On Memorial Day 2010

In the midst of Times Square, the bustling shopping and tourist attraction of the world, almost 2,000 people from New York City and New Jersey rallied, to the cheers and support of passers-by, in solidarity with the attacked Freedom Flotilla and the besieged Palestinian People of Gaza.

The streets of New York were flooded with Turkish and Palestinian flags carried by all walks of life that together chanted, “the people united will never be defeated.” Opposition was almost non-existent and even ardent pro-Israeli pedestrians hesitated before heckling the protesters, a hesitation born from the further weakened position of the Israeli government in the eyes of the world as a result of its attack on the international civilian Aid Flotilla, say organizers. The attacks began Sunday night when Israeli Commandos propelled from helicopters onto the boats as they floated in international waters. Israeli forces landed onto the boats in face masks, with automatic machine guns and began shooting at the passengers, killing at least 16 and injuring scores more of the unarmed aid workers. Reports indicate that 29 members of the Flotilla are unaccounted, many are believed to be dead, yet others are believed to be in undisclosed Israeli Prisons. Twenty-five (25) of the passengers are US Citizens from cities across the country.

Organizers say that Israelis are aware that their government had made yet another arrogant misstep, exposing it’s true intentions toward Palestine, its natives and their supporters in the struggle for freedom, that this is the reason for the quiet absence of Zionist forces today.

Mainstream news organizations, including CNN covered the rally, as did various local, national and international news outlets. In various interviews, protesters claimed that the latest massacre by Israeli forces has renewed the determination of all people to continue struggling against the whole of Israeli Occupation, Siege and War Crimes and called on the people of the world to continue their efforts to break the Israeli siege by land and sea. The unity and determination to weaken the Israeli grip on the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian lands was reflected in the diversity and unity of all forces in the Palestinian Movement that led the last-minute rally. Al-Awda-NY, International action Center, Gaza Freedom March, American Muslims for Palestine, Jews Say No, International Jews Anti-Zionist Network, Labor for Palestine, War Veterans for Peace, Adalah-NY, Existence is Resistance, and NYC Labor Against the War, along with several other organizations, coordinated efforts to keep the rally visible, powerful, and united.

The international solidarity with the victims of Israeli brutality was represented on the streets in rallies across the world and from government leaders which issued statements condemning the Israeli assault and demanding prosecution. Statements were published from the Chinese, Turkish, Syrian and Pakistani government among several others, as UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon demanded that the Israeli government explain it’s illegal actions in international waters against international peace activists.

In closing, across from the Israeli Consulate, Al-Awda-NY organizers reminded protesters that some of the fallen had been until today, resilient Palestinians, exiled by Zionist militias in 1948, withstanding Israeli massacres in Lebanon in 1982, attacked in 2006 and killed on the Aid Flotilla determined to see Palestine again and be part of its liberation from Israeli Forces. Al-Awda stressed that this attack is a part of the ongoing Israeli Zionist agenda to effect the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, beginning in the 1900’s and continuing, with International complicity, today.

Organizers urged fellow New Yorkers to call for an immediate freeze of all military and economic aid to Israel, an end of the siege of Gaza, an end to Israeli Occupation of all Palestinian lands and the immediate establishment of a tribunal to prosecute all Israeli orchestrators of the massacres against the Humanitarian Workers and the Palestinians.

The groups present today are planning another larger rally for tomorrow which will begin outside the Israeli Consulate at 42nd Street and 2nd avenue at 5 p.m., while Congressman Charles Barron, will be holding a press conference on the matter outside City Hall at noon.