Rochester stands in solidarity with Palestine

October 19, 2015

Isabelle B. reports on a rally to protest Israel's ongoing assault on Palestinians.

ON OCTOBER 16, some 60 activists turned out to the Federal Building in Rochester, New York, for a "Rally Against Deliberate Killing of Civilians in Palestine." The rally was called by Palestinian Americans in the area to coincide with a "Day of Rage" called for by Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. The crowd was lively, with chants being passionately led by younger people, even children.

According to the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health, Israeli forces have shot more than 1,300 Palestinians with live and rubber-coated bullets since the start of October. These shootings, along with a string of violent attacks by settlers in the West Bank, are the outward expression of a tension that has been building consistently for the last year since the most recent large-scale bombing of Gaza that claimed the lives of over 2,000 Palestinians, including more than 550 children.

At the Rochester rally, many passersby honked in support, and a few people stopped to have conversations about the rally and voice their solidarity with Palestine. A short speak-out included several community members and members of the International Socialist Organization articulating the need to become better organized to support the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions. The crowd agreed with loud cheers.

Protesting in support of Palestinians
Protesting in New York City in support of Palestinians

The rally included many references to saving Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. Al-Aqsa is one of the holiest sites in Islam and is supposed to be under Palestinian control, but Palestinian men under age 40 are often prohibited from entering the site by the Israelis.

Just before the Rochester rally, as many as 5,000 Palestinians prayed in the streets in front of the Al-Aqsa mosque after having been barred from entering the compound itself. Many in the crowd in Rochester fear that Al-Aqsa will be the latest casualty in the colonization of Palestine by Israel.

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