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New Yorkers Decry Israel's Gaza Strip Attack
Letter delivered to U.N. asking for protection for Palestinian people
Ronda Hauben (netizen2)     Print Article 
Published 2006-07-07 16:11 (KST)   
Chanting "Not Another Nickel, Not Another Dime, No More Money for Israel's Crime," over 100 people gathered across from the United Nations in New York City to protest U.S. military aid to Israel, to condemn Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip, and to call for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

The demonstration had been called for 4:30 pm on Thursday, July 6, at 42nd Street but because of problems getting a permit for that site, the organizers explained that the demonstration was moved to 46th Street. Despite the last minute confusion, people found the new location.

One of the protesters explained why he had come:
"My heart hurts to see the collective punishment of the Israeli military against the people living in Gaza. To me it is a war crime, but what can I do about it? An answer came to my email box last night. It was an 'urgent appeal to all anti-war activists and organizations to join the July 6 protest against the Israeli assault on the Palestinian People.' I decided to attend. On the way I asked myself why is it still so hard for the world to stop such wanton mayhem and killing, as is now happening in Gaza."
Among those who joined the demonstration were a group of Orthodox Jews against Zionism who formed a solid line facing the U.N. with their signs that read: "Torah forbids a Jewish State," "Judaism Rejects Zionism," "All Palestine Under Palestinian Sovereignty." Some of the members of the Orthodox Jews Against Zionism crossed the street with their signs and stood mixed in with the three counter protesters carrying Israeli, Palestinian and U.S. flags with slogans supporting Israel .

Photo taken at July 6, 2006 demonstration across from U.N. protesting Israel's actions in Gaza.
©2006 Ken Nakayama
One of the group of Orthodox Jews explained that, "according to the Torah, all Palestine should be returned to the Palestinians and all other occupied lands should be restored to their owners. According to the Torah, he pointed out, "Jews are not allowed to shed blood, harm, humiliate, or dominate another people." The group is American Neturei Karta.

Among the groups involved in the demonstration were the International Action Coalition, Truthout Coalition, Al-Awda (The Palestinian Right to Return Coalition), the Green Party, United for Peace and Justice, and Troops Out Now Coalition.

Other signs at the demonstration included, "Boycott Israel," "U.S. is to Iraq as Israel is to Palestinians as Nazi Germany was to Jews," "End the Occupation of Palestine and Iraq," "Israel Out of Gaza," "Israeli State Terrorism, Air Raids, Sonic Booms, Home Destructions, Targeted Assassinations, Humanitarian Disaster" and "U.S. Out of the Middle East."

Speaking at the short rally held as part of the demonstration, Charles Barron, a New York City Council member, compared the long struggle of Afro-Americans for liberation with the current fight of the Palestinian people. He said, "Tell Bush, you have blood on your hands." He said he hoped Kofi Annan was hearing us today.

At one point in the demonstration, a number of the people lay down on the sidewalk to honor those who had died in Palestine.

Three of those at the demonstration reported that they brought a letter to the UN to Kofi Annan and gave it to his Special Advisor Vijay Nambiar. The three who brought the letter, were Miriam Rimawi, Issa Mikel and Lubna Hammad. They said that the letter addressed to Secretary General Kofi Annan and the United Nations Security Council, was signed by 100 organizations around the world. It protested the "ethnic cleansing in Palestine" being carried out by Israel and asked the U.N. to undertake actions to defend the Palestinian people. The letter called for the U.N.:

1) to form an international force to send to protect the Palestinian people,

2) to call for the immediate release of Palestinian prisoners held in violation of international law, and

3) to hold Israel accountable for the war crimes being committed in violation of international law.

Issa Mikel, speaking at the demonstration, explained that Nambiar met with them and accepted the letter. Though they didn't expect that the U.N. would meet the demands in the letter right away, this was a beginning of people and organizations from around the world working together.

One of the three who delivered the letter to the U.N. was Miriam Rimawi, a Palestinian who is 10 years old. She said that Nambiar told them that they would hear from him. She said she was happy and proud to bring the letter to the U.N. She is hoping that maybe there is a chance that Annan will protect the Palestinian people.

Using haza the Arabic word for "now," protesters chanted, "Haza, haza, haza, Israel out of Gaza." The mood conveyed during the demonstration was that despite the bloodshed, and the crimes against the Palestinian people, Palestine would never die.
Citizen Reporter Jay Hauben contributed to this story.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Ronda Hauben

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