Dozens of protesters yesterday demonstrated outside the Taipei office of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) against US support for Israel in the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas that has led to heavy civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip.
“Free Palestine! Let Gaza live!” protesters chanted as they held placards with slogans against the Israeli military action in Gaza, urging the US to cease military support for Israel, as well as pictures of children killed in the Israeli offensive.
The protesters also placed red handprints on flags of the US and Israel to symbolize their belief the two countries are responsible for the bloodshed in Gaza.
“It has been more than 20 days since Israel launched its latest offensive on Gaza, leading to the deaths of more than 1,200 people and wounding more than 620, while, according to UN statistics, as many as 160,000 Palestinians have been displaced,” Taiwan Labor Party Vice Chairman Tang Shu (唐曙) said.
“The US not only firmly supports the Israeli massacre of Palestinians, but has also been providing US$3 billion a year in military assistance to Israel since 2006,” he said.
While US President Barack Obama says he feels saddened to see Palestinian civilians being killed, the US never withdraws its support for Israel, Tang said.
“On July 23, the US was the only country at a UN meeting that voted against launching an investigation on Israeli war crimes, meaning that the US approves of the killings in Gaza,” Tang said.
He condemned Israel for attacking a UN refugee facility despite receiving a clear warning from the UN.
“Israel does not care, because the US is backing it,” he said.
China Tide Association secretary-general Lin Sheng-chou (林聲洲) said that it was hard for him to imagine that a people who suffered from ethnic cleansing would now involve themselves in the same crime.
“What the Nazis did to the Jews shocked the world, triggering a worldwide anti-fascist movement,” Lin said.
“It is hard for me to imagine that the Jews are doing to Palestinians what the Nazis did to them during World War II, because of the Zionist movement,” Lin said.
Lin said Israel says that it has launched attacks on Gaza because it was being attacked by rockets fired by Hamas.
“However, the military forces of the two sides are not balanced. Israel is using a disproportional force to attack Gaza, harming mostly civilians and civilian facilities,” he said.
Tang said that if the US claims that it supports Israeli military action because Israel has the right to self-defense when rockets are flying into its territories, then “why doesn’t the rule of self-defense apply to Palestinians as well?”
At the end of the demonstration, AIT spokesperson Mark Zimmer came out to take a petition from the protesters.
A rally is being organized for outside the Israeli representative office in Taipei on Saturday evening and everyone who is concerned about what is going on in Gaza is welcome to attend, Tang said.
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