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Minnesotans stand with Palestine, mark anniversary of Al Nakba

By staff

Say: ‘No more aid to Israel”

Minneapolis protest marks anniversary of Al Nakba.

Minneapolis, MN – 40 people gathered outside the Federal Building here during rush hour on May 15 to protest the 65-year occupation of Palestine by U.S.-backed Israel. With signs and chants, protesters called for an end to the occupation, an end to U.S. aid, and the right of return for Palestinians who have been forced from their homes.

Protest organizer Sophia Hansen-Day of the Anti-War Committee said, “Today we commemorate al-Nakba, in Arabic, ‘the Catastrophe.’ We bear witness to the lives of over 750,000 Palestinians brutally attacked, massacred and driven from their homes by Zionist terror groups. We bear witness to the families whose loved ones were tortured, whose homes were demolished, whose land was stolen. We bear witness to the millions of Palestinians forced to flee their homeland 65 years ago, forced to live in exile.”

She continued, “We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian resistance. We stand in solidarity with the thousands of protesters across Palestine – in Beit Omar, in Al Khader, in Jerusalem, in front of Ofer military prison – who put their bodies on the line to say no to occupation. We stand in solidarity with Samer Issawi, whose successful hunger strike of 265 days demands the world’s attention. We stand in solidarity with all of the 4500 men, women and children caged indefinitely in Israeli military prisons.”

Palestinian activist Maher Alrai told the crowd, “We are in 2013, and I can say all Palestine is still occupied, West Bank and Gaza territories are still under occupation…I want to make sure to state the fact that the PNA [Palestinian National Authority] is a Zionist project.” He concluded, “The liberation of Palestine is coming soon, and I would say for sure we will be victorious.”

Margaret Sarfehjooy, of the WAMM Mideast Committee, emphasized the role of the U.S., “While remembering the Nakba, we also must remember the role that the U.S. played, and is still playing, in the disastrous catastrophe inflicted on the people of Palestine. We must remember the decades of unconditional support the U.S. government has provided to Israel, enabling Israel to continue its apartheid practices.”

Karen Redleaf, an anti-Zionist Jewish activist, spoke on behalf of the Coalition for Palestinian Rights. She reminded protesters that Minnesota is a state built on occupied land, stolen from the indigenous Dakota people.

The demonstration ended with a street theater piece that showed the history of Palestinian land theft, and called for international solidarity and the building of a Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement to support the Palestinian struggle for liberation. In closing, Anti-War Committee members Sabry Wazwaz and Eric Hefty led the crowd chanting, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”

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