- New York City 07/14/2014 by Linda Perry (WBAI)
Protesters outside the gates of City Hall where a New York stands with Israel rally was underway. July 14, 2014
Shame on you City Council – that was the chant from outside the gates of City Hall. On the steps, elected officials declared that New York stands with Israel during the conflict in Gaza.
City Councilmember Margaret Chin says people have a right to demonstrate.
“But I think it’s really important for all of us here to send a strong message that we’re here standing with Israel. They have a right to defend themselves and we urge all sides to come together."
Chin says peace is the only answer. But where to find that peace?
“It seems like everytime Israel is attacked we’re out here talking about Israel’s right to exist."
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz says that’s what makes it difficult to negotiate with Hamas.
“How do you negotiate a cease fire, when the other side just refuses to see your right to exist, so I think Israel wants peace. Everybody wants peace and there's only one way to get that. The way to get that is to stop bombing the folks who live in that country and the country over the border."
But many people at the New York Stands with Israel rally say negotiation with Hamas is impossible. NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says the conflict is about civilians being targeted by missiles.
“Israel is not looking for civilian victims, The Palestinians are using their civilians to protect their missiles. Israel is using its missiles to protect its people."
Silver said the next step is irradication of all the missiles or a permanent cease fire. The Speaker said Israel has expressed willingness for a ceasefire.
Michael Miller is with the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York
"If Hamas stops firing its rockets Israel will stop with its aerial attacks." Why is it Hamas who needs to stop first I ask? "Because they're the ones Israel is responding to. Israel did not pro-actively attack Gaza. Hamaz pro-actively fired rockets and mortars and other projectiles into the State of Israel.."
"They're telling a lie by placing all the responsibility on Hamas for this violence. The responsibility lies with the 47 year occupation of Palestine by the Israeli government and military, backed by millions of dollars a year coming from the United States' government.
Pam Sporn with Jewish Voices for Peace stands outside the City Hall Rally with protesters. She says many of the politicians won’t take the principled stand of standing up to occupation, standing up to the racism and inequality of Israel towards Palestinians.
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