EDITOR’S NOTE: The Post covered a protest outside the State Department on July 20 against U.S. policy in the Middle East and Israel’s actions in Gaza. One reporter sent to cover the protest, Britain Eakin, is an intern who has written opinion pieces elsewhere that sharply criticize Israel in the conflict. The Post should not have sent her to cover the protest and, had it known of her writings, would not have done so.
Hundreds of peaceful protesters gathered in Washington on Sunday to demonstrate against Israeli violence in Gaza, with many expressing frustration with what they see as unconditional U.S. support for Israel.
“The U.S. is the primary patron of Israel and provides unequivocal diplomatic and military support,” said Noura Erakat, a Palestinian lawyer and professor at George Mason University. “It’s a complicit third party in what amounts to a massacre of the Palestinian population entrapped within the Gaza strip.”
The demonstrators gathered outside the State Department, where Palestinian Americans, Muslims, Jews and others waved Palestinian flags and held up signs calling for an immediate end to the violence.
In the two-week offensive, more than 445 Palestinians, many of them women and children, have died.
Mervin Adwan, who lives in the District, said her grandmother was killed in an Israeli attack in recent days. Adwan, a mother of six, is from Gaza, but she has lived in the United States for 13 years and hasn’t been back there to visit.
“I would like to see my people safe in their lands. I want to feel free to visit my family, and I can’t do that because it’s not safe for my kids,” Adwan said.
Speakers at the event included Rabbi Dovid Feldman of Jews United Against Zionism, before the protesters marched to the White House.
“We want to urge the U.S. to please stop this bloodshed,” Feldman said. “It’s time to realize it’s wrong for the Palestinian people and dangerous for Jewish people,” he said.
Others were at the protest simply to show support.
“We’re here because it’s not just Palestinians who recognize what’s happening,” said Seth Morrison of Jewish Voice for Peace. “We believe the rights of the Palestinians must be respected.”
In France, pro-Palestinian French youths defying a ban on a protest against Israel’s Gaza offensive clashed with police Sunday, setting fire to cars, pillaging stores and attacking two synagogues in Paris suburbs, wire services reported.
Police, backed by a helicopter overhead, responded with tear gas during hours of unrest in the northern suburb of Sarcelles, home to a large Jewish community.
The unrest was the second time in two days that pro-Palestinian demonstrations in France turned violent. The demonstration, like one in Paris on Saturday, had been banned to ensure peace.
France has Western Europe’s largest Muslim and Jewish populations, and crises in the Middle East, like the one triggered by the Gaza offensive, often spill into France, according to wire services.
Pro-Palestinian marches also were reported in Dublin and London on Sunday and in New York on Friday.