Thursday, July 31, 2014

Die-in Staged in Santa Cruz to Protest Israel's Assault on Gaza

A demonstration was held in downtown Santa Cruz on July 28 to protest Israel's continued assault on Gaza and the people of Palestine. After rallying at the Town Clock, where many of the names and ages of Palestinians killed were displayed on placards, community members marched to the Cooper House on Pacific Avenue where a die-in was staged. Individuals laid down on the sidewalk and their bodies were outlined in chalk as organizers read the names and ages of Palestinian children killed since the war began on July 8.

A press release announcing the demonstration stated: "The Santa Cruz community is calling for an end to the 7-year siege and Genocidal assault on Gaza by Israel's military, fully funded and supported by the U.S. president, congress and senate. Santa Cruz demands an end to ongoing U.S. covert operations in Iraq and Syria. More than 50% of the populations in these regions are children. War is being waged on children with our tax dollars."

"Violence on this scale has forced us into a situation in which complacency and silence is an act of complicity in violence. Our small town joins thousands of others all across the United States and the Globe to reject the massacre in Gaza," said Kali Rubaii, a UCSC graduate student who attended the demonstration.

Participants in the rally included UCSC students, members of the Palestine Israel Action Committee, Jewish Voice for Peace, Veterans for Peace, Association of Filipinas, Feminists Fighting Imperialism, Re-feudalization, and Marginalization (AF3IRM), several faith groups, as well as individuals from a variety of other local anti-war organizations.

Santa Cruz Activists Display Names of Palestinian Children Killed in Gaza

At a vigil calling for peace in the Middle East held in Santa Cruz on July 21, activists displayed a partial list of the names of Palestinian children killed by Israelis in Gaza since July 7. The names, printed on plain white pages, were displayed along several lines suspended in front of the Town Clock. The demonstration was the latest in a series of actions organized in Santa Cruz to call for peace in the Middle East, specifically in Iraq, Syria, and Palestine.

The cards displayed at the Town Clock were inscribed with the names of Palestinian children of all ages who have been killed since the war started in early July. Some of the children were killed when they were only months old. Dates of their death were included, and some were killed as recently as the day of the protest.

One event announcement for the vigil read: "U.S. weapons in the Middle East ARE killing innocent civilians and destroying families and communities. These lives matter to us." Another asked for community members to protest "genocide" and to end the U.S. funding of war crimes committed in Palestine by Israel.

One of the signs at the demonstration linked the U.S. Senate's recent unanimous vote to support Israel's invasion, to the death toll that immediately followed it. Two days after the 100 Senators voted to support the war, 100 more people were killed in the fighting in Gaza: 87 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.

On a table located next to the Town Clock, a variety of information about the Middle East was available. Organizers highlighted one article which detailed the U.S. government's involvement in funding Israel's "Iron Dome" missile defense system. The defense system protects Israel from between 75 and 95 percent of missile attacks. The United States has spent hundreds of millions of dollars funding the system, with payments to have them built being made to both American and Israel defense contractors. The Palestinians have no equivalent defense system of their own.

A petition addressed to Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, demanding all forms of violent intervention be removed from consideration in Iraq, was also available for residents of Santa Cruz to sign. The petition lists the following demands:

* Stop weapon sales to the Middle East, including Iraq
* No air strikes by drone or jet on Iraqis
* Pay reparations due the Iraqi people
* Support infrastructure repair BY Iraqis FOR Iraqis

Its last line encourages Eshoo to, "Give peace a chance!"

Monday, July 21, 2014

Protests Opposing Israel's War on Gaza Continue in Santa Cruz

Following reports that Israel had begun moving ground troops into Gaza, community members in Santa Cruz held protests on July 18 and 19. Another demonstration is planned for today, July 21 at 5pm at the Town Clock to protest the military escalation and the ongoing killing of Palestinians. [Photos from July 19]

The protest on July 19 was held at the corner of Ocean and Water Streets, and community members held signs and tabled. Among the literature offered was a brochure encouraging individuals to boycott Hewlett Packard. The company profits off the production of biometric ID cards used for Israel’s population registry, which includes the occupied Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza.

Several of the signs displayed by demonstrators along Ocean Street featured pictures of children who have been killed by Israel since the atrocities began on July 7.

Those participating in the demonstration included individuals with the Palestine-Israel Action Committee, Santa Cruz WILPF, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the Peace and Freedom Party.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Community Members in Santa Cruz Protest Israel's Attacks on Gaza

On July 14, community members joined together in Santa Cruz to protest Israel's recent bombing of Gaza, as well as the collective punishment carried out against the Palestinian people living there and in the West Bank. Demonstrators say most of the weapons that are being used against the Palestinian civilian population have been paid for with U.S. tax dollars, and they have called the bombings, "acts of genocide" and a "moral outrage."

Some of the signs at the protest were embellished with photographs of Palestinian children injured in the bombings, and some had statistics tallying the death toll during the attacks: 172 people killed in Gaza and zero in Israel. One demonstrator held a sign that stated 1,384 Palestinian children had been killed by the Israeli military since the year 2000.

Other signs included statements such as "Boycott Genocide, Boycott Israel," "Let Gaza Live! Another Jewish Voice Opposed to Atrocities in Gaza!" "No More War, Find Peace or Make It," "The Real Terrorists: U.S.-Israeli War Machine," "What Jewish Law Permits the Killing of Innocent Children?" and "Assault on Gaza = Murder."

Approximately 50-75 people attended the demonstration, which was held at the Town Clock and organized by the Palestine-Israel Action Committee as a "Santa Cruz Day of Rage." Some rage wound up being exhibited, as at least two individuals with a "pro-Israel" agenda situated themselves in the middle of the demonstration and engaged in heated communications with the larger group.