By Abayomi Azikiwe
On Saturday October 21, the streets of various cities throughout the globe were filled with millions rallying and marching in solidarity with the Palestinian people as the siege of Gaza continues having killed over 4,000 people and injuring tens of thousands of others.
2.2 million Palestinians are imperiled due to the relentless bombings by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) over the last two weeks.
The bombings of civilian areas and infrastructure are considered war crimes by the United Nations. However, the United States government, Britain and the European Union (EU) are not only supporting the State of Israel they are pledging to send more military assistance. In the case of Washington, President Joe Biden has gone to the divided and beleaguered Congress to request $106 billion to spread greater insecurity and war throughout West Asia, North Africa, the Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe and the southern border of the U.S.
Biden has deployed two aircraft carrier battle groups to the Eastern Mediterranean along with placing 2,000 Pentagon troops on alert for possible combat activity in defense of Israel and consequently against the Palestinian people and others living within contiguous states. The White House has threatened other countries and their governments not to take action in support of the Palestinians while the administration has failed to call for a ceasefire and the immediate distribution of much needed humanitarian aid to Gaza.
These militaristic initiatives are being answered even within the western industrial states and their allies through mass actions in defense of the rights of the Palestinian people to peace, self-determination, statehood and sovereignty. Demonstrations in Britain, the U.S and other capitalist states, illustrate the growing rejection of imperialism and its hegemonic intentions of destabilizing and subduing large swaths of territory throughout the world.
On October 21, the city of London was overflowing with marchers from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, a broad coalition of peace and antiwar organizations opposing the war policies of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of Britain and Joe Biden of the U.S. Despite the official position of the Conservative government in London which unconditionally approves of every bombing carried out by the IDF, obviously there is widespread public opinion against the foreign policy of the administration.
Al Jazeera reported in a news article that:
“Police in London have estimated 100,000 people took to the streets for the ‘National March for Palestine’ demonstration to denounce Israel’s relentless bombing campaign and total blockade of Gaza. ‘We are all united to deliver the same message: we want the violence to end. We’re calling for an immediate ceasefire and for necessary humanitarian supplies to be safely delivered to the people of Gaza,’ Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said in a post on X. The violence will not end ‘until you address the root cause’, which he identified as Israel’s decades-long military occupation. Chanting ‘Free Palestine’, holding banners and waving Palestinian flags, the protesters moved through London before massing at Downing Street, the official residence and office of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.”
In developments on the other side of the world, people in Australia demonstrated in several cities decrying the siege of Gaza and expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Press TV noted in this regard that:
“At the same time in Sydney, virtually 1500 people rallied in the streets, chanting ‘free, free Palestine’ and ‘down, down Israel.’ ‘It’s difficult, what has been broadcasted in the Western media is definitely not reflecting what is on the ground,’ said protester Abdullah Ali. ‘What I see is different … I see parts of children being put in plastic bags, it’s extremely hard for anyone to see.’ Thousands more people attended demonstrations in Perth, Brisbane, and Hobart, with more pro-Palestinian events scheduled to take place on Sunday in Melbourne and Adelaide. Angry protests have been held across the world since Israel killed hundreds of Palestinians at a Gaza hospital on Tuesday (Oct. 17).”
In the U.S., demonstrations have been held across the country. On October 18, hundreds gathered outside the McNamara Federal Building in downtown Detroit in a Palestine solidarity rally and later march.
Students at three high schools in Dearborn, a suburb just across the western border with Detroit, walked out in solidarity with Gaza and the Palestinian national struggle. The students waved Palestinian flags and denounced the policy pronouncements of the Biden administration.
According to the Detroit News:
“Students at both Edsel Ford High School and Dearborn High School walked out of their classrooms Friday morning (Oct. 20), waving flags and chanting phrases in support of Palestinians. One student at Edsel, affixed on the shoulders of another student, held a bullhorn and led the call-and-response cries while participants could be heard shouting: ‘Free, free Palestine,’ ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ and ‘Allahu Akbar,’ the Arabic phrase for ‘God is great.’… Friday’s walkout marked the second day in a row that students have walked out of classes in Dearborn. On Thursday, roughly 400 students walked out of Fordson High School, where roughly 90% of the student body is of Arab American descent.”
On October 21, demonstrators gathered in Washington, D.C. in solidarity with the Palestinian people. The protesters marched from the Washington Monument to Capitol Hill holding Palestinian flags and banners while chanting “Free Palestine.”
In New York City, hundreds of demonstrators from Islamic, Jewish and other communities marched to U.S. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand’s Manhattan office on October 21, while chanting “cease fire now.” New York City Police later arrested scores of protesters as they blocked the Third Avenue entrance outside Gillibrand’s office by sitting in the road. Numerous other protests have occurred in New York on campuses and in public areas.
Regional Solidarity Mobilizes Millions in West Asia and North Africa
Everyday within the neighboring states of Palestine and other areas, hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets demanding an end to the siege of Gaza and denouncing the policies of the U.S. and its imperialist allies. U.S. embassies have been targets of protests where solidarity activists are demanding the closure of all diplomatic missions from Washington.
In neighboring Egypt, thousands gathered in Cairo to call for an end to the siege of Gaza and the escalation of state and vigilante violence in the West Bank of Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). There were also huge crowds which gathered outside the Rafah Crossing demanding the opening of the border for humanitarian assistance to the people. When Israel placed impediments to the opening of the Rafah Border on October 20, people grew angry prompting a swift departure by western-based press agencies and United Nations officials.
Demonstrations have occurred in the Kingdom of Jordan, Turkey, the Kingdom of Morocco, Tunisia, Yemen and the Islamic Republic of Iran. In Iraq, there are reports of local resistance forces launching missiles at the U.S. troops still illegally based in that country.
In Lebanon tensions have grown on the border with Israel resulting in the evacuation of large areas occupied by Israeli settlers. The Hezbollah resistance movement in Lebanon has pledged to enter the war against Tel Aviv when it becomes necessary.
A report by Press TV noted the situation between Lebanon and Israel:
“Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah says it has fired guided missiles at an Israeli military base near the Lebanese border town of Houla. In a statement released on Saturday (Oct. 21), Hezbollah said that its missiles targeted the Al-Abad military site, outside the southern town of Houla on the country’s border with the occupied territories. It added that part of the technical equipment and technology of the base was destroyed in this attack. In another statement, the resistance movement said its precision-guided missiles also struck the Israeli military base in the town of Hanita. Lebanese sources also announced that Hezbollah has targeted two military vehicles of the Israeli regime in the Baram Heights area near the Lebanese border. Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem said that the latest operations in southern borders are in response to the ongoing Israeli assaults, stressing that the movement will intensify its attacks if necessary.”
United Nations Summit on Gaza Held in Egypt
A hastily convened conference in Cairo was held on October 21 by the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres who was in Egypt to oversee the promised opening of the Rahaf Border Crossing on the previous day. Some 20 trucks carrying limited and selective humanitarian aid were allowed to enter Gaza.
Al Jazeera reported on the one-day gathering saying:
“Leaders and top officials from more than a dozen countries have gathered in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, for a conference to discuss ways to ‘de-escalate’ the Israel-Hamas war amid growing fears of a wider Middle East conflict. Dubbed the Cairo Summit for Peace, representatives from countries including Jordan, France, Germany, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, the United States, Qatar and South Africa are attending the one-day meeting on Saturday, together with United Nations and European Union officials. In his opening remarks, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi invited leaders to come to an agreement for a road map to end the ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ in the Gaza Strip and revive a path to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The plan’s goals included the delivery of aid to Gaza and agreeing to a ceasefire, followed by negotiations leading to a two-state solution, he said…. President el-Sisi said on Wednesday that Egyptians in their millions would oppose any forced displacement of Palestinians into Sinai, adding that any such move would turn the Egyptian peninsula into a base for attacks against Israel. Egypt’s position reflects Arab fears that Palestinians could again flee or be forced from their homes en masse, as they were during the war surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948.”
The UN Egyptian conference cannot lead to the resolution of the escalating security crisis in Palestine and beyond. This will require a shift in policy direction by imperialism which funds and coordinates the IDF military operations in the region.
As the resistance to Israeli occupation intensifies, the U.S. and other imperialist states will become more isolated among the peoples of West Asia, North Africa and around the world. Unless Washington reverses its course on Palestine, an inevitable war involving various states and peoples will emerge endangering the peace and security of the international community.