Local march for peace in Gaza continues as death toll rises

Josh
Josh Pennell
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Strength came in numbers Tuesday night.

Despite having only half as many supporters marching on the St. John’s waterfront as were present 10-days ago in support of ending the fighting in Gaza, the message rang loud and clear. The crowd on hand yelled its message twice as loud to make up for the loss of numbers.

“We were hoping we wouldn’t have to do another rally, another march,” Mohamad El Bakri said through a loudspeaker as the crowd again warmed up with protest chants before marching down Water Street and up Duckworth.

When the first local march for peace in Gaza took place 10 days ago, there had been an estimated 700 casualties. Close to 2,000 are now estimated to be dead, many of those Palestinian civilians.

The Gaza Strip, and the people living there, have found themselves caught in a fight between Hamas and Israel.

As Israel bombs Hamas militants, Palestinian civilians are making up a disproportionately large number of the casualties. Israel is facing growing criticism for its mass bombing of innocent civilians while its enemy goes practically unscathed.

At Harbourside Park, it was the young and the adults who asked people to keep in mind that while they may support Israel’s intention to fight Hamas, they should take a closer look at its tactics.

Abdullah Shahwan, 9,  from the Gaza Strip, addressed the crowd as El Bakri held the microphone for him. The hundreds of children just like him living in that part of the world have fallen victim to the war.  

They were in his thoughts.

“These children died sleeping, playing and running for their lives,” he said, adding they deserved to live a safe and happy life.

El Bakri led the march and chants, shouting through a loudspeaker, his voice cracking as the crowd continued to yell in protest of what they called a massacre of innocent people in the Gaza Strip.

“From St. John’s to Palestine, occupation is a crime” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” were two lines the crowd bellowed.

The peace march for Gaza took place just as a 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas came into effect. Another such ceasefire agreement between both sides prior to this ended mere hours after it began.

josh.pennell@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Hamas

Geographic location: Gaza Strip, Israel, Water Street Palestine Harbourside Park

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  • Let us join hands with the people affected here to try and solve this situation!
    August 08, 2014 - 07:47

    This is no doubt a very hellish situation for both groups but especially the Palestinians who are without a homeland. Can somebody from either group affected tell me the cause of this despicable situation that has put so many innocent people's lives at risk. Is it religious, political, or something else? This is not only killing the people of the Middle East areas but it is tearing at the hearts and souls of the people from the West who are subjected to this daily on television during the uprisings, people who are unable to do anything about it. I am delighted though that Abdullah and Yusuf took part in the march to bring this to our locals' attention. Maybe this is the type of action that can bring about a situation that will be accepted by all involved and everybody will be able to live peacefully. I truly hope this will be the case.

    • seanoairborne
      August 08, 2014 - 13:32

      And they all lived happily ever after! I'll tell you another bed time story tomorrow!!LOL

  • Resident
    August 07, 2014 - 20:36

    The situation is more complex than it is passed on in the media, which is biased or reporting lies. Especially the media those who marched are fed from. A terrorist doesn't hide behind a child. A terrorist hide in a house, in a WAR REGION that any civilian would have fled from. The war crimes are done by Hamas terrorists who target civilian with their rockets, and when the Israely soldiers arrive, they hide in schools and hospitals. The war crimes are done by Hamas terrorists who tell the civilians to stay and ignore requests by the Israelis through flyers or other means asking them to leave war regions as it is not safe for them. The war crimes are done by Hamas terrorists who store ammunition inside and under civilian houses, schools and hospitals. But those marchers don't care if what they hear is the truth. They care for what sounds like the truth for them. What the preachers told them, that the Israelis are their evil enemies, and do horrible things. They will not admit it, but they will be satisfied when a terrorist explodes in a bus in Tel-Aviv. Just like their brothers in Gaza cheered 20 years ago.

  • Why Not Give Hamas the Nobel Peace Prize For Their Efforts Toward Peace?
    August 07, 2014 - 18:10

    You wouldn't see any of this "turn the other cheek" commentary from the bleeding0heart people writing here if they were the ones having missiles fired into their communities or if the Hamas "militants" were tunneling under their homes so that they could kidnap and murder their children in cold blood. I find it interesting that while they write that the Palestinian children should be protected, they write nothing that vilifies the Hamas murders that use these children and their planned and deliberate deaths (planned by Hamas) for propaganda against Israel. Jay P: You say that Israel should negotiate. And give up what? They gave the Palestinians the Gaza strip and what did they get in return? Terrorism. That's all you will get when you negotiate with someone who wants to kill you: except if you are negotiating in a fairy tale world, that is.

    • Jay P
      August 08, 2014 - 20:46

      Israel didn't "give" Gaza to the Palestinians, and Israel does not recognize the Palestinian state. All attempts by Palestine to be recognized as a full state in the UN have been vetoed by the US, Israel, Canada, and other countries. The negotiations might go something like this: Israel lifts the blockade of Gaza and ends the occupation of Palestine, withdrawing to 1967 borders as demanded by numerous UN resolutions. Then, the militant resistance stops. Israel gives up the occupied territories, Palestine gives up militant resistance. Seems fair to me, if Israel is primarily concerned about its security. However, Israel seems more interested in expansion, and continues to create settlements in occupied territory in contravention of international law. This creates the conditions for militant resistance. If our country was occupied, do you not think people would resist?

