1000 rally, march: U.S. and Israel: Hands off Jerusalem!
Chicago, IL – The Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine led a crowd of close to 1000 people, mostly youth from the Palestinian community in the Chicago area, to protest the attacks on the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, April 18. The Coalition includes the American Muslims for Palestine, United States Palestinian Community Network (UCPSN), Students for Justice in Palestine- Chicago (SJP), Al-Nahda, Palestinian American Community Center, and Palestinian American Council.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam, and repeatedly since Friday, April 15, Israeli soldiers and police have attacked it. They chose a Friday, the night when the largest number of people are there praying. The attack also took place during Ramadan, the most sacred month of the year for Muslims.
“This is unacceptable, Jerusalem’s our capital,” chanted the crowd. The Zionist state has declared Jerusalem as its capital, but it was the center of Palestinian society before the European settles began to arrive in the late 19th century.
The protesters listened to speeches for about an hour, then marched through the Loop, Chicago’s business district, for another hour.
One chant expressed the Palestinian movement’s rejection of the failed two state solution, “There is only one solution, Intifada Revolution.”
Since April 1, which marked the beginning of Ramadan, Israel’s occupation forces went on a rampage, killing 18 Palestinians and injuring several hundred. The occupation army did the same last year during Ramadan.
In addition to Palestinian speakers, a statement was read from Rev. Dr. Waltrina Middleton, executive director of the Community Renewal Society. She wrote, “I must condemn the violent and fatal use of force upon worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque during Jumu’ah [Friday] prayers,” and “The inequitable use of force against unarmed worshippers and Palestinians at-large are crimes against humanity, and there must be outrage and denouncement by global leaders, faith communities and all who believe in justice and peace for all.”
She went on, pointing out the hypocrisy of the U.S. government’s calls for solidarity with Ukraine while demonizing those who rally in solidarity with Palestine:
“How do we enforce justice and freeze financial assets to stop Russia from imposing war on Ukraine, but underwrite billions in aid to support Israel’s illegal occupation and imposition of war on Palestine?”
“How do we impose blockades and freeze assets in Russia, while U.S. senators – including Ben Cardin of Maryland and Sherrod Brown of Ohio – rally in support of criminalizing and penalizing anyone who supports BDS [Boycotting, Divesting and Sanctions] against Israeli’s illegal occupation of Palestine?”