Speakers at the rally pointed out that Israel killed 17 and wounded 1,400 — according to the latest figures available April 1 — at “peaceful protests called by all the political groups in Gaza to demand Palestinians’ Right of Return to their native villages now controlled by Israel and to protest the dire conditions in Gaza.” The protests began on Land Day March 30 and are scheduled to end on al Nakba, May 15.
Land Day commemorates the six Palestinians killed and hundreds wounded over the 1976 expropriation of hundreds of thousands of hectares of Palestinian-owned land. Al Nakba, “the catastrophe,” commemorates the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from the lands that were to become Israel in 1948.
The chants were militant: “NYC, you will learn, that refugees will return!”; “Free, free Palestine! Long live the Intifadah!”; and “Resistance is justified, when people are occupied!”
The Facebook page for the protest at Washington Square Park lists Within our Lifetime-United for Palestine as calling the protest, which was endorsed by NYU Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, Samidoun, NY 4 Palestine, which includes American Muslims for Palestine, and the International Action Center, Al-Awda, Decolonize This Place, NYU Students for Justice in Palestine, Students for Justice in Palestine at the College of Staten Island and Labor for Palestine.
There were protests March 31, especially in Tunisia, Turkey and Lebanon. More protests over the new Israeli massacre are expected the first week of April.