WASHINGTON - Thousands of Americans converged on Washington for a massive rally outside the White House to protest Israeli bombardment of Gaza that has killed more than 1600 Palestinians and also to demand a fair resolution to the Middle East conflict.
The demonstrators, gathering under dozens of organizations, included Muslims, Christians and Jews as they marched around streets in one of the largest protests in the US capital yet against the ongoing Israeli bombing, that has elicited widespread international condemnation and UN calls for an end to illegal blockade of the Gaza strip.
The protesters called on Washington to pressure Israel into immediately stopping the military operation in Gaza as it has massacred hundreds of innocent Palestinians including a large number of women and children.
They asked the United States to stop American aid for Israel, and chanted that killing children is a crime against humanity.
Many participants of Arab origin wore dresses in Palestinian flag colors. While others in the crowd condemned the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for threatening a prolonged military campaign in Gaza, comparing him with Hitler.
Netanyahu has claimed that the ongoing operation is targeting the Hamas organization to diminish its ability to fire rockets into Israel.
The placards and banners displayed by demonstrators, who had traveled from New York, Chicago, Florida and many other places, read "Free Palestine Let Gaza Live." The demonstration drew participation by many Jewish Americans.
According to The Washington Post, Shelley Cohens Fudge, 57, of Silver Spring, Maryland, who is the D.C. metropolitan chapter coordinator for Jewish Voice for Peace, said "We have Arab Americans, Jewish Americans, people from Pakistan, people from all walks of life here - there are many Jewish Americans who are very upset by the very disproportionate situation - it's not a war, it's an assault and an invasion."
Some participants reminded Israeli supporters of the universal message of peaceful coexistence and drew the US leaderships' attention to the urgency to broker an acceptable resolution to the Palestinian question that may put an end to the suffering of the people.
"As a Jew, a mother, a U.S. taxpayer, and a compassionate human being, I weep as I watch the massacre of so many innocent people, including hundreds of children in Gaza," CODEPINK organisation co-founder, Medea Benjamin, said in a statement, underscoring the importance of participation in the rally.