Attacks on Palestine, Lebanon lead to worldwide protests

By Larry Hales

July 25—As the racist Zionist regime, with the total backing of the Bush administration, continues its aerial bombardments of Lebanon, the world clamor to end Israel’s occupation of Palestine and its attacks on Lebanon grows by the day. Coordinated worldwide actions have been called for Aug. 5 and there will be a protest in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 12, but already there have been massive demonstrations.

Inside Israel itself, 2,500 people marched from Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square to a rally at the Cinemateque Plaza on July 22. The rally was jointly conceived and attended by Palestinians and Israelis. It had an anti-Washington tone, with slogans condemning both George W. Bush and the prime minister and defense minister of the Zionist regime in Israel. There were also calls for Israeli soldiers to refuse to fight.

Students protested in Haifa as well. They numbered 50 and held signs that read, “Unconditional ceasefire now” and “Get out of Lebanon.”

On July 21, thousands of protesters fought police in Cairo and shouted slogans denouncing the collusion of Arab governments with Israel and demanding they not recognize it as a legitimate state.

In Amman, Jordan, 2,000 rallied in support of Palestinians and Lebanon. There were protests in Syria as well as in Iraq. The protests in Iraq condemned the U.S., Israel and Arab governments that give in to their pressure, and were held in the Sadr City section of Baghdad.

Over 100,00 people turned out in the small country of Yemen on July 20 for a demonstration in solidarity with Lebanon and the Palestinian people. (AFX news, Cairo, July 22)

Asia and Europe

In Kolkata, India, the West Bengal Committee of the All India Anti-Imperi alist Forum staged a protest on July 24. According to the AIAIF, speakers “pointed out how the belligerent Israeli rulers, in pursuance of their expansionist, aggressive policies against the Arab countries, more so Palestine, have unleashed an all-out offensive on innocent people, damaging the very economic infrastructure of the country of Lebanon and Palestine, violating all norms of national sovereignty and civility. They also highlighted the heinous role of the U.S. imperialist rulers.”

Demonstrations were held throughout Europe as well as Asia. Tens of thousands rallied and marched in cities in Britain, including 20,000 in London. The demonstrations were called by Stop the War Coalition, the Muslim Association of Britain, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Lebanese organizations.

Some 10,000 marched in Berlin, and from Madrid and Barcelona to Paris and Moscow, in Turkey and in other nations, thousands of people came together in solidarity with Palestine and Lebanon.

Many protests in North America

In North America, the largest demonstration was held on July 18 in Dearborn, Mich., home to a large Middle Eastern and Muslim community. Some 10,000 people called for the attacks to cease, calling the onslaught terror.

Some 1,500 rallied in front of the Israeli Mission to the United Nations in New York on July 18. The protesters chanted “Free, free Palestine” and “Free, free Lebanon.” Many from the Middle Eastern and Muslim communities attended the demonstration.

Some 500 demonstrators protested on July 21 at a Boston rally, and hundreds more the next day in Chicago. On July 24 a protest was held in Springfield, Mass., outside the Federal Building. The Spring field demonstration was co-sponsored by the Western Massachusetts International Action Center and the Inter national Socialist Organization.

In Buffalo, N.Y., two emergency demon stra tions on July 22 and 25 drew both anti-war activists and people of Arab and Muslim descent. Banners and signs made clear that the U.S. government essentially funds the Israeli war for the same reason that U.S. soldiers are sent to die in Iraq: oil and domination of the Middle East.

On the West Coast, 700 rallied in San Francisco on July 13, where four days later Jewish peace groups staged a rally in front of the Israeli Consulate. Some 18 of the protesters were arrested during a civil disobedience action, got citations and were released.

On very short notice, 300 came out July 20 for a protest called by the San Diego Peace & Jus tice Coali tion, with a large con tin gent from the Middle Eastern and Muslim communities.

Hundreds of protesters confronted a pro-Israeli rally in Los Angeles on July 23. The Muslim Students Association, Women in Black, and the Inter national Action Center joined with many students and youth to protest the Israeli fundraiser. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzen egger were featured speakers at the Zionist rally.

Protests were called for many cities in Canada as well—Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Edmonton—and were held throughout the weekend.

In Palestine and Lebanon, Hamas and Hezbollah have resisted valiantly, with Hezbollah challenging the Israeli claim to have gained a toehold in south Lebanon. No matter the destruction that has been rained down by high-tech Israeli hardware, which has led to hundreds of civilian casualties, when it comes to putting soldiers on the ground, the settler government has been thoroughly embarrassed by the fighting capabilities of Hezbollah.

Nick Camerota of the Western Massachu setts International Action Center sum med up what the movement in the U.S. should be doing: “We are asking people to take a firm stand on the side of those struggling against imperialism and racism. The U.S. anti-war movement mustn’t confuse or conflate the oppressed with their oppressors. Today we seek to demonstrate that those suffering in Lebanon, Palestine and throughout the Middle East are not forgotten or friendless, and that we and others in this country emphatically support their right to self-determination.”

For the anti-war movement and all those who demand real peace in the United States, there can be no other stance.


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