On January 17th, 2009, members of our US Citizens group joined tens of thousands of Italian and Muslim groups calling for an end to the attack on Gaza. Demonstrators marched from Piazza Vittorio to Piramide - significant as a site of resistance to Nazi occupation during World War II - with estimated numbers ranging from 15,000 (by the police) to 150,000 (by organizers). A wide array of Arabic/Muslim and Italian groups, both political and social, was represented. Palestinian flags fluttered alongside rainbow peace banners and the red of various leftist parties. The mobilization of large numbers of immigrant families, individuals and groups was notable for a population generally marginalized and/or absent from political participation. (See the original appeal and the flyer we distributed)
The demonstration's opening banner, “stop the massacre in Gaza,” set the tone for the general message of the march, which came at the end of weeks of protests, vigils, and letter campaigns held in Rome and across the globe since Israel began its attack on December 27, 2008. By the time Israeli troops withdrew 22 days later, on the eve of Barack Obama's inauguration as President of the United States, the death toll had reached as many as 1330, with more than 5300 wounded (of which over 1855 are children). During the attack, 500,000 residents were without running water, and thousands have been left homeless by the destruction. Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International allege that Israel used white phosphorous.
The attack was carried out with the full support of the United States, which in July 2008 supplied Israel with 186 million gallons of JP-8 jet fuel for F-16 jets and Apache helicopters, both used in the aerial bombing of Gaza. Congress also approved an unprecedented 10-year U.S. military aid package for Israel of 30 billion USD, to be allocated in annual increments of 3 billion USD starting October 2008. In addition, on January 8, just days after being seated, both houses of Congress voted almost unanimously in favor of one-sided resolutions “recognizing Israel's right to defend itself” and “reaffirming the United States strong support for Israel,” absolving Israel of any responsibility for its actions.
Although the current attack has ended, its impact will be felt for a long time to come, and the decades-long occupation of the territory is far from over. Please join us in our continued efforts to ensure a just peace in the Middle East.
Did someone tell you that U.S. military intervention in Iraq was over? Not true: we're at it again. This time the pretext to drop bombs is "curbing ISIS" (which was created by the U.S. in the first place, to overturn Assad in Syria and al-Malaki in Iraq, and is now out of hand. Like what happened to "our" creature al Qaeda in Afghanistan). And the death toll continues to rise...