Protestors: Stop giving Israel money
A high-seas raid by the Israeli military yesterday resulted in the deaths of at least nine human rights activists headed for Gaza on a flotilla. In response, more than thirty protestors gathered in front of the federal building in Tampa today to condemn Israelâs actions.
The diverse crowd stood peacefully in the shade holding placards with messages like âstop funding Israel,â and âPalestinian self-determination is not terrorism.â Jordan Harrahâs sign said âIsrael is a terrorist state.â
The protest took place the same day Al-Jazeera reported that Israeli airstrike killed five Palestinian militants in Gaza. Ramsey Kilic is director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, in Tampa. He said the rally was to draw attention to money the US gives Israel, which critics say funds violence against Palestinians in the occupied territories.
One protestor said he knew life in Gaza well. Mahar Albarghuthi, who was born in Palestine and lives in St. Petersburg, has been back to Gaza in the past year. He said the place was on lockdown.
He said all that would end if the US were to stop giving Israel billions of dollars each year. He said it would also be good for US foreign policy.
Albarghuthi said heâs not optimistic that this will, happen, given the power of Israelâs lobby.
USF student Nicole Ganier said itâs not about religion or ethnicity; itâs about human rights.
The blockade has been in place since 2007, when the militant group Hamas won control over the area. Demonstrator Chalky Irving, said that Israelâs reaction to the flotilla, which it had publicly deemed a stunt, did not surprise him.
CAIRâs Ramsey Kilic said he wasnât surprised that there was an interaction over the flotilla, but he didnât think it would result in deaths.
After the demonstration, activists took a petition urging a change in the USâs policy on Israel to Senator Bill Nelsonâs office. As of airtime, neither Senator Nelson nor the Israeli consulate in Miami have responded to our request for comment. The White House says it supports a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an investigation into the raid. Meanwhile, Egypt has opened its Gaza border to allow thousands of Palestinians to flee the blockaded territory.comments powered by Disqus