As Attacks on Gaza Escalate, NYC Protesters Decry U.S. Aid to Israel
As Israeli ground troops crossed the border into Gaza, rapidly escalating an offensive that has taken the lives of over 460 Palestinians, thousands of New Yorkers gathered at Times Square on Saturday afternoon demanding that Israel end the killing and that the U.S. renounce its support of the Jewish state.
"We are demanding that the Palestinians be protected, but as Americans, we are also demanding that our tax money not be spent on killing innocent civilians," said Ayman el-Fawa, an Arab American volunteer at Al-Awda, one of the organizers of the events.
In the bitter cold, protesters covered an entire four blocks for hours, spanning 38th St to 42nd St, before marching to the Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN on 2nd Ave. Spectators continued to spill into the crowd well into the evening, even after the protest officially ended.
The event was the fourth of its kind, and the protests have visibly gained momentum. This time around, the rally brought together the largest number of protestors who heavily criticized the U.S. for its continuous support of Israel.
"Innocent civilians are being killed and the American government is giving money to the Israelis, especially the administration of George Bush which has tried to justify the massacre by condemning the Palestinian resistance, who have the right to resist," said Father George Makhlouf, a Palestinian priest who resides in Long Island.
The crowd was filled with many Arab Americans but also with anti-Zionist Jews, African American organizations and various other human rights and civil rights organizations. "Not in our names! Not with our money!" read one placard; "Yes We Can! Stop U.S. Military Aid to Israel," read another.