Over the weekend, protests were held in a number of US cities and towns calling on Israel to end the imprisonment of 1.5 million Palestinians inside Gaza without access to food, safe water, electricity or medical care. Some of the cities participating in the protest actions included San Francisco; Boston; Seattle; St. Petersburg, Florida; Washington, DC; Los Angeles; Portland, Oregon; Eugene, Oregon; Houston, Texas and a number of other cities.
Protesters called for an end to Israel's six-month long siege on Gaza, during which the Israeli forces controlling Gaza's borders have severely curtailed imports and exports of both people and goods – and over the last two weeks have completely sealed the Gaza Strip.
The protests took place at several different venues, including in front of the White House in Washington, DC, the Israeli consulates in New York, Los Angeles and Houston, and in a public square in Portland, Oregon and along a road in Eugene, Oregon. Among those who participated in the various rallies were Palestinian-Americans, human rights activists, Jewish supporters of Palestinian rights and many others.
Among the groups represented at the rallies were Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights, Jews for Justice, Jews for Peace, Women in Black, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, ANSWER Coalition, United for Peace and Justice and others.
According to the press release sent out by one of the protest organizers, the reason for the protests is as follows:
“Israel is continuing to escalate its attacks on Gaza, killing more than 40 Palestinians just this past week and wounding scores more, and has placed the already besieged territory under complete lockdown. More than 1.5 million Palestinian people living in Gaza are suffering from life-threatening shortages of food, medicines, fuel and other vital necessities, caused by the Israeli military’s sealing-off of one of the most densely populated areas of the world.”
“Gaza City is blacked-out at night, including hospitals. Doctors must examine patients by candlelight. Why should you speak out against what Israel is doing? Among other reasons: because the U.S. government supports and funds Israel's violence against Palestinians and because the U.S. repeatedly vetoes U.N. resolutions critical of Israel.”