Tens of thousands of people around the world took part in demonstrations protesting Israel’s latest military operation against rocket-firing Palestinian resistance fighters in Gaza, a week-long offensive that has overwhelmingly killed innocent civilians.
Thousands turned out to protest the Israeli offensive in the French cities of Lille and Paris, where some demonstrators painted their faces in the colors of the Palestinian flag and chanted “stop killing children!”
Paris protester Stephane Frappreau, who is Jewish, told the Associated Press that the demonstration was about “defending humanity and about stopping the massacre.”
“I think that people tend to forget that the Palestinians are people who are suffering, kids and women, who are dying every day,” said Frappreau.
As the Paris protest dispersed after ending at Bastille Square, a large group of demonstrators headed for the Abravanel synagogue on Rue de la Roquette, where some 150 people were gathered for a memorial service for the three Israeli teenagers kidnapped and murdered by suspected Hamas militants earlier this month.
The protesters reportedly attempted to break through a police barrier outside the synagogue, trapping the mourners inside for several hours. Riot police clashed with the synagogue protesters, eventually dispersing them.
In the United States, there were protests against Israel’s offensive in New York, San Francisco, Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Columbus, Philadelphia and other cities and towns.
In Boston, the group Jewish Voice for Peace organized a rally against Israel’s ongoing killing, as well as in support of the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel and companies that profit from Israel’s illegal occupation and illegal settler colonization of Palestine.
“We are here to condemn Israel’s collective punishment of Palestinians, to mourn the loss of lives and to hold accountable the corporations that enable this violence,” Boston JVP activist Lisa Stampnitzky told Jewish Daily Forward.
Thousands of Canadians also protested Israeli aggression in cities across the nation. There were coordinated demonstrations in Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto, Montréal, Québec City, Calgary, London and Waterloo.
Speaking at the Ottawa rally, Rabbi Dovid Feldman asserted that Israel’s actions are not compatible with the principles of Judaism.
“As human beings, we stand up and we oppose, and we condemn, what is happening in Gaza,” said Feldman. “As Jewish people, we stand up and we condemn what is being committed contrary to the Jewish religion.”
“As descendants of Jews from the Holocaust, people who were tortured or murdered, we stand up here today, and we express our pain when oppression is being done to other people in Palestine,” Feldman added.
Protests and demonstrations in support of Gaza took place in at least 38 countries, among them South Africa, Turkey, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Argentina, Egypt, Yemen, Nicaragua, Honduras, Brazil, Venezuela, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, South Korea, Sweden, Syria, Pakistan, India, Ireland, Spain, Serbia, Mexico, Italy, Finland, the Netherlands, Japan — and Israel, where there were anti-war and anti-occupation protests in Tel Aviv on July 3 as well as over the weekend.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces continued attacking targets in Gaza for the seventh consecutive day, with 176 Palestinians reported killed as of Monday evening. On Saturday, 18 members of the al-Batsh family were killed in an Israeli air strike targeting the home of Gaza’s police chief, who survived the attack.
Israeli forces also bombed a clinic for disabled adults over the weekend, killing two disabled women who were unable to evacuate after an Israeli warning of impending attack.
On Friday, the United Nations said that 77 percent of those killed in Israel’s offensive, known as Operation Protective Edge, have been civilians.
No Israelis have been killed during the week-long war, although Hamas and other militant resistance groups have fired hundreds of mostly crude rockets indiscriminately at Israel, with some reaching more than 140 km (87 miles) into Israeli territory. Israel’s Iron Dome missile system has intercepted and destroyed around 90 percent of incoming rockets, Israeli military officials claim.