Thousands of demonstrators are taking to the streets in New York City holding ‘Abolish Israel’ signs to show their support for Palestinians, with protests also planned in other US cities following intense demonstrations around the world.
The ‘Rally to Defend Palestine‘ on Saturday afternoon in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Queens was organized by the New York group Within Our Lifetime (WOL).
It comes after nearly two weeks of violent conflict between Israel and Palestinian militant groups left at least 250 people dead, most of them Palestinians, and as the residents of Gaza survey the damage after heavy Israeli bombardment.
In Queens, one car displayed a poster branding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ‘the biggest terrorist in the world!’
Marchers were pictured holding various flags, including one that appears to show a red target over Israel’s flag – though the meaning of the flag was not entirely clear. Another man held a sign that called to ‘Abolish Israel’ while another protester held a sign that reads ‘End the Ongoing Nekba’, a reference to the day Israel became a nation.
Other demonstrators carried signs reading ‘End all U.S. aid to Israel’, ‘Free Palestine’ and ‘Jerusalem is the Capital of Palestine’ while marchers chanted ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ and ‘Say it loud, say it clear, we don’t want no Zionists here.’
After gathering under the 7 Line viaduct, the group marched through the streets chanting, their numbers swelling to the thousands, video shows.
A protester is seen on top of a street light waving a Palestinian flag while a car is surrounded by smoke during a pro-Palestine march in New York City
People are seen walking with red and green smoke bombs indicating Palestinian colors during a march in New York City
Dozens of Muslims are pictured kneeling in prayer toward Mecca while on a street in New York City on Saturday
A man sits on top of a car with a sign indicating support for Palestine during a march in New York City on Saturday
Police block entrances to the freeway as people attend a pro-Palestine protest in Queens, New York on Saturday
A man is surrounded in white smoke from a smoke bomb while protesting in support of Palestine in New York City on Saturday
Pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrate in New York City on Saturday. After gathering under the 7 Line viaduct, the group marched through the streets chanting, their numbers swelling to the thousands
Protesters are seen gathering in the Sunnyside neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City on Saturday
Demonstrators pile into the back of a Uhaul truck to shout slogans and wave flags as they attend a ‘rally for Palestine’ in the Queens borough of New York City
People hold flags during a pro-Palestinian rally in the Queens borough of New York City on Saturday, one of which appears to show a red target over Israel’s flag – though the meaning of the flag was not entirely clear
A woman waves as she participates in a pro-Palestinian rally on Saturday in the Queens borough of New York City
A man holds a sign that reads ‘End the Ongoing Nekba’, a reference to the day Israel became a nation – displacing the people of Palestine – while another man holds an ‘Abolish Israel’ sign in New York City
Demonstrators shout slogans and wave flags as they attend a ‘rally for Palestine’ in the Queens borough of New York City
A car in New York City displays a poster of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu branding him a terrorist
People attend a pro-Palestinian protest in the New York City neighborhood of Sunnyside, Queens on Saturday
The ‘Rally to Defend Palestine’ on Saturday afternoon in Queens was organized by the group Within Our Lifetime
Demonstrators carried signs reading ‘End all U.S. aid to Israel’, ‘Free Palestine’ and ‘Jerusalem is the Capital of Palestine’
Hundreds attended Saturday’s rally in Queens, including some sporting the garb of Orthodox Jews
Saturday marked the first full day of a cease-fire in Gaza, and Egyptian mediators held talks to firm up the truce which ended the fourth Israel-Hamas war in just over a decade
People participate in a pro-Palestinian rally on Saturday in the Queens borough of New York City stand on top of vehicles while waving flags
Members of the Jewish community in New York City protest against Israel in a pro-Palestinian march on Saturday
WOL previously organized a pro-Palestinian demonstration in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn last weekend.
‘People have been reaching out to us for a while now from Queens, from Staten Island, from the Bronx asking to bring the Palestinian cause to their neighborhood,’ Nerdeen Kiswani, the Chair and Co-founder of WOL, told the Queens Post.
‘Especially Queens —the most diverse place in the world — and it’s always been the people of the world who support Palestine, so we know there’ll be massive support for people there.’
Saturday marked the first full day of a cease-fire in Gaza, and Egyptian mediators held talks to firm up the truce which ended the fourth Israel-Hamas war in just over a decade.
Hundreds of masked Hamas fighters brandishing assault rifles paraded in Gaza City and the group´s top leader made his first public appearance on Saturday, in a defiant show of strength after the militants’ 11-day war with Israel.
In the fighting, Israel unleashed hundreds of airstrikes against militant targets in Gaza, while Hamas and other militants fired more than 4,000 rockets toward Israel.
Palestinian woman look at the rubble of the destroyed Al-Shorouq tower on Friday following a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza fighters, in Beit Hanun, northern Gaza Strip
A woman attends the protest on Saturday in Queens, held to show solidarity with the Palestinian people
Thousands marched through the streets of New York showing support for Palestinians following the 11-day war
Thousands of people participate in a pro-Palestinian rally on Saturday in the Queens borough of New York City with signs that read ‘Israel is not a democracy’ and ‘stop genocide’
A man waves the flags of Palestinians and of Yemen at the protest in Queens on Saturday
The demonstration in Queens (above) followed a similar one last weekend in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn
Western Queens is especially diverse, including sections that are represented by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Pro-Palestinian demonstrations in the US on Saturday followed earlier protests held in major European cities
Pro-Palestinian demonstrations were also held in major European cities on Saturday.
In London, tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered for a second weekend in a row as they called for an ‘urgent’ resolution to the Israeli-Palestine conflict.
Cars were smashed up by protesters, with pictures showing a traffic cone shoved through the rear window of one parked vehicle surrounded by activists waving Palestinian flags.
