Anti-war protesters rally against Gaza invasion and rising Palestinian death toll

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Jaclyn (left) and Russell Bates protest the invasion of Gaza outside the Israeli consulate in San Francisco.
Steven T. Jones

As the West Bank erupted today in a “day of rage” against Israel’s ongoing invasion of Gaza and its lopsided death toll during 18 days of combat with Palestinians, anti-war activists in the Bay Area have been holding daily protests outside the Israeli consulate in downtown San Francisco and preparing for what they hope will be a big demonstration tomorrow [Sat/26].

Anti-war activists will gather tomorrow at 1pm in Justin Herman Plaza (Market and Embarcadero) for a rally and march organized by the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition and other groups, including Arab Resource Organizing Center, Arab Youth Organization, and American Muslims for Palestine. The march will go up Market Street and circle around Union Square before returning to the starting point. 

“Israel receives $4 billion in ‘aid’ from the United States each year. This money is being used to commit war crimes against the Palestinian people in Gaza. We are demanding that all U.S aid to Israel be ended now! More than 200 people in Gaza have been killed and more than 1,500 have been wounded from Israeli bombs and missiles. This has to end!” ANSWER wrote in its call-to-protest, although The New York Times reports the Palestinian death toll is now at least 800, compared to 38 Israeli deaths.

During yesterday’s daily protest outside the Israeli consulate, from 4-5pm at 456 Montgomery Street, a Palestinian woman named Jaclyn told the Guardian that the US media is to blame for the relatively small number of protesters on the streets. Recent protests have been small compared to massive demonstrations lduring the buildup to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

“The problem is the media, they don’t’ have the correct information. People are being brainwashed, frankly,” she told us.

Protester Russell Bates, who was holding a Palestinian flag that he says he’s been flying for the last 10 year in solidarity with Palestinians under Israeli occupation, noted that Gaza has been invaded by Israel three times in the last seven years, with lopsided death tolls in each conflict and yet continuing US financial aid.

“The US government Israel-occupied territory, for sure,” he said. “It’s unimaginable to me how people can remain quiet.”

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