Protesters condemn Israeli actions, U.S. aid, media’s coverage

Tracey Nelson

The Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee united with other groups Friday to protest Israeli violence against Palestinians and U.S. aid to Israel.
Protesters were responding to the recent conflict between Israel and the Palestinians over the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, which resulted in the deaths of 100 Palestinians.
The Palestinians are “unarmed and go out with stones, and the Israelis kill them with guns,” said demonstrator Muhammed Almosa, adding, “The U.N. resolutions are constantly ignored, but the (United States) always stands behind Israel.”
Hussein Hamad spoke at the demonstration and expressed anger toward the media for slanting their stories in favor of Israel. He argued that influences from Jewish organizations and racism against Arabs and Muslims caused the slanted media coverage. “Books and movies show Muslims as subhuman and terrorists,” he said.
Hamad said the media’s goal is to defend Israel and come up with excuses.
Shep Harris, director of Public Affairs for the Jewish Community Relations Council, said there was an outpouring of disappointment and sadness from the Jewish community since the violence erupted so close to peace.
He said the rally was counter-productive to peace talks and to the JCRC’s goal of having a tolerant and diverse community.
“Saying the media (are) slanted because of Jewish influences is an anti-Semitic statement, and all of the groups involved in this demonstration owe the Jewish community an apology,” Harris said. “The anti-Semitic statement is used to anger the common people.
“Saying ‘If they don’t control the government, then they control the media’ is propaganda that goes back to Hitler,” Harris said.
University senior David Skouholt was among the protesters and agreed with Hamad.
“The media pictures are skewed,” Skouholt said. “People don’t know what is going on.
Protesters carried signs reading “stop funding death squads” and “Sharone — The Butcher of the East,” and chanted: “No justice, no peace.”
Demonstrators cited U.N. General Assembly Resolutions 194 and 242 of 1948, which provide free access for all citizens to holy places. They also said refugees should be allowed to return to their homes or compensated for loss of property by the responsible governments.
The United Nations also instructed the Conciliation Commission to facilitate the resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees.
Finally, the resolutions call for the withdrawal of Israeli military forces from territories occupied in the Six-Day War of 1967 and the political independence of all states in the area.
Hamad said this means Israel is supposed to give back all of the historically Palestinian lands, and the Israeli soldiers and tanks are to leave.
“Israel never adhered to international law and the (United States) always vetoes sanctions against Israel for not following law,” he said. “The (United States) gave four billion dollars in aid to Israel, which was used to buy weapons used against the Palestinians.
“Enough is enough,” Hamad said.
He described the Israeli negotiations as “accept or you’re dead.”
“The devil is in the details,” said Harris. “Resolution 242 applies to countries that are the aggressors. Arab countries started three wars against Israel. Israel is not violating (Resolution) 242 because it didn’t start the wars; it wasn’t the aggressor.”
Palestinians are also getting U.S. aid, and some money went for military uses, specifically setting up an infrastructure for a Palestinian state, said Harris, adding, “They are calling for (United States) to get out, but they can’t have it both ways.”

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