Thousands hit streets worldwide to demand end to Gaza violence (PHOTOS)
Thousands of people have taken to the streets around the world over the weekend to protest Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip. The largest demonstrations were held in Australia, France and Chile.
Thousands of people gathered for a pro-Palestinian rally in Sydney, Australia on Sunday, calling for an immediate end to the Israeli military operation, which has so far cost the lives of over 1,700 Palestinians and 60 Israelis. They were chanting “Free, free Palestine.”
Many Jewish people around the world don’t support the Israeli crackdown on Gaza, Peter Slezak from Independent Australian Jewish Voices told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“The state of Israel does not represent all Jews,” Slezak said. “I am one of very many Jews who is horrified and deeply ashamed by what the Jewish state is doing in my name. I stand with the people of Gaza and with Palestine as a whole.”
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Rawan Andalus, a Sydney-based Australian Palestinian lawyer who attended the rally, also condemned the silence of Australian authorities on the Gaza crisis.
“I suppose what we’re doing in Australia is really highlighting Australia’s complicity in condoning Israel’s actions,” she said. “Just complete silence.”
New South Wales Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham resigned from the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel (PFI), saying that the group “failed to raise or discuss … in any way at all” the present conflict in Gaza.
“As a representative of the people of NSW and the Greens, I cannot allow my willingness to engage with the PFI to be perceived in any way as an endorsement of Israel’s recent extreme violence and criminal actions in Gaza,” he said.
Also on Sunday, around 10,000 people gathered in Sydney for a peaceful, pro-Israeli rally.
“Every single person here is talking of peace. Today is about singing, camaraderie and friendship,” Rabbi Eli Feldman who attended the rally, told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“The overwhelming sentiment of Jewish people here and in Israel is for love and peace, which is in contrast with the chants and anger we saw in other rallies last week.”
‘Break off ties with Israel!’ Latin America protests against Gaza violence
On Saturday, thousands of people marched in Chile’s capital, Santiago, calling upon the country’s president, Michelle Bachelet, to break off diplomatic relations with Israel.
“Break it off, Break it off, Break off ties with Israel!” chanted demonstrators who rallied in front of the presidential palace.
The demonstrators were waving Palestinian flags and banners, urging Israel to end its military operation in the Gaza Strip.