People across the world gather to show their support for Palestinian people
Thousands of people gathered in Chicago’s Loop on October 21, holding onto their cardboard signs with scrawlings of pro-Palestinian rhetoric. People were listening to try to make out the motivational speeches that were taking place as they waited in anticipation to begin walking down Michigan Avenue. With so many people, the sound of the speakers’ voices disappeared in the wind.
This protest is one of many that have taken place after Israel’s government announced a “complete siege” of the Gaza strip and the “demolition” of Hamas, an armed Palestinian group that controls the Gaza Strip. The declaration of war was in response to the unexpected Hamas terrorist attacks that took place on October 7 at a music festival and on the streets of Israel – an attack that killed more than 1,400 people.
Since then, Israel-led airstrikes have killed more than 10,000 people in Gaza, according to the Hamas-led Gaza health ministry. The Biden administration has “no confidence” in these figures, according to updates from the New York Times.
The United States has delivered weapons to Israel, and Biden visited to show solidarity. The Biden administration advised Israel to delay a ground invasion to allow time for hostage negotiations and more humanitarian aid to Palestinians, according to U.S. officials. Israel invaded Gaza on October 27.
While Biden has reiterated that Israel has the right to defend its citizens from terrorists, he also emphasized “the need to do so in a manner consistent with international humanitarian law that prioritizes the protection of civilians,” according to a statement from the White House. The United Nations has called for an urgent humanitarian ceasefire to provide aid for Gaza.
Some people are unsatisfied with this response, so they’ve gathered at protests across the United States to support Palestinians. At the demonstration in Chicago on October 21, protesters chanted “Joe Biden, war criminal” and “Free, free Palestine” as they marched down Michigan Avenue, waving the black, white, green and red Palestinian flag.
One protestor, who would like to be referred to only by his first name, expressed his discontent with the Biden administration’s response to the conflict.
“We’re continuing the same policies we’ve continued for generations. We’re just uncritically giving money to forces to wage war however they see fit, because they ‘line up with’ American interests,” Ryan said. “We should start questioning whether or not those interests actually aligned with our interests.”
Ryan is a member of the International Socialist Alternative, which is an organization of “workers, young people and all those oppressed by capitalism and imperialism,” according to its website. The organization has a presence in over 30 countries, and it’s promoting working class alternatives. The organization was a key component in the fight for a $15 per hour minimum wage and the fight against former President Donald Trump.
Another protestor, who also only wanted to be referred to by her first name, describes the Biden administration’s aid to Israel as a continuation of U.S. imperialism.
Damaris calls the Israel-Palestine conflict a “genocide” and describes its connection to a much more expansive issue of colonialism and the occupation of foreign territories. One example that she refers to is the U.S. intervention in Guatemala, which occurred in 1954 when the elected Guatemalan leader was overthrown by a CIA-supported coup, according to the Zinn Education Project.
“Israel and the U.S. have also occupied and impaired lives in Guatemala. [The U.S.] has funded a lot of military funds to commit genocide in Guatemala as well,” Damaris said.
Damaris stands not only in solidarity with Palestinians but also with Guatemalans and other oppressed peoples suffering from imperialism.
“I’m surprised at how many other young people and working people are here, just in solidarity, and it shows that like, yeah, there’s something about this that has tapped into popular opinion,” Ryan said, “and people want to go out and, and fight for this.”
Since the nationwide protests on October 21, Israel has continued to fire airstrikes into the Gaza Strip. These airstrikes and shortages have caused more than 60% of Gaza’s medical facilities to be out of service, according to the Palestinian Authority Minister of Health Mai al-Kaila.
In a recent statement, the United Nations agencies have called for an abrupt ceasefire in Israel and Palestinian territories. However, in a private meeting on Monday, November 6, the UN Security Council did not agree on a draft resolution that would encourage a ceasefire.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told ABC News that Israel will have the “overall security responsibility” in Gaza for an “indefinite period” after the war ends. He also told ABC News that Israel would not retreat until every hostage is released from Hamas’s detainment.
“Once Palestine is free, every other country will be free,” Damaris said.
Header by MJ White