ATLANTA: Thousands of people from all over the US converged on Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC on Saturday for the National March for Palestine.
Speakers demanded that the US government sanction Israel for its aggression and discrimination against the Palestinians, and for committing “war crimes” during its latest war on Gaza.
At least 254 Palestinians were killed, including 66 children and 39 women, and 1,910 wounded, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza. Twelve people in Israel were killed.
American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), one of the main organizers of the march, said it has developed a grassroots campaign titled “Sanction Israel” that aims to press the US government to hold Tel Aviv accountable for its human rights violations and its occupation of Palestinian territories.
“Millions of Americans around the country are joining to say there must be an end to this ugly, immoral and illegal status quo,” Osama Abuirshaid, executive director of AMP, told Arab News.
The protest is one way to assert the Palestinians’ “inalienable right to life, dignity, freedom and justice,” he added, criticizing the Biden administration for going ahead with licensing $735 million in weapons sales to Israel despite a public outcry and opposition from some members of Congress.
Jinan Shbat, national organizer for the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which participated in the protest, told Arab News that it was a milestone for pro-Palestinian activism in the US in terms of the size and diversity of the crowd, which included Jewish, African-American, and other ethnic and religious groups.
“For so long, our tax dollars have funded the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people,” she said. “We came today so we can say it loud and clear to this administration that we as Americans will no longer be complicit in funding these atrocities.”
Shbat added that the protest is sending a message to the Biden administration and to Congress that they will be held accountable for their political decisions, and that “we’ll work to replace those who no longer serve our interests.”
Mohamad Habbeh, national development coordinator for AMP, told Arab News that more and more Americans feel able to criticize Israel due to social media campaigns and protests that highlight violations against the Palestinians.
“Such campaigns are also forcing the mainstream US media to take a more balanced approached when covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he said.