based.
The conflict, sparked by Hamas’s deadly assault on Israel on October 7, has led to regular protests in support of the Palestinians in the UK since the bloodshed started.
Ms Truss, who has been on a trip to the United States this week as part of a delegation with the Conservative Friends of Ukraine, suggested the protests showed the “woke left” would “rather support authoritarian regimes” than the West.
Speaking to the right-wing US broadcaster Fox News while in Washington DC, the Conservative MP said: “On the streets of London, I see people demonstrating in favour of terrorists, and that being allowed to happen.
“And you’ve got the trans extremists, the eco extremists, the anti-capitalists, the degrowth-ers.
“They are about saying, ‘The way of life that we have in Britain or America, that is not the right way of life.
“‘Actually, we would rather support terrorists, we’d rather support authoritarian regimes’.”
Former home secretary Suella Braverman had branded the protests “hate marches” before she was sacked by the Prime Minister.
Rishi Sunak, who succeeded Ms Truss after the fallout from her disastrous mini-budget led to her becoming Britain’s shortest-serving prime minister, is reportedly looking to tighten the law to make it easier to ban marches and prosecute those glorifying terrorism.
More than 80 people have been charged in the UK over alleged hate crimes and violence linked to pro-Palestinian protests since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas conflict.
There has been controversy about those on the marches chanting the phrase “from the river to the sea”, which critics have claimed is antisemitic, while some attendees have been accused of showing support for Hamas.
The militant organisation is proscribed as a terror group in the UK and support for it is banned.
Former No 10 incumbent Ms Truss said anti-Western sentiment was “not the view of the vast majority” of Britons and that her constituents in South West Norfolk were “frustrated” that such ideology “is not being taken on enough by Conservatives”.
“This is why we need Conservative leadership to actually take on the leftists, show strength in the face of aggressors abroad, so that we can revive the values that most people in our societies are desperate for,” she said.
“They believe in family, they believe in freedom, they believe in Anglo-American values.
“The problem is that so much of the public debate is now dominated by the woke left.
“You can see that here in Washington DC, you can see that in London, you can see that right across Europe.”
Pro-Palestinian protesters are expected to gather across the UK, with the PSC arranging ceasefire rallies and vigils in places such as London, Cardiff, Hull and Coventry.
Israel pounded targets on Saturday in the southern Gaza Strip as it pursues Hamas targets following the resumption of violence.
Most Gazans are in the area after Israel urged people to relocate there at the war’s start, a move that left three-quarters of the population displaced and facing widespread shortages of food, water and other supplies.
In a move that appears to hint that the Israel Defence Forces plans to extend its ground assault, Palestinians are being urged to move out of the south.
Unable to go into the battleground of north Gaza or neighbouring Egypt, their only escape is to move around within the 85 sq mile area.
Lord Ricketts, who served as the UK’s first national security adviser, said Israel is in danger of causing “massive civilian casualties” if it takes the fight to Hamas in southern Gaza.
The peer told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “They’ve got an increasing dilemma.
“They ordered a million people from the north to leave into the south.
“They now have two million people there, many of them displaced, many of them living out in the open.
“They simply can’t use the same kind of armoured all-out assault that they used in the north without massive civilian casualties.”
He said Tel Aviv’s plan to destroy Hamas “seems to me to be impossible” due to the political and social nature of the organisation.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has reiterated his call for a “further pause or further cessation of hostilities” so that “we can build on what happened in the days” when the truce, which allowed for about 105 hostages taken from Israel to be freed, was in place.
Speaking to the BBC during his trip to Dubai for the Cop28 climate summit, he urged both sides, while the fighting is continuing, to attempt to limit the impact on civilians.
The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry has said that at least 200 Palestinians have been killed since the fighting resumed on Friday morning, bringing the death toll within the territory to beyond 15,200.
Some 1,200 Israelis were killed when Hamas carried out its raids almost two months ago.
Sir Keir said: “While we are in this phase of resumption, it is important for me to say that we can’t go back to the way the first phase of this war was conducted.
“Too many people, innocent individuals, have lost their lives in Israel and across Gaza.
“We can’t go back to where we were just a week or so ago. We have to see this as a different stage.”