Palestinian backers march in Loop, demand U.S. end support to Israel
BY JON SEIDEL Staff Reporter August 10, 2014 8:02PM
Updated: September 12, 2014 6:29AM
Palestinian flags fluttered through the streets of Chicago on Sunday as protesters descended on the Loop to demand an end to U.S. support for Israel.
The Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine led the group as it marched up Michigan Avenue and down State Street for more than an hour before finally descending upon Federal Plaza for a rally.
They waved flags, beat drums and chanted “Palestine will never die!”
Onlookers poked their heads out windows, took cellphone pictures and sometimes even heckled the group, which at one point filled State Street for about two blocks.
Coalition spokeswoman Kristin Szremski pointed to President Barack Obama’s statement last week that the U.S. cannot turn a blind eye to a massacre when it has “the unique capabilities to help.” That comment referred to the authorization of U.S. airstrikes against Islamic militants in Iraq.
“The Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine condemns Mr. Obama’s blatant hypocrisy and calls on the U.S. government to end all diplomatic, political and financial support of Israel,” Szremski said.
Meanwhile, Israel and the Hamas militant group accepted an Egyptian cease-fire proposal Sunday, clearing the way for the resumption of talks on a long-term truce to end a month of fighting in the Gaza Strip that has taken nearly 2,000 lives.
The recent fighting has been the heaviest between Israel and Hamas since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007. More than 1,900 Palestinians have been killed, including hundreds of civilians. On the Israeli side, 67 people have been killed, including three civilians. Nearly 10,000 people have been wounded and thousands of homes destroyed.
This is the second time in less than a week that the bitter enemies agreed to Egyptian mediation.
Hamas wants an end to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade against Gaza, while Israel wants Hamas to dismantle its formidable arsenal of rockets and other weapons. Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said Hamas could get the blockade lifted by accepting longstanding international demands to renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist.
Szremski said Sunday’s march through the Loop was expected to draw about 8,000 people. It followed a rally two weeks ago that drew 15,000 people, she said.