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Jumat, 16 November 2012

Pro-Palestinian protestors in Detroit say U.S. needs to stop supporting Israel


Israel protest Detroit.JPG
More than 50, many of the women donning hijabs, stood in a line atop a 5-foot-tall ledge along E. Jefferson in Detroit Friday evening protesting against U.S. support of Israel.

"Free, free, Palestine," "Hey hey, ho ho, occupation has got to go," and "No Justice, no peace," they chanted in response to a man saying the same into a megaphone.

The most recent rash of Israeli-Palestinian violence erupted Thursday when an Israeli drone rocket strike killed a Hamas official in Gaza.

Since that time, unrest and violence have persisted. The aggression from both sides shows no sign of letting up and the impact has rippled across the world to Detroit.

"We're holding these in solidarity with the Palestinian people to say enough is enough," said Tuba Hasan, a 25-year-old Dearborn native and student activist who is attending Columbia University. "It's not just a once in a while kind of thing. It's an everyday consistent aggression.

"Every time a home is demolished, every time a farmer is uprooted, every time a family has to move out so theirs can move in, it's consistent aggression. And that's why we're here; we're trying to stand against it for the Palestinian people."

Hasan, who helped plan the protest with others in less than two days using social media, urges the public to contact their legislators, ask them to stop funding Israel and spend the money at home.

"Stop Palestinian genocide; End Zionist apartheid," "Occupation is a crime," and "Reject Zionism," read signs held by protestors, many of them Muslim.

One young girl in a pink jacket and black hijab held a sign saying, "Israel is killing babies like me," possibly referencing the death of 10-month-old Palestinian girl who appears in an Associated Press photo released Friday.

Another protestor, Henry Herskovitz, 66, of Ann Arbor, said the debate is about right and wrong, not Muslim or Jewish.

Henry Herskovitz, 66, of Ann Arbor.JPG Henry Herskovitz, 66, of Ann Arbor
Herskovitz, who is Jewish and wore a hat that said, "End Israel," began traveling to Israel and visiting the West Bank in 2002 after he retired from his profession as an engineer.

He wanted to see the conflict for himself, he said.

"If people knew, I think their minds would be a whole lot different than they were," he said. "I was quite appalled as to what is going on. People with guns, tanks in the street... soldiers (harming) innocent civilians."

Herskovitz would like to "see Israel dismantled the same way South African racism was dismantled."

The government in South Africa "supported a white supremacism against the black majority population," he said. "Here we have the same thing, only it's a Jewish supremacism controlling a Palestinian majority."

Israel leaders say they are protecting their country from unwarranted Palestinian acts of aggression.

Since the Israeli strike on Thursday, Palestinians in Gaza have been lobbing rockets into Israel — as many as 180, based on multiple news reports; half have been intercepted midair and exploded by Israel's rocket-defense system — and Israel has ordered drone strikes and troop movements to the Gaza border.

For the first time since 1970, a rocket has struck Jerusalem, according to Reuters; and Tel Aviv, Israel's equivalent of New York City has also been targeted.

As of Friday afternoon Reuters reports, based on word from Gaza officials, that 29 Palestinians — 13 militants and 16 civilians, among them eight children and a pregnant woman — had been killed since Israel began air strikes. Three Israeli civilians were killed by a rocket on Thursday.

The group that organized Friday's protest is calling itself Detroit's Coalition for Free Palestine. Hasan said similar protests were scheduled across the country, including a candlelight vigil that was set to occur at 6 p.m. Friday in Dearborn.


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