Hundreds of Palestinians gathered in Gaza City and in Ramallah on Saturday to show solidarity with the people of France, and to condemn this week’s attacks in Paris. Palestinian prisoners also issued a statement condemning the French attacks.The rally was organized by the Palestine Liberation Organization, as well as the Fateh party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Participants in both rallies lit candles for the victims of a shooting attack on a French satirical paper this week that left twelve people dead.
Abbas Zaki, of the Fateh party, told participants at the rally in Ramallah, ‘ This is a message to the world that the Palestinian people, who are the people who have suffered the most due to terrorism, reject terrorism in all its forms.’
Yasser Abed Rabbo of the Palestine Liberation Organization also spoke at the rally, saying, ‘ Our message to France is that we defend our common values — the values of freedom, justice, and equality between peoples — and we are sure that terrorism will be defeated.’
The rallies came a day after the Hamas party, the elected government of the Palestinian people since 2005, issued a statement condemning the Paris attack, saying that Hamas ‘condemns the attack against Charlie Hebdo magazine and insists on the fact that differences of opinion and thought cannot justify murder.’
The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called the French President to offer condolences and support, saying the solidarity of the Palestinian people and leadership with France after this terrorist attack.’
The Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is in France, where he issued a public statement equating the attack of the three French attackers with Hamas, Hezbollah and a variety of other movements for national liberation around the Arab world.
The Prime Minister is using a more nuanced approach in his statements in France than the widely-criticized response to the 2001 attacks in the United States, after which Netanyahu told Israeli paper Ma’ariv, ‘We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq,’ which he said ‘swung American public opinion in our favor.’
Hundreds of Palestinians in Ramallah and Gaza City on Sunday participated in rallies in solidarity with France in light of the spate of attacks last week.
Participants in Ramallah gathered in al-Manara Square raising Palestinian flags and signs condemning all forms of terrorism.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary-general of the PLO Executive Committee, said at the rally that Palestinians reject terrorism, include Palestiniing that which is inflicted upon them by the Israeli occupation.
‘Our message to France is that we defend our common values — the values of freedom, justice, and equality between peoples — and we are sure that terrorism will be defeated,’ Abed Rabbo said.
‘The way to do that is through democracy,’ he added.
Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki said the attacks in France were an ‘against civilization,’ adding that the rally in Ramallah emphasized Palestinian solidarity with the French people and government.
‘This is a message to the world that the Palestinian people, who are the people who have suffered the most due to terrorism, reject terrorism in all its forms,’ Zaki said.
Meanwhile, in Gaza, Palestinians lit candles in front of the French Cultural Center in Gaza City in solidarity with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris.
AFP photographer Muhammad al-Baba, who participated in the event, told Ma’an that he came to stand for freedom of expression and against violence in the name of religion.
‘We as journalists and Muslims came here to tell everyone: Yes to freedom of expression without hurting the freedom of others; no to those who target others with weapons in the name of Islam,’ al-Baba said.
Amjad al-Shawwa, the director of the Palestinian Network of NGOs, told Ma’an that the event was organized to send a message to the French people that Palestinians condemned terrorism ‘whatever its justifications were.’
‘Despite the pain of our people and what they’ve been through, we feel for others, and especially those who suffer,’ al-Shawwa said.
The rallies came the same day hundreds of thousands of people, including world leaders, gathered in Paris in a show of solidarity and defiance in the wake of the attacks that left 17 people dead last week.