As the world watches in horror Israel's ongoing bombardment of the Gaza strip—which as of Monday has killed over 550 Palestinians trapped in the sealed-off territory—a unified call for an end to the assault has come in the form of worldwide demonstrations because, as one protester wrote, "silence is consent."
"People across the world are coming out in condemnation of Israel’s crimes and in condemnation of U.S. support for those crimes,” said Hatem Abudayyeh with the Chicago Coalition for Justice. Abudayyeh was one of tens of thousands of Chicago-area residents who took to the streets on Sunday in an outpouring of support and solidarity for those in Gaza.
Many of the global protests were held by citizens frustrated by what they see as their own government's complicity in Israel's military bombardment that has now last two weeks. Observers note that the massive crowds clearly contradict comments made by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday that there is "very strong support within the international community for the activity that the IDF is doing."
Hundreds of peaceful protesters gathered outside the U.S. State Department headquarters in Washington D.C. on Sunday, demanding an end to the violence in Gaza and criticizing the U.S. government's continued and "unconditional" support of Israel while ignoring the plight and suffering of Palestinians living under occupation.
“The U.S. is the primary patron of Israel and provides unequivocal diplomatic and military support,” Noura Erakat, a Palestinian lawyer and professor at George Mason University, told reporters with the Washington Post. “It’s a complicit third party in what amounts to a massacre of the Palestinian population entrapped within the Gaza strip.”
Sixty-four notable figures—including seven Nobel laureates—published a letter on Friday calling on the United Nations and "governments across the world" to implement an arms embargo on Israel. "Israel's ability to launch such devastating attacks with impunity largely stems from the vast international military cooperation and trade that it maintains with complicit governments across the world," the statement read.
In London on Saturday, tens of thousands marched from Downing Street to the Israeli embassy to denounce what they said was Israeli "apartheid." Sarah Colborne, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said the demonstration gave people from "across the country the chance to say enough is enough, Israel's siege of Gaza and its occupation of Palestinian land has to end now."
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Up to 5,000 protesters marched to the national parliament building in Dublin, Ireland on Saturday where hundreds laid down in the streets in a massive 'die-in' to show solidarity with the people in Gaza and to symbolize the number killed during the Israeli assault.
In Los Angeles, traffic along busy Wilshire Boulevard was halted Sunday as a crowd of hundreds marched on the Israeli consulate.
"There's two sides to every story and unfortunately only one side gets told here," protester Jamal Barakat told local news channel KPCC. "If you're 7, 8 years-old in Gaza, this is the third major airstrikes you've lived through. Imagine the kind of effects that has on a population."
In the West Bank, national and religious institutions called for a Monday general strike in condemnation of the "massacres" suffered by the people in Gaza. Palestinian leaders living inside Israel are taking part in the strike, as well.
Huge crowd at Dublin Gaza Rally. Irish gov. Inaction and indifference not representative of Irish nation. pic.twitter.com/kx5qShfPHr— Ciaran Quinn (@c1aranquinn) July 19, 2014