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People protest against Israeli forces' attacks on Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and in the Gaza Strip in Chicago on May 13, 2021. (Photo: Askin Kiyagan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

People protest against Israeli forces' attacks on Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and in the Gaza Strip in Chicago on May 13, 2021. (Photo: Askin Kiyagan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Palestinian Solidarity Demonstrations Erupt Worldwide as Israeli Violence Intensifies

"It's up to us to keep demonstrating and keep hammering home that people will not sit back and tolerate Israel's system of apartheid."

Kenny Stancil

As Israel's violent assault on civilians living in the occupied territories intensifies, including reports that preparations are being made for a possible ground invasion, people around the world are taking to the streets in a show of solidarity with Palestinians who are enduring deadly attacks that observers fear could descend into a full-blown war.

"Israel increasingly finds itself under a strengthening siege of public opinion from across the globe that rejects its blatant, brutal subjugation of the Palestinians."
—Lindsey German, Stop the War Coalition

From Cape Town to Karachi to New York City and Vienna, thousands have gathered in cities across the globe this week and plan to continue doing so to protest Israel's ongoing bombing campaign in the besieged Gaza Strip and ethnic cleansing campaign in annexed East Jerusalem and throughout the occupied West Bank.

"Israel increasingly finds itself under a strengthening siege of public opinion from across the globe that rejects its blatant, brutal subjugation of the Palestinians," Lindsey German of the United Kingdom's Stop the War Coalition said in a statement on Thursday. "These ongoing Israeli war crimes have the backing of both the U.S. and the U.K. and as a result continue as the world looks on in horror."

"It's up to us to keep demonstrating and keep hammering home that people will not sit back and tolerate Israel's system of apartheid, which is now acknowledged by Human Rights Watch and more exposed than ever," said German, who noted that more than 25 solidarity protests in the U.K. alone have been announced for Saturday.

Demonstrators this week have carried signs saying "This Is Apartheid," calling for a "Free Palestine," and demanding an end to financial support for the Israeli military by foreign governments.

In Cape Town on Wednesday, Mandla Mandela, an African National Congress parliamentarian and the grandson of former South African president and legendary anti-apartheid champion Nelson Mandela, called for shutting down and removing the Israeli embassy from South Africa and closing the South African embassy in Tel Aviv. 

"It has been shocking, my brothers and sisters, to witness what has been happening in Sheikh Jarrah as well as in Al-Aqsa," Mandela said. "We cannot be silent any more."

Residents of London voiced their opposition earlier this week to Israeli court orders mandating the forced expulsions of Palestinian families from homes they have occupied for generations.

Human rights defenders also marched through the streets of Chicago on Wednesday.

Some of the world's most famous footballers chimed in to express solidarity with Palestinians, too.

In addition, thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C., where Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), the first Palestinian-American woman ever elected to Congress, addressed the crowd.

Human rights experts and progressives throughout the world, including over two dozen Democratic lawmakers in the U.S., have denounced the Israeli government's airstrikes on Gaza—which have destroyed residential buildings and left more than 80 Palestinians dead—as well as Israeli settlers' state-backed effort to demolish and confiscate homes in Al-Bustan and Sheikh Jarrah as violations of international law and war crimes.

U.S. President Joe Biden's administration, meanwhile, has refused to condemn Israel's current bombardment of Gaza as well as its earlier raids of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, in which peaceful worshipers were attacked by security forces eager to repress Palestinian resistance to dispossession.

Instead, reaffirming his decades-long and essentially unconditional backing of one of the closest U.S. allies, Biden on Wednesday asserted his "unwavering support" for Israel's "right to defend itself" during a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. While 14 of the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council support adopting a joint statement aimed at deescalating violence in the region, the U.S. has blocked the release of statement calling for an immediate cease-fire.

Biden's intransigence drew sharp rebukes from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who told the president: "You aren't prioritizing human rights. You're siding with an oppressive occupation."

"This is happening on our dime," Omar said earlier on Wednesday. The lawmaker urged Biden to "step in and deescalate to stop the carnage."


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