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Florida students demand end to Israeli terror attacks

By Michela Martinazzi |
July 8, 2014
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(FightBack!News/Staff) Florida organizers of Students for Justice in Palestine (FightBack!News/Staff) Florida organizers of Students for Justice in Palestine

Gainesville, FL - University of Florida Students for Justice in Palestine (UF SJP) held a solidarity protest July 7 for Palestinian teens under attack by the Israeli state. Around 35 students and community activists held signs and chanted on the corner of the busy street of University and 13th Street near the campus. Protesters chanted, “Viva viva Palestina! Viva the Intifada!” and “Justice for Tariq!”

Last week the Israeli state launched a violent campaign against Palestinians in Gaza. They used the Israeli air force to bomb over a dozen areas, tear-gassed demonstrators, arrested over 600 people, carried out home demolitions and more.

The Gainesville student protest was in solidarity with Mohammed Abu Khdeir of Jerusalem and his cousin Tariq Khdeir of Tampa, Florida. Mohammed Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian, was kidnapped and burned alive on July 2. Tariq Khdeir, his 15-year-old Palestinian American cousin was protesting the violent campaign waged by the Israeli state. Tariq Khdeir was restrained by an Israeli police intelligence unit and brutally beaten to unconsciousness.

Eric Brown, a member of UF SJP said, "Seeing the pictures of Tariq's disfigured face really brought home to me the connection between the brutality Palestinians face from the Israeli state and the police brutality that Black men deal with in the U.S. In both cases the U.S. allows the brutality because of the state-sanctioned dehumanization of both groups. The imprisonment of both is done to further stifle resistance."

Brown continued, "We’re here today to send a clear message that collective punishment is wrong and that not only should those who beat Tariq be investigated and brought to justice but also that Tariq being under house arrest is absurd.”

Gainesville Students for a Democratic Society plans to follow up by petitioning in solidarity with Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian American women’s leader who is going to court on Sept. 8 in Detroit. Now 67 years old, Odeh was the first women to speak publicly about being physically and sexually tortured by the Israeli military back in 1969. Though living in the U.S. for 20 years, ten of them as a U.S. citizen, Odeh is facing trumped-up charges in a Detroit courtroom concerning her immigration paperwork. The whole world will be watching as the U.S. government puts a torture victim on trial.

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