NEW YORK — On December 27, the first anniversary of Israel’s brutal attack on Gaza that left 1,400 dead (mostly civilians), thousands wounded, and hundreds of thousands homeless, 2,000 people met in New York’s Times Square. The throng marched through streets filled with New Yorkers and tourists in holiday mode, passed crowded Rockefeller Center, and ended at the Israeli Consulate at 42nd Street and 2nd Avenue. Participants represented all ages and all racial and ethnic groups. The march was timed to coincide with marches in solidarity with the people of Gaza that are taking place all over the world.
As the marchers moved through the streets they carried signs and Palestinian flags and chanted, “Israel, Israel, you can’t hide. We charge you with genocide.” Or, “Gaza, Gaza, don’t you cry. Palestine will never die.” Many wore buttons supporting the Palestinian liberation struggle. One woman had “Resistance is not Terrorism” printed on the back of her jacket.
A large group of orthodox Jews who oppose the Israeli state marched too. Seeing them, some Jewish people in the streets cursed them and spit at them. They appeared to take it in stride.
At one point a call came in from Kevin Ovington, one of the leaders of the Viva Palestina convoy which was in Jordan with 500 people from 17 countries, and 250 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza. Egypt was not allowing them to pass through to Gaza so a hunger strike had begun. He said that they were “determined to enter Gaza and break the siege.” He said, “One day we will all be together in a free Palestine.” The marchers were asked to call the Egyptian Embassy and urge them to allow the Freedom Marchers and humanitarian aid to pass into Gaza.
The Gaza Freedom March, expected to take place in Gaza on January 1, is bringing over 1,400 people from all over the world together to demand that Israel end the blockade of Gaza that is stopping building supplies — needed to rebuild the homes, schools, and hospitals destroyed by ‘Operation Cast Lead’ — food, medicine, school supplies, and fuel from reaching the people there. Without fuel they cannot run their water system. Gazan babies are being born blue because of the nitrates in their water which is coming from raw sewage. Health specialists have stated that 95 percent of the water is unfit for human consumption. A variety of observers regard the Israeli siege of Gaza as an act of genocide. Outside the Israeli Consulate in New York, the marchers demanded an end to the blockade which protesters argue is a violation of international law.