Global solidarity marches held to demand cease-fire in Gaza

“We would need to invent brand new words to adequately describe the situation that Palestinians in Gaza find themselves in today.

133
SOURCENationofChange

Tens of thousands of people across the globe marched in solidarity with Palestinians, demanding an end to the “ongoing Nakba” and a cease-fire in Gaza. The demonstrations occurred as a United Nations official stated that “brand new words” are needed to adequately describe the devastation wrought by Israel’s U.S.-backed military assault in Gaza.

Nakba Day, marked on May 15, commemorates the 76th anniversary of the mass displacement of 700,000 Palestinians when Israel declared statehood in 1948. This year’s Nakba Day saw a resurgence of global protests amid heightened violence in Gaza, where Israeli forces have killed at least 35,456 people since October, the majority of whom are women and children.

In London, protesters carried signs reading “Solidarity is a verb” and “The Nakba never ended” as they marched through Whitehall, near the home and office of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Palestinian photojournalist Motaz Azaiza, who covered the initial months of Israel’s bombardment and evacuated Gaza in January, joined the marchers. He told the crowd, “I didn’t believe that I would stay alive to stand here in London today in front of the people, who saw me there under the bombing. Occupation is using all the weapons against us, the bombs, the killing, the starvation, the apartheid in the West Bank, and now killing the people and forcing them to leave their lands. I did my best to show you, and I believe you will do more, we all together will do more to stop this genocide.”

Dublin, Ireland, witnessed a significant turnout, with more than 100 civil society groups supporting a march organized by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Irish Palestinian Zak Hania, a researcher and translator recently evacuated from Gaza, expressed gratitude to the crowd. “I am proud to be an Irish Palestinian. I am proud to see all of you. It is part of my healing… We inherited a dream from our parents. We are trying for all our lives to fulfill our dreams and our parents’ dreams. My parents are dead, but I will work to fulfill their dreams. Their dream is to have a free Palestine,” he said.

Other notable protests included a rally outside the German embassy in Bangkok, a march of about 400 people in Washington, D.C., and a demonstration in Brooklyn where police violently arrested at least 34 people. Nerdeen Kiswani, founder of the pro-Palestinian group Within Our Lifetime, witnessed “police indiscriminately grabbing people off the street and the sidewalk. They were grabbing people at random,” as reported by The New York Times. Independent journalists shared videos on social media showing police officers punching and kicking protesters.

Palestinian photojournalist Motaz Azaiza emphasized the role of global protests in giving hope to Palestinians. “Occupation is using all the weapons against us, the bombs, the killing, the starvation, the apartheid in the West Bank, and now killing the people and forcing them to leave their lands… I believe you will do more, we all together will do more to stop this genocide,” Azaiza told the London crowd.

In Dublin, Zak Hania shared his personal journey and the significance of global solidarity. “It is part of my healing… We inherited a dream from our parents. We are trying for all our lives to fulfill our dreams and our parents’ dreams. My parents are dead, but I will work to fulfill their dreams. Their dream is to have a free Palestine,” he stated.

U.N. humanitarian aid officer Yasmina Guerda painted a picture of the situation in Gaza. “We would need to invent brand new words to adequately describe the situation that Palestinians in Gaza find themselves in today. No matter where you look, no matter where you go, there’s destruction, there’s devastation, there’s loss. There’s a lack of everything. There’s pain. There’s just incredible suffering. People are living on top of the rubble and the waste that used to be their lives. They’re hungry. Everything has become absolutely unaffordable. I heard the other day that some eggs were being sold for $3 each, which is unthinkable for someone who has no salary and has lost all access to their bank accounts.”

Martin Griffiths, U.N. humanitarian chief, warned of “apocalyptic” consequences due to the blockade on aid. “If fuel runs out, aid doesn’t get to the people where they need it, that famine, which we have talked about for so long, and which is looming, will not be looming anymore. It will be present,” he cautioned.

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is dire, with Israeli forces preventing 3,000 aid trucks from entering the enclave over the past two weeks, according to the Government Media Office. The closure of the Rafah and Karem Abu Salem crossings has also prevented nearly 700 injured and sick people from leaving Gaza for treatment. “This constitutes a clear danger in light of the collapse of the health system,” the office stated.

Guerda described daily struggles, such as the battle for access to clean water and the inability of many people to change clothes for seven months due to constant displacement. “Many have been displaced six, seven, eight times, or more,” she noted.

FALL FUNDRAISER

If you liked this article, please donate $5 to keep NationofChange online through November.

COMMENTS