By Joshua Albert
As Israel’s assault on Gaza continues to intensify, so are rallies here in Philadelphia from supporters of both sides.
Since Israel’s assault began 16 days ago, 658 Palestinians have been killed and over 2,000 injured. According to a United Nations statement issued today , 74% of these fatalities are civilian and a third of them children. The UN also states:
One child has been killed each hour in Gaza over the past two days. Each of these children had a name and a future and a life that was cut horribly short.
Two Israeli civilians are confirmed dead. 26 Israeli soldiers have been killed during combat operations in Gaza.
For the second time in less than a week pro-Israel protesters and #FreePalestine protestors will confront each other on the same block to show support for each group’s cause.
Last week the Jewish Federation of Philadelphia announced a rally to show support for the Israeli occupation and ongoing incursion into Gaza. The Facebook event page for this demonstration (which has many sponsors, including the Anti-Defamation League) has approximately 430 people planning to attend.
After local pro-Palestinian supporters discovered this protest, the call was then put out to hold a counter-protest at the same location: LOVE park. That event page also lists over 300 attendees. Numbers from both sides have been significantly larger in past protests, however.
Today’s demonstrations are expected to begin at 4:30 pm.
The Declaration is committed to covering these rallies. More specifically, we have noted a dearth of Palestinian voices in Philadelphia media coverage. To remedy this, we are currently working on a short documentary showing how the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is affecting the Philadelphia community. For coverage of today’s rallies, please follow us on Twitter.