Councillor Maroof Raouf spoke at the Rally “Stop the War on Gaza, Stop the Genocide” on Saturday.

This Wednesday (Nov 1st) there will be a debate in Full Council about the issue. Videos of other speeches and songs from the rally are here.  More information about Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign here. 


Greens at the Stop the War on Gaza rally. 28th Oct 2023
Cllr Tina Gilligan, Cllr Alexi Dimond, Peter Gilbert, Cllr Maroof Raouf and Cllr Bernard Little


Here is Maroof’s speech.

Long live Palestine!

My name is Maroof Raouf and I stand in front of you today not as a Green Party councillor for Nether Edge and Sharrow, I stand in front of you as a human who cares about humanity.

I want peace. You want peace. The people of Palestine want peace. The Israeli government does not.

I and many of you here today agree that there should be an equal application of law. That means the equal upholding of rights, the equal protection of all humans in Palestine. The Israeli government does not.

The issue with the issue in Palestine is with the occupier. The issue is with the colonizer. The issue is that the Israeli government that has laid siege to the Palestinians. The issue is with the government of the UK and it’s opposition parties, including Labour, who have agreed that Israel has a right to continue with the genocide of the Palestinian people. The issue is those, especially in that building over there, who through their silence have chosen to side with genocide, rather than humanity.

The people in Gaza don’t have food. The people in Gaza don’t have money. The people in Gaza don’t have water. The people in Gaza don’t have energy. The people in Gaza don’t have the media. But the people in Gaza do have the truth. They have you and many others like you who will continue to support their cause for the chance to live their lives free from oppression.

I stand with the oppressed, not with the oppressor. You stand with the oppressed, not with the oppressor.

Through his actions, the Labour leader of Sheffield City Council has shown he stands with the oppressor. That is why the Green Party have given notice of motion calling for an immediate ceasefire and for the government to vote for this at the UN; to cease all arms sales and end military aid to Israel; and to call on Israel to resume negotiations with Palestine for a fair and equitable two state solution. The open-air prison of Gaza is not a solution. And I trust my Labour colleagues here today will vote for that motion on Wednesday.

In fact, Gaza is not an open-air prison.

Prisons are where criminals go. Prisons are where you get access to three meals a day. You can get access to clean water. You get access to healthcare. You get access to some form of dignity. None of these apply to Gaza, who have for the last 16 years been under an illegal blockade. Gaza is an open-air concentration camp! Three are innocent men, women, children, and babies in this concentration camp who are being ethnically cleansed today. Let us be clear.

This is a genocide.
This is a genocide.
This is a genocide!

Currently over 7000 Palestinian civilians have been slaughtered compared to 1400 Israelis. Is that a good enough exchange rate for Palestinian lives to Israelis? I ask the Council Leader, Councillor Hunt, at what exchange rate will he finally be happy with to publicly call for a full and immediate ceasefire? Are over five Palestinian lives to one Israeli life not good enough for him? Does he want a greater exchange rate of human life? I encourage you to ask your elected leaders in Burngreave, in Firth Park, in Darnall, in Nether Edge, in Ecclesall, in all areas of Sheffield; What is the going rate of human lives they will be happy with.

Stopping access to food and medicine to Gaza is collective punishment. Shutting energy and communication to Gaza is collective punishment. Stopping water to Gaza is collective punishment. Blocking people, including our very own British nationals, from fleeing Gaza is collective punishment. Telling people in Gaza
to flee to the south or they will be deemed partners of Hamas is a precursor to collective punishment. Razing Gaza So only rubble is left is collective punishment. All of us here today know that collective punishment is prohibited by international law.

It is a war crime.
It is a war crime.
It is a war crime!

Hamas is not Palestine. Over 2,700 children and babies have been massacred in Palestine. Were they Hamas? Were these poor babies, who couldn’t even say the word
“terrorist”, were they terrorists too? Hamas is not running the West Bank. What is the excuse for the Israelis murdering Palestinians in the West Bank? Let us not forget that terrorists are those who murder innocent women, children, and babies. Terrorists are those who bomb hospitals, schools, mosques, and churches. So who are the real terrorists? Because from where I am standing, it looks like Sheffield City Council deliberately chose to fly the flag of a terrorist nation two and a half weeks ago.

You don’t have to be Muslim to support Palestine.
You don’t have to be Muslim to care about Gaza.
You don’t have to be Muslim to stand up for Gaza.
You do not have to be any faith to stand up for humanity.

You only have to be human.

Long live Palestine!

Free, free Palestine!
Free, free Palestine!