More solidarity marches with Gaza

More solidarity marches with Gaza

Protests in Israel and Egypt mark the first anniversary since Israel’s attack on Gaza last winter


Over the weekend, a march of thousands of Israelis through Tel Aviv marked the end of 10 days of protest in the region against the siege on Gaza. Activists in Cairo, the port of Al- Arish, Tel Aviv, the Northern border with Gaza, and in the Occupied Palestinian cities of Nablus, Ramallah, and Bethlehem brought global attention to the current situation and the effect of the ongoing closures on the Gaza strip.


Philip Weiss is the co-editor of Mondoweiss, a news website covering American foreign policy in the Middle East, chiefly from a progressive Jewish perspective. He is an investigative journalist who has written for The New York Observer, The Nation, New York Times Magazine, and Harper’s Magazine among others. He also wrote the 2004 book American Taboo: A Murder In The Peace Corps.


LIA TARACHANSKY, PRODUCER, TRNN: This weekend, a demonstration in Tel Aviv marked the end of ten days of local protest against the siege on Gaza. Solidarity demonstrations took place in the occupied Palestinian cities of Nablus, Ramallah, and Bethlehem and in Israel. During the period, activists from the group Anarchists Against the Wall tried to break the siege by marching to Gaza’s northern border at the coast. They were met with police and soldiers.

ACTIVIST (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): You’re pushing me. Let me go.

ACTIVIST (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): Since 2005 this is the biggest prison in the world. You all live with this. You’re all a part of this. The only moral thing we can do as citizens of this god damn country is to try and break this siege.

TARACHANSKY: On Sunday, the Israeli Air Force once again bombed southern Gaza in its ongoing campaign to destroy the underground tunnels connecting Gaza to Egypt. The day before, thousands gathered for the Tel Aviv march. It was organized by the Coalition of Women for Peace, an umbrella group of organizations such as Bat Shalom, Women in Black, and the Who Profits from the Occupation project.

ABIR KOBATI, HADASH, NAZARETH (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): I want to send a message to the prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, and tell him, in the name of us all, we don’t believe you, and it appears the entire world doesn’t believe you either. You continue to do whatever you want, as you’re used to. You order a fake [settlement construction] freeze and at the same time continue to give large subsidies to settlers. You talk about peace in a fake way, but you continue to refuse peace and you continue to create a reality on the ground that makes peace impossible.

TARACHANSKY: The Real News spoke to Philip Weiss, the coeditor of Mondoweiss, a US-based news service and aggregate. Weiss just returned from Egypt, where he took part in the Gaza Freedom March, which commemorated the first-year anniversary since Israel’s attack.

PHILIP WEISS, COEDITOR, MONDOWEISS: I’m not saying that this march is a significant part of Israeli society. I don’t think it is. But it’s—still, it’s newsworthy and it should be celebrated, and Americans should know about it. I just spent a week in Cairo with the Gaza Freedom March, which was organized over the last few months to bring internationals to Gaza to march on the last day of the year and commemorate the assault by Israel of a year ago. It was interesting that a march that was organized to bring pressure on the Israeli siege actually brought a lot of attention to the Egyptian police state and the degree to which it is complicit in the blockade of Gaza.

TARACHANSKY: In Cairo, The Real News spoke to Nick Napier, chairman of the Scottish-Palestine Solidarity Campaign.


MICK NAPIER, CHAIRMAN, SCOTTISH PALESTINE SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN: We organized the demonstration on the [inaudible] really, illegality that attracted a lot of support from the people of Egypt—and beatings and some broken ribs from the security forces, women being pulled across the road by their hair, and so on. Other protests at the US embassy, one at the Israeli embassy, of course, but all of these were designed to try to become a thorn in the side of the Egyptian authorities, so that they would decide it was better if they allow us to proceed to Gaza. But that didn’t happen.

TARACHANSKY: How many people have been injured, do you think?

NAPIER: Not a huge number. Maybe 20 or so. But broken ribs, and a lot of people who were treated pretty roughly. But I don’t want to exaggerate. I mean, I’ve faced live fire from Israeli soldiers at peaceful demonstrations on the West Bank, so compared to the Israeli soldiers, they were pretty cas’—no broken bones or heads or no one killed.

TARACHANSKY: Egypt is now doing its own part to stop the tunnels that many call the last lifeline into Gaza. By constructing an iron wall underground, Egyptian authorities hope to pressure the Hamas leadership in Gaza. This pressure comes at a time when Palestinian unity talks have collapsed. The prisoner exchange deal with Israel hinges on Hamas’s insistance that political prisoners be released and the Palestinian Authority extending Mahmoud Abbas’s presidential terms. With the Egyptians closing in on the Tamil economy from the south, Israel maintaining its siege from the east, north, and the coast, and continuing to bomb the south with talks of another full-scale attack, it becomes clear that continued international attention to the strip is now more important than ever.