Scotland Yard’s deputy commissioner has promised London’s Jewish community they will ‘deal with’ Hamas supporters after the terrorists attacked Israel – but won’t crackdown on people waving Palestinian flags.
Lynne Owens condemned the barbaric attack by Hamas who have murdered or kidnapped more than 1,200 people.
In the 833-word open letter, Ms Owens warned those that support the terrorist group are breaking the law and will be ‘dealt with’, but those that wave a Palestinian flag are not committing an offence.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman visited Golders Green alongside Ms Owens on Monday and has written to police chiefs urging them to use the ‘full force of the law’ against shows of support for Hamas.
Community Security Trust (CST), a charity that supports British Jewish people, said antisemitic hate crimes had tripled in the four days after Hamas terrorists attacked Israel.
The nearly 90 incidents recorded include ‘Jewphobic’ schoolchildren cornering and blaming a Jewish pupil for killing Palestinians and a van driver in London’s Oxford Street shouting ‘you f***ing Jew I will kill you whole’.
Palestine supporters protested outside the Israel London embassy this week and clashed with Israel supporters in ugly scenes which resulted in three arrests
Scotland Yard’s deputy commissioner Lynne Owens (right) has written an 833-word open letter to London’s Jewish community vowing to ‘deal with’ Hamas supporters (Pictured: Suella Braverman with Met Chief Inspector Rob Gibbs (left) and Ms Owens in Golders Green)
Smoke billows during an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Thousands of people, both Israeli and Palestinians, have died since Hamas terrorists attacked Israel
While Israel and Palestine supporters had to be separated and police made three arrests after a protest outside Israel’s London embassy turned ugly.
‘Hamas is a proscribed terrorist organisation under UK law. Hezbollah is too. Anyone who expresses support for these organisations, waves their flag, holds up a placard or directly expresses support for them is committing an offence and can expect to be dealt with,’ she said.
‘The law on this is very clear, but it is also very specific and we have to act within it.
‘What we cannot do is interpret support for the Palestinian cause more broadly as automatically being support for Hamas or any other proscribed group, even when it follows so soon after an attack carried out by that group and when to many the link seems indisputable.
‘An expression of support for the Palestinian people more broadly, including flying the Palestinian flag, does not, alone, constitute a criminal offence.’
Ms Owens said Scotland Yard was ready to help the Government get Britons home from Israel if needed as the Foreign Office said today the UK will fly those stranded out of Tel Aviv.
‘I know too that many people will be worried about their safety here, in London. Nobody should be concerned about their child’s journey to school, their safety on a bus or a train, their visit to the shops, or to a place of worship,’ she said.
More pro-Palestine protests are planned in the coming days – raising the prospect of clashes between activists defending Palestinians and supporters of Israel. Rival groups had to be kept apart during a demonstration on Monday in Kensington, West London.
Palestinian and Israeli supporters have clashed at a London Underground station as police desperately try and keep the peace
Israeli flags were being waves while Palestinian posters can be seen in the background
Video showed dozens of police officers attempting to divide demonstrators at High Street Kensington Tube station while a pro-Palestine rally took place outside
Smoke fills the air in west London as pro-Palestine protesters continue their demonstration
People take part in a Palestine Solidarity Campaign demonstration near the Israeli Embassy
There was a significant police presence in the Royal borough throughout the evening
In the street outside a large crowd lit flares and chanted ‘Israel is a terrorist state’, ‘Free Palestine’ and ‘Allahu akbar’.
Protesters also let off fireworks, some directed at the boarded up embassy. The Met made three arrests, one for assault on an emergency worker, another for racially-motivated criminal damage and the third for possessing an offensive weapon.
The CST said the number of ‘anti-Jewish racist’ incidents had rocketed by 324 per cent compared to the same period last year.
The charity said: ‘Make no mistake: these are anti-Jewish racist incidents and hate crimes in which Jewish people, property and institutions are singled out for hate, including death threats and abuse.
‘In many cases, the perpetrators of these disgraceful incidents are using the symbols and language of pro-Palestinian politics as rhetorical weapons with which to threaten and abuse Jewish people.’
A Jewish school in London has cancelled detentions and told pupils they don’t have to wear blazers, while others in the capital and Manchester have stepped up security over fears of a rise in antisemitism.
While the Metropolitan Police has ramped up patrols in response to a ‘number of incidents’ of people celebrating the attack on Israel.