Loud chants of ‘Israel is a terrorist state’ could be heard as the activists weaved their way through the capital, setting off flares and blocking traffic in the process.
The large group, situated close to Victoria Embankment, stretched across the surrounding roads as dozens of police officers watched on.
Several thousands also marched on Saturday in Paris and other French cities in support of Palestinians.
London: Protestors set fire to an Israeli flag outside of the country’s embassy in South Kensington on Saturday
Protesters walk past a London bus in Kensington, after a march in solidarity with the people of Palestine. Flares were set off
‘A ceasefire does not resolve the question. This fight concerns all those who are attached to the values of justice, dignity and law,’ said Bertrand Heilbronn, president of the France Palestine Solidarity Association which organised the Paris rally and other demonstrations.
The capital marchers shouted slogans such as ‘Palestine will live, Palestine will win’, ‘Israel assassin, Macron accomplice’, ‘and We are all Palestinians.’
The CGT trade union said up to 4,000 people attended the Paris rally.
‘Even if the bombings have ended, the occupier is still there. The residents of Sheikh Jarrah are still facing the threat of expulsion and the Gaza Strip is blockaded,’ said Wael, a 28-year-old marcher with a Palestinian flag draped around his shoulders.
Other protests were held in the eastern French city of Strasbourg, northern Lille and Toulouse and Montpellier in the south.
‘Palestinians have a right to live in peace and have a state. Israel has deprived us of our rights and of our houses. I am Palestinian but I no longer have the right to go there, my family has lost everything,’ said Imad Deaibis in Strasbourg.
Paris: People take part in a protest in support of Palestinians on Saturday following a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence
People gather at Rebuplique Square in Paris on Saturday for a demonstration in solidarity with Palestinians
Protesters hold Palestinian flags in Paris on Saturday as they take part in a rally supporting Palestinians
In Gaza City, residents began assessing damage on Saturday following 11 days of heavy bombardment.
One of Gaza City’s busiest commercial areas, Omar al-Mukhtar Street, was covered in debris, smashed cars and twisted metal after a 13-floor building in its center was flattened in an Israeli airstrike.
Merchandise was covered in soot and strewn inside smashed stores and on the pavement. Municipal workers swept broken glass and twisted metal from streets and sidewalks.
‘We really didn´t expect this amount of damage,’ said Ashour Subeih, who sells baby clothes. ‘We thought the strike was a bit further from us. But as you can see not an area of the shop is intact.’ Having been in business for one year, Subeih estimated his losses were double what he has made so far.
Drone video and photos showed some city blocks reduced to rubble, in between homes and businesses left standing.
Both Israel and Hamas have claimed victory.
On Saturday, hundreds of Hamas fighters wearing military camouflage paraded past the mourning tent for Bassem Issa, a senior commander killed in the fighting.
The top Hamas leader in Gaza, Yehiyeh Sinwar, paid his respects in his first public appearance since the war began.
Gaza City: Members of Al-Qassam brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian Hamas group march on Saturday in commemoration of Senior Hamas Commander Bassem Issa who was killed along others in Israeli airstrikes
Children stand with Hamas militants as they parade through the streets of Gaza City on Saturday
Hamas militants parade through the streets of Gaza City on Saturday. Both Israel and Hamas have claimed victory in the war
Israel bombed the house of Sinwar, along with that of other senior Hamas figures, as part of its attack on what it said was the group’s military infrastructure. Israel’s defense minister, Benny Gantz, has said Israel delivered a punishing blow to Hamas, and that top Hamas figures remained targets.
Still, there was a widespread expectation that the cease-fire would stick for now, even if another round of fighting at some point seems inevitable. Underlying issues remain unresolved, including an Israeli-Egyptian border blockade, now in its 14th year, that is choking Gaza’s more than 2 million residents and a refusal by the Islamic militant Hamas to disarm.
The fighting began on May 10, when Hamas militants in Gaza fired long-range rockets toward Jerusalem. The barrage came after days of clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Heavy-handed police tactics at the compound and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers had inflamed tensions.
The war has further sidelined Hamas’ main political rival, the internationally backed Palestinian Authority, which oversees autonomous enclaves in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Hamas’ popularity seemed to be growing as it positioned itself as a defender of Palestinian claims to Jerusalem.
Palestinian woman holds a girl near the rubble of buildings on Saturday in Gaza following the cease-fire deal. Due to the attacks, 1,800 houses were destroyed in the Gaza Strip, while 6,800 houses were partially damaged
Palestinian security forces work on neutralizing an unexploded ordnance remaining in Gaza Strip on Saturday
On Friday, hours after the cease-fire took effect, thousands of Palestinians in the Al-Aqsa compound chanted against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his self-rule government. ‘Dogs of the Palestinian Authority, out, out,’ they shouted, and ‘The people want the president to leave.’
It was an unprecedented display of anger against Abbas. The conflict also brought to the surface deep frustration among Palestinians, whether in the occupied West Bank, Gaza or within Israel, over the status quo, with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process all but abandoned for years.
Despite his weakened status, Abbas will be the point of contact for any renewed U.S. diplomacy, since Israel and the West, including the United States, consider Hamas a terrorist organization.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is to meet with Abbas and Israeli leaders when he visits in the coming week. Abbas is expected to raise demands that any Gaza reconstruction plans go through the Palestinian Authority to avoid strengthening Hamas.
Abbas met Saturday with Egyptian mediators, discussing the rebuilding of Gaza and internal Palestinian relations, according to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.
An Egyptian diplomat said that two teams of mediators were in Israel and the Palestinian territories to continue talks on firming up a cease-fire deal and securing long-term calm.