  • What is the truth with the situation that exists in Israel an Palestine?
    August 07, 2014 - 16:06

    I welcome this group to our area expressing concern over the madness that exists between the Jewish and Palestinian populations of Israel an Palestine. I hope those close to the scene can explain to us why these two groups cannot get their act together and create two independent states so that they can live distinctly in Peace . I would like to know if the problem is as the Israeli Government states that the Palestinians don't want the state of Israel to exist. We in the West seem to have a bias towards the Jews because we are told that Israel is willing to accommodate two states but the Palestinians don't want it. If these two groups could learn to tolerate each other, it would make a much more peaceful existence for all of them. I am sure most of the population of these two groups are already in consensus and true Peace is what they are craving. I am longing for these two groups to live in Harmony.

  • Jay P
    August 07, 2014 - 10:46

    @seriously, funny how 66 years of collective punishment will push a people to vote for militant resistance movement, huh? @steve, under international law, states have the right to defend themselves but no state has the right to invade or occupy territory as a form of defense. Defense is defense, attack is attack. So you will say, what is Israel to do to end rocket fire? Negotiate. 1800 Gazans died in recent war, 3 Israelis. Hard to justify that as Israel defending. @JohnQ, "I and the public know / What all schoolchildren learn / Those to whom evil is done / Do evil in return." --W. H. Auden; of course, the message here, for this discussion, is that western imperialism creates the resistance movements that it then denounces. Need to be a little more nimble of thought when thinking of extremism... @Sean O'Neill, your comment borders on hate speech and is overtly racist when you label all Palestinians as "thugs" and cheer for their suffering.

  • Seriously Huh
    August 06, 2014 - 15:44

    Perhaps the palestinian people shouldn't have elected an organization who's formally stated goal is the destruction of Israel. Had those civilians elected peaceful leadership, none of this would be happening.

    • Sarah
      August 07, 2014 - 13:34

      Absolutely. Those children deserve to die. Everyone knows that when you have a militant using a child as a human shield, you go ahead and shoot and it's the militants fault when the child dies. That's how we deal with hostages in the US too. This is just common sense. I can't see why anyone has a problem with it.

  • steve
    August 06, 2014 - 14:27

    Israel should keep defending its people. Every rocket Hamas fires brings more death to their own people .Stop trying to kill the jewish people,or you too look like Hitler.

  • John Q Public
    August 06, 2014 - 11:03

    In Gaza, Hamas likes to fire its rockets at Israel while hiding behind women and children. In St. John's Hamas supporters/sympathizers are arming their children with propaganda to shoot at Israel. Why does all of them turn a blind eye to the radical extremists elements in Islam who rape, kidnap, kill and terrorize innocent people through out the middle east and Africa?

    • Rob Thomas
      August 06, 2014 - 12:05

      In the Telegram, John Q Public likes to sling his arrows while hiding behind a fake name.

    • seanoairborne
      August 06, 2014 - 16:46

      Rob Thomas.....My real name is Sean O'Neill! Notice, I'm not hiding my name to you or anybody else on here who care to challenge me on my PRO-Israeli views!!John Q speaks for me and the majority of sane people on here who know that the Palestinians are just murdering thugs who are getting what they asked for. If they choose to put their old men and women and kids in harms way at the point of a gun that is also what they asked for. And BTW, what a pathetic turnout at that so-called Pro-Palestinian rally! I have more people at my house on football weekends for a tailgate party!! St.John's has 200 thousand or so people and you guys can't even get a room full to attend your little rally!!LOL..It seems that the vast majority of the good citizens in St.John's have no time for your BS either!LOL....LONG LIVE A FREE ISRAEL......SHALOM!!!!

    • Rob Thomas
      August 07, 2014 - 10:13

      Sean, your comment is bigoted, ignorant and spews hatred. It is anything but sane.

  • John Brown
    August 06, 2014 - 10:17

    The picture of the kids with the sign says it all - poor uneducated kids being brainwashed by their parents who no doubt made the sign for them. Notice the word "once" added as if an after thought. The Jewish people have been victims more than once I can assure you - but your parents will never tell you that. Maybe some day we'll see you holding a sign that says "dear Hamas, stop firing rockets at Israel and using Palestinian children as human shields." or "Stop hiding your rockets in schools and hospitals and oh yeah, please tell the leader of Hamas to come back from his luxury resort hotel and lead his people rather than using them as pawns to line his pockets"

    • Ken Collis
      August 06, 2014 - 21:14

      You would agree then, that if a criminal were holding your child as a hostage to avoid capture, it would be ok for the police to shoot your child so they could capture the criminal.

    • Hamas Cult of Death
      August 07, 2014 - 18:21

      The word "once" was, no doubt, added by an adult at the rally who didn't like the fact that, as written, the sign suggests that the Jews were a victim of Hamas prior to responding with force to the rocket attacks. The Palestinian Arabs can't stand to look at themselves in the mirror. "Israel does this!", they shout. "Israel does that!", they cry. "We are blameless!" No. You are sickening.