“We’re watching a genocide unfold in real-time. In just three weeks, the Israeli military has killed over 8,000 Palestinians in Gaza, among them over 3,000 children,” Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) said early Monday (October 30). “That’s more than the annual number of children killed in conflicts across the globe since 2019.” According to the United Nations, as of October 26, at least 45% of housing units have been destroyed or damaged.
In response, there is an unprecedented mobilization of solidarity with Gaza by millions of people around the world. As the Palestinian activist Mazin Qumsiyeh informs us, this will go down as the best documented holocaust in history.
As of October 23, we published photos of mass demonstrations in 42 countries, and a week later, on October 29, we published photos from 44 countries. As to be expected, the largest, involving millions of people, took place in predominantly Muslim countries, such as Pakistan, Yemen, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iran, Malaysia, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, Qatar and Lebanon. In Turkey, the enormous demonstration was supported and addressed by President Erdogan.
Of great importance was the size of demonstrations in countries that support Israel. In the United Kingdom, London saw the biggest pro-Palestine demonstrations in British history. In the United States there were enormous demonstrations in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, among other cities. The demonstration of Jewish Voice for Peace that filled Grand Central Station in New York was part of a movement that has been called “the largest mass mobilization of Jews in American history.” A thousand demonstrators massed at Harvard University, the most prestigious university of the United States.
On October 28, Stockholm saw one of the largest protests in modern history, as thousands came out to support the people of Gaza. Despite attempts to ban their demonstrations, Palestinian supporters took to the streets in large numbers in Paris and Vienna. Other mass demonstrations took place in India, Nepal, Chile, Canada, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Finland, Ireland, Greece, Switzerland, Norway, Belgium, Germany, Venezuela and even Poland and South Korea.
Amnesty International has documented unlawful Israeli attacks, including indiscriminate attacks, which caused mass civilian casualties and must be investigated as war crimes.
Calls for a ceasefire came from organizations around the world: not only Amnesty International, but also the United Nations General Assembly, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and UN agencies including the World Food Programme, the World Health Organization, the UN Development Programme, the UN Population Fund, and UNICEF. Other organizations demanding a ceasefire include the World Organization of the Scout Movement, the World Council of Churches, Oxfam, Save the Children, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Association of South East Asian Nations. Individuals include Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Heads of state include Chinese President Xi Jinping and from Brazil President Lula da Silva. The U.S. State Department has had to instruct American diplomats not to use the word “cease-fire” in press materials, following the resignation of one of their top diplomats to protest their support for Israel.
A public opinion poll in the United States shows that 66% of likely voters agree that “the U.S. should call for a cease-fire and deescalation of violence in Gaza” and “leverage its close diplomatic relationship with Israel to prevent further violence and civilian deaths.”
Traditional peace organizations called for non-violence by Hamas as well as Israel. As for the violence of Hamas, it has been likened to a “jail break”. According to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory, Israel’s military occupation has morphed the entire occupied Palestinian territory into an open-air prison, where Palestinians are constantly confined, surveilled and disciplined.
Despite the terrible toll of death and destruction, Mazin Qumsiyeh says “I am optimistic because the Zionist onslaught (targeting hospitals, schools, universities, bakeries, residential buildings, mosques, churches, wiping out whole families) has ignited the global uprising that I and others have been calling for and predicting for a long time. . . Just need to intensify the pressure because every day the US/Israel are allowed to go on means hundreds more killed. The sooner this nightmare ends, the closer we are to peace and justice.”
DISARMAMENT & SECURITY
TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY
EDUCATION FOR PEACE