WASHINGTON: More than 1,000 people rallied on Saturday in Washington in support of Palestinians, calling for an end to US aid to Israel.
The demonstration on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial came as a ceasefire, which ended 11 days of violence in the Gaza Strip, has so far held.
“We are hoping to send a clear message to the United States government that the days of supporting the Israeli state without repercussions are over,” one of the demonstrators, 39-year-old Washington lawyer Sharif Silmi, said as he stood in the crowd where many protesters held red, white, green and black Palestinian flags.
“We will stand against any politician that continues to fund weapons to Israel. We will oppose them, we will vote against them, we will fund their opponents until we vote them out of office,” said Silmi.
Lama Alahmad, who is of Palestinian origin and a resident of neighbouring Virginia , said US public opinion is turning in favour of the Palestinian cause.
“There is a huge change” going on in the US with regard to the Palestinian cause seeking a sovereign homeland, said Alahmad. “We just want the world to recognise that we are human beings. We are not terrorists,” said Alahmad, a 43-year-old stay-at-home mother who grew up in the United Arab Emirates before moving to the US around 20 years ago.
Silmi insisted there was now broad opposition in the US to how Israel treats Palestinians, which he likened to the apartheid in South Africa.
“People have now woken up, and we’re resisting. Whether young Jews, young Muslims, young blacks, young whites, there is a generational shift. And people are working across ethnic groups, racial groups, to work for change and freedom and liberation for Palestinian people,” Silmi said.