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1 Jun, 2010 05:45

US protesters take to streets against Israeli attack on Gaza aid ships

Washington has voiced concerns over the recent conflict off the Gaza coast. Yet US authorities have stopped short of outright condemnation. Meanwhile, US citizens are taking to the streets to denounce Israel’s actions.

Palestinian sympathizers, critics of Israel and human rights watchdogs gathered in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC, demanding that the embassy should be shut down.

There is no question among the protestors as to who should be held accountable for the incident.

"It was a cold-blooded massacre of people whose only crime was trying to extend aid and solidarity to a blockaded people," says a male protestor.

"There's no question as to who's to blame. The Israeli ships, in the middle of international waters – in other words, on the high seas – boarded other people's ships and they rappelled down ropes. They shot from helicopter on to those boats," says Brian Becker, an anti-Israel activist.

Israel attacking the international flotilla acted as a wake-up call for people who might be usually too distant from the reality of the Middle East conflict.

"If Americans would try to put themselves in the shoes of somebody in Gaza… Imagine for a minute, you’re living in a space twice the size of DC. You’re never allowed out. No one’s allowed in. You have no jobs. Unemployment’s like over 50 per cent. You’re dependent on handouts – rice, and some oil and that kind of thing – wouldn’t you hate the person that’s doing this to you?” says another protestor, Pam Bailey, a freelance journalist who spent five months in Gaza.

“If there’s a bright lining to this very dark cloud, it’s maybe, just maybe, people will finally sit up and take notice,” adds Pam Bailey.