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Rally supporting Palestine at Grand Rapids Federal Building

By Tom Burke |
August 5, 2014
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Grand Rapids, MI - Returning for a third time since the onset of the Israeli assault on Gaza, 100 people rallied in solidarity with Palestine at the Ford Federal Building here, Aug. 1. The crowd at the corner of Michigan Street and Ottawa Avenue chanted, “Israel, U.S.A., how many kids did you kill today?” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” Every time a car honked in support, the cheers of the crowd could be heard a half-mile away.

Brandan Bilski, one of the youth leading chants at the rally, said, “We went to the pre-trial hearing in Detroit for an amazing Palestinian woman - Rasmea Odeh - who's been charged outlandishly by the FBI. There was a big picket line outside and then we packed the courtroom with supporters. A big group of us from Grand Rapids are going back on Sept. 8 for the trial.”

Meanwhile in Palestine, the Israeli military offense continues to destroy homes, schools, hospitals and workplaces. The only thing slowing down the Israeli war machine are the Palestinian resistance fighters, who have killed 63 Israeli soldiers in combat. With widespread support from the Palestinian people, the resistance is considered the best protection against the all out war launched by Israel. With so much of Palestinian land seized at gunpoint and settled by Zionists, there is nowhere left for Palestinians to run to. Israel is responsible for up to 1669 deaths so far and 8900 wounded, the vast majority civilians. This includes more than 300 dead Palestinian children.

In front of the Gerald R. Ford Federal Building, Palestinian American families with children stood next to Jewish and Christian peace activists and anti-war college students, waving their signs reading, “End U.S. aid to Israel!” The diverse crowd gathered together in front of the Federal Building to take a group photo. Then organizers called for people to return next Aug. 8 at 4:00 p.m., with more of their friends and family. The plan is to rally and march with signs, flags and banners. Protesters plan to be seen and heard by even more people in the West Michigan community.