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ConflictsMiddle East

Israelis, Palestinians in London call for end to conflict

Birgit Maass
December 8, 2023

As the fighting in Gaza polarizes the world, London, too, has seen regular marches in support of Israel or Palestinians. But a group of Israelis, Palestinians and others are urging people to break the endless cycle of hate and overcome the divide.


Magen Inon is the son of a vegetable farmer. Preparing salads for his children in his kitchen in London reminds him of home. Home, that was a wooden house in Israel, in a small village near the Gaza strip. Both his parents were inside it when it was attacked on 7th October and completely burned down.
(Magen Inon, teacher)
"What was murdered here goes beyond my parents. It feels as if was my childhood that was murdered that day."
Magen Inon, his wife and kids spent many happy summers with his parents there, where he grew up.
(Magen Inon)
"There's almost nothing left. Both my parents really loved working in the garden."
Immediately after his parents were killed, he and his siblings made a pact: to not give in to hatred.
That's why he’s here, at a vigil in central London: "Together for Humanity", it's called. Jews, Muslims, Christians and non-believers. Ordinary Londoners standing side by side.
 (Magen Inon)
"To move forward, we should recognize the suffering and loss of innocent lives of both sides."
The activists here say they face pressures to take sides. And indeed, they might have different political views. But they all refuse to give in to polarization.
(Magen Inon)
"It sounds naive at the moment, but moving forward towards some kind of more peaceful situation, it provides meaning. Everything else is rather meaningless."
(Mira Awad, Palestinian peace activist)
"If we keep going through the cycle, we are going to come back to the same result, which is destruction and death. There is no other alternative than to remind people that we have to end this, we have to share the space."
The candles here are lit for all the victims, not just for one side.

Magen Inon has impressed the most senior cleric of the Church of England, who attends the vigil. 
(Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury)
"Where we swim against the stream, with forgiveness, with looking for building something rather than destroying, we can change other people. He's caught that vision, and he's a most extraordinary man."
Magen Inon says the Middle East conflict can only be resolved by people seeing each other's humanity.