July 24, 2017
Hartford Protest Tuesday Over U.S. Support for
Worsening Israeli Treatment of Palestinians and Muslims
The Middle East Crisis Committee (CT) and Jewish Voice for Peace (New Haven) are calling for a protest in Hartford on the sidewalk near 90 Statehouse Square on Tuesday July 25 from 4-6 p.m. to call attention increased to the latest attack on the Al-Aqsa compound, the tightening siege in Gaza and a bill in Congress that endangers American free speech.
New Israeli government metal security barriers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, an area revered by Muslims all over the world, has so far led to massive protests, 4 Palestinian deaths and nearly 1,000 wounded. The cutback of electricity to the besieged Gaza Strip means that in the middle of summer families have 2 or 3 hours of power at random times during the day. The Trump Administration has made absolutely no criticism of these injustices. In addition there's a bill with wide support in Congress that would criminalize free speech calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel (BDS). Senator Richard Blumenthal is one of 43 Senators supporting the bill and that's why the protest is being staged near his office. Congressmen Joe Courtney and John Larson are also co-sponsors of the bill in the House.
Slogans for the protest include:
"Free Access to Al-Aqsa, No Israeli Checkpoints"
"BDS=Free Speech. Our First Amendment is Not a Felony"
"Give Light to Gaza, End the Israeli Siege"
Stanley Heller, Executive Director of the Middle East Crisis Committee said, "Palestinian lives are being made increasingly miserable and dispensable while U.S. politicians just give Israel a blank check. This has got to stop."
Commenting on the new security measures around the Al-Aqsa mosque, Reza Mansoor, President of the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford said, "Every person will have to line up to go through a couple of metal detectors. If the check points are any indication of what will happen - it will be a humiliating process for every Palestinian and every Muslim to have to wait for hours in line while the IDF very casually allow one person at a time."*
Promoting Enduring Peace, the Green Party of Connecticut, New Haven Anti-Fascists and the Dragonfly Climate Collective have agreed to cosponsor the demonstration and other groups are expected to follow.
*Mansoor's full comment was:
"When you visit the occupied Palestinian territories what is most conspicuous is all the barriers the Palestinians face visiting their holy sites in Jerusalem; whether that is the church of the Holy Sepulcher or the Al-Aqsa mosque compound - from a huge wall separating them, to the numerous check points before one enters Jerusalem, where you have to often wait hours to get through, to more check points before entering the mosque, to now, metal detectors and cameras. The protests are not just about defiling the sanctity of the holy compound - as it is it is like entering a war zone, but also to the increased time it will take for about 100,000 people to enter the complex for prayers. Every person will have to line up to go through a couple of metal detectors. If the check points are any indication of what will happen - it will be a humiliating process for every Palestinian and every Muslim to have to wait for hours in line while the IDF very casually allow one person at a time. For Palestinians who just want to pray (which takes literally 5 minutes), they often have to spend more than half a day waiting at these humiliating barriers often being taunted and insulted as they wait. How can you focus on the spirituality of these awesome sites when you are being made to feel you are in the most intrusive war zone where everything you do is being watched. This is what the Palestinian occupation that is rarely covered by the media looks like and that is what is being protested - I have been there annually for the last 3 years to witness this horror and pray for the relief of these innocent victims of a horrendous and illegal occupation."
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