The brutal Israeli bombing of Gaza is provoking increasing opposition and revulsion, sparking a series of protests around the world.
The number of Palestinians killed neared 1,000 over the weekend according to UN estimates. Over 160,000 Palestinians ordered by Israel to evacuate have taken refuge in UN buildings and schools. Last Thursday one of these schools was shelled by Israel, killing 16 inside.
The West Bank in Palestine saw the largest protests since the end of the Second Intifada in 2005, with two killed and scores wounded in clashes with the Israeli police.
In Europe, despite a ban by the Socialist Party government, thousands protested in France and were dispersed by police, who made 50 arrests.
London saw some of the largest protests worldwide, with 45,000 taking to the streets. Large protests were also held across in India, Korea, Indonesia, Spain, Ireland, and many other countries.
Elsewhere in the United States, 2,000-3,000 rallied in New York City’s Times Square, and WSWS reporters spoke to protesters in Chicago and Portland.
The Chicago demonstration Saturday afternoon was attended by more than 10,000 people.
Ismail denounced US support for Israel’s crimes. “They’re just killing children. Kids are dying. Palestine is my home, where I was born, and I’m very upset. I live in the United States now and it really upsets me that my tax dollars are going to fund this war. Our government supports these crimes. They are cutting Social Security, and they have no money for social programs but then they have money for these wars. I agree with you that we should unite workers from the United States, Israel and the Middle East against this war.”
Justin, a community college student interested in studying film, said, “It’s basic human rights that they are violating here and everywhere. We shouldn’t have borders or be divided by race or religion. They have money for a war on terror and killing innocent civilians, but they have no money for education here at home. We have a huge wealth gap in this country and it keeps getting bigger.
“What we need is a revolution, like what happened in Egypt.”
Rizwan, a recent graduate in engineering, originally from Pakistan, called the bombing of Gaza “unbelievable.”
“It’s a crime against humanity. We need more love and humanity. But Israel is acting like a terrorist state. And all the Arab countries are sleeping too. They are doing nothing. There’s a chain of support for Israel in the Middle East, from the US to Egypt, and the decades of occupation of the Palestinian people. There’s a real chain of support in funding for Israel. We have to rise up against such crimes and evils.”
“It’s a war against children,” said Isra, a high school student. “They’re using Hamas as an excuse. There’s no proof Hamas kidnapped those Israeli kids. This is just an excuse for Israel to go on a rampage and destroy innocent people. In my own village where I grew up in Palestine they are bombing it. They claim this as self-defense? That Hamas was using ‘human shields?’ No, they’re murderers. International governments are helping these murderers, including America.”
In downtown Portland, Oregon, over a thousand demonstrators gathered at Pioneer Courthouse Square. A march through the downtown area grew as participants joined in. Marchers chanted, “Not another nickel, not another dime! No more money for Israeli crime!” In a reference to the Vietnam era slogan directed at President Johnson, marchers yelled out, “President Obama, can you say, how many kids were killed today.”
Chelsea said that now was “one of those moments in history where 30 years from now I will ask, ‘What did I do?’ This is ongoing genocide! This is happening now! I thought of going to the politicians but then I realized that was not going to work.”
Amina saw the invasion as a sign of a historical dead-end: “It’s heartbreaking to see children being killed. I think its complete genocide. I watched a video in which they shot a boy running away. How does Israel justify its defense by killing women and children? The facts just don’t add up. I heard that as with the fall of Rome and the German [WWII] occupation, the United States is following the same pattern.”
Heather denounced Obama’s support for Israel: “I’m here because of the children. I couldn’t stand the crime anymore. In terms of the amount of money given to Israel for this military operation, I am opposed to that. I voted for Obama because I was afraid of the alternative; I never believed in ‘hope and change.’”