Al-Awda 7-28-2006

Approximately 3,000 men, women, and children rallied and marched outside the Israeli consulate with fists raised to demand that the US government stop all financial support of the Israeli State; that the Israelis cease fire and withdraw from all Lebanese and Palestinian Lands; that the Israelis release all Arab and Palestinian Political Prisoners, over 10,000 are held of whom approximately one thousand are women and children; that all Lebanese and Palestinian Refugees be immediately allowed to return to their homes to live in safety.

Through blazing heat and torrential rain, the protesters stood unmoved, knowing the price they paid to stand in solidarity and outrage was insignificant compared with the losses suffered by the People of Palestine and Lebanon.

Brenda Stokely from the Million Workers March said, ‘It is no surprise that the U.S. imperialists are actively advocating the Zionist Israeli government massacre and exploitation of the Arabs’. Samia Halaby of Defend Palestine & Al Jisser applauded the courage of the Lebanese Popular Resistance headed by Hezbollah and said that we must learn from their example of solidarity. Lamis Deek of Al-Awda-NY said that the People of the Arab World have always known this day would be revisited upon them, adding that they are prepared by the knowledge that until the Palestinian Refugees return to their rightful homes, this will not be the last assault the Arab World will suffer at the hands of the Genocidal Apartheid Israeli State.

Fueled by anger and the desire to inform the American public about the plight of the Palestinians and the Lebanese who live below the clouds of US-made Israeli F-16 fighters and Apache helicopters, the protesters took over the streets, marching without police escort or knowledge, stopping traffic all along, and settling onto the Army Recruiting Station in Times Square.

As they marched the street shook with echoes of English and Arabic Chants. All that could be heard on the buzzing 42nd Street were cries of “Gaza, Lebanon Don’t You Cry Palestine, Will Never Die,” “Stop Bombing Palestine, Stop Bombing Lebanon,” “Occupation is a Crime, from Iraq to Palestine,” and the name of Hezbollah. Hecklers were outnumbered by the people who cheered the marchers on from the streets and sidewalks, all of whom were received by roaring victory salutes from the marchers. And all along the route pedestrians stopped the organizers asking for flyers, information and ways they can help.

Once at the Army recruiting station, the crowd remained strong, and full of energy. They denounced the Pentagon’s bloody war against the people of Iraq, linking it to the U.S.-financed war against Palestine and Lebanon as one war against the Arab people.

As the demonstrators finally dispersed after nearly six hours of rallying and marching, it began to drizzle, and once again they flocked for cover under the shelter of the Palestinian Flag.

It is clear that the city will not rest until the People of Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq may do so as well.

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