Last Saturday at 10:30 AM, local time, crowds sympathizing with the Palestinian cause congregated by the Ellipse, near the White House, to protest the ongoing Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. An ocean of Palestian flags and pro-Palestinian banners adorned the location of the rally. Many leaders from different social, political, religious and ethnic groups took turns in addressing the hundred-thousand large crowd attending the rally. Among the highlights of the assembly a taped message by political prisoner, Mumia Abu Jamal was played for the masses. He mainly criticized America’s politicians for continuing to financially support Israel’s war on the Palestinian people. “The conflict begins here in Washington” He stated. Other guest speakers included religious leaders and intellectuals such as Fadia Rafeedi, Helen Caldicott and others.
The climax of the rally was the appearance of a group of Neturei Karta Orthodox Rabbis, led by Rabbi Wise, which opposse Zionism to deliver a message of peace and reconciliation to the crowd. They stood among Christian and Muslim leaders present while their message was read by a representative. “It must be left clear that Zionism is not equal to true Judaism. Long before the advent of Zionism, Jew, Christian and Muslim lived in the Holy Land in peace!” They stated. “Palestine belongs to the Palestinians! They are the true owners of the land! The cry is: Judaism yes! Zionism no!” The demonstrators were quick in showing their support and cheers followed almost immediately.
Around 14:00, local time, the massive crowd, along with all the banners and flags, began to march down Pennsylvania Avenue towards Capitol Hill. People from all ages, political wings, religions and all walks of life joined the march in solidarity with the Palestinian cause. Virtually everybody joined the chorus of voices screaming slogans such as: “Free Palestine. Long live Palestine. What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now! Long live the Intifada!”, among other, more radical chants equating Ariel Sharon with Adolf Hitler.
After reaching the Capitol area, the crowd dispersed along the Mall where they continued demonstrating and listening to more guest speakers while chanting pro-Palestinian slogans until later in the afternoon when all activities ceased for the day.
Fernando O. Zambrana Specially for PRAVDA.Ru Washington DC, USA
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.