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Global awakening: Unprecedented pro-Palestine rallies hit Europe, elsewhere

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Pro-Palestine demonstrators hold placards as they march to Parliament Square in central London, Britain, on May 22, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Different cities across the world have been the scene of protests in solidarity with Palestinians amid international condemnation of the bloody Israeli aggression against the besieged Gaza Strip.

Tel Aviv launched the bombing campaign against Gaza on May 10 after violent raids on worshipers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and Israeli plans to force Palestinian families out of their homes at Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem al-Quds drew retaliation. 

Apparently caught off guard by unprecedented rocket barrages from Gaza, Israel announced a unilateral ceasefire on May 21, which Palestinian resistance groups accepted with Egyptian mediation.

According to Gaza's Health Ministry, 248 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli offensive, including 66 children and 39 women, and at least 1,910 were injured.

During the fighting, Gaza-based resistance factions fired more than 4,300 rockets into the occupied territories in response to Israeli aerial assaults.

Security Council urges ‘full adherence’ to Gaza truce

In a statement released on Saturday, the United Nations Security Council called for “full adherence to the ceasefire” that ended the 11-day Israeli war on Gaza.

It also “mourned the loss of civilian lives resulting from the violence” and “stressed the immediate need for humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population, particularly in Gaza.”

“The members of the Security Council stressed the urgency of the restoration of calm in full and reiterated the importance of achieving a comprehensive peace based on” the so-called two-state solution, the statement read.

The United States, Israel’s closest ally, had earlier blocked four proposed resolutions calling for a ceasefire that all the other Security Council members supported.

Solidarity protests grow larger 

On Saturday, pro-Palestine protests took place in the UK, Australia, France and Germany.

In London, at least 180,000 people turned out for the march, making it the largest pro-Palestine protest in British history. 

The participants held Palestinian flags and carried banners declaring, “Free Palestine, “Stop bombing Gaza” and “Sanctions on Israel”.

Some of them lit flares showing the colors of the Palestinian national flag.

“I am so proud that we have come together for something this important,” Amal Nagvi, who took part in the London rally, told Doha-based Al Jazeera TV channel.

“A lot of people think this doesn’t do anything … they think we are just marching and screaming. But things have changed, and we’re just not going to stop until that change actually comes into a place and we have a free Palestine.”

Similar protests took place in other UK cities, including Birmingham and Liverpool.

In the Australian cities of Adelaide and Sydney, protesters gathered to vent their anger at the Israeli aggression.

“Palestinians continue to face violence from Israeli occupation forces and it’s not going to end until the occupation comes to an end,” said Palestine Action Group activist Dalia al-Haj Qasem who attended the Sydney march.

Another solidarity protest took place in the French capital, Paris, with demonstrators chanting slogans such as “Palestine will live, Palestine will win,” “Israel assassin, Macron accomplice” and “We are all Palestinians.”

Protesters hold a banner reading 'stop annexation - Palestine will win' during a demonstration in solidarity with the Palestinians in Paris, France, on May 15, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

“A ceasefire does not resolve the question. This fight concerns all those who are attached to the values of justice, dignity and law,” said Bertrand Heilbronn, president of the France Palestine Solidarity Association which organized the Paris rally.

The German cities of Frankfurt and Berlin also witnessed demonstrations in support of Palestine.

In Berlin, many chanted “Palestine will be free from the river to the sea.”

Mauritania seeks prosecution of Israel for ‘genocide’

In Mauritania, its parliament unanimously passed a resolution urging The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute Israeli officials for "genocide" against the Palestinians.

The 157-seat legislature called on "brotherly, Arab, African and Islamic parliaments and those of friendly countries in the world to take all measures to help protect the Palestinian people and defend their just cause.”

It further lauded the "resounding victory achieved by the Palestinian resistance against the Zionist enemy,” saying it was "the inescapable crowning achievement of its struggle against the occupation".

"The national assembly considers the ongoing Zionist aggression against the Palestinian people as one of the worst crimes of genocide," read the non-binding resolution.

Maldives says stands by Palestine

In a tweet on May 18, Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said, “The people of Maldives stand in solidarity with Palestine.”

Resistance fighters celebrate victory; Israel issues death threat

In Gaza, hundreds of resistance fighters marched past the mourning tent for Bassem Issa, a senior resistance commander who was killed in the Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.

Members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades march in Gaza City on May 22, 2021, in commemoration of senior commander Bassem Issa who was killed in Israeli airstrikes. (Photo by AFP)

Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, made his first public appearance since the conflict broke out.

It came one day after the Israeli minister of military affairs warned that all Hamas leaders remained potential targets.

Speaking to Channel 12 news, Benny Gantz claimed that the regime would eventually succeed in killing Mohammed Deif, chief of staff and supreme commander of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing.

Reports said the Israeli army had attempted to kill Deif at least twice during the aggression on Gaza, but both times he escaped unscathed.

“It will not be the last time we try,” Gantz threatened. “We’ll succeed in the end… For all Hamas leaders … — their blood is on their own hands.”

Fresh clashes erupt in Sheikh Jarrah

On Saturday night, Israeli forces attacked the Palestinians who had gathered in Sheikh Jarrah to call for an end to the siege on the East al-Quds neighborhood, the Palestinian Information Center reported.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said several Palestinians were wounded in the ensuing clashes.


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