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The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Gaza Strip Bombings Spark Protests in the Streets of Boston

Ashlyn Wang
A protester hoists up a sign that reads “Palestine Free From the River to the Sea” during the “All Out for Palestine” rally in front of the Boston Public Library in Copley Square in Boston, on Monday, Oct. 16, 2023.

Thousands of protestors gathered outside the Boston Public Library on Monday, Oct. 16, showing solidarity for Palestinians in Gaza following Israel’s declaration of war on Hamas.

The Palestinian Freedom Movement, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, along with a coalition of the Palestinian Youth Movements in the Boston area, organized the protest to commemorate the Palestinians who were killed since the onslaught of Israel’s declaration and Israel’s continued air bombardments. 

Gaza and the West Bank are Palestinian territories within the country of Israel. Both areas have a history of military occupation by Israel but have been granted autonomy since 2005.

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  • Thousands gather for the “All Out for Palestine” rally and hold different signs in Copley Square. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

  • A man stands on the steps of the Boston Public Library and leads the crowd in a chant at the beginning of the “All Out for Palestine” rally in Copley Square on Monday, Oct. 16, 2023. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

  • A child shouts and holds a sign that reads “Save the CIVILIANS” at the “All Out for Palestine” rally in Copley Square in Boston, on Monday, Oct. 16, 2023. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

  • Rally-goers chant in sporadic rain during the “All Out for Palestine” rally in Copley Square in Boston, on Monday, Oct. 16, 2023. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

On Oct. 7, the military organization Hamas, currently governing the Gaza Strip of the Palestinian territories, launched an offensive strike on around 20 communities in Southern Israel, killing at least 700 Israelis within 24 hours along with taking 200 Israelis as hostages. The death toll of Israelis has now exceeded 1,400 people. 

The Israeli Defense Force responded on Oct. 9 by launching airstrikes into Gaza, following a 24-hour notice given to its 3.2 million residents to evacuate; they have also announced a ground war to occur at an unknown point in the future. The death toll according to the Hamas-run health ministry said at least 5,700 people have been killed, most of them civilians.

On Oct. 10, the White House released a statement from President Joe Biden on the bombing of Israel by Gaza. 

“I made clear to Prime Minister Netanyahu that we stand ready to offer all appropriate means of support to the Government and people of Israel,” President Biden said. “Terrorism is never justified.”

Protestors gathered outside the library advocating against any potential occupation of Gaza and the United States’ involvement in Israeli-Palestinian affairs. In front of the library, Dartmouth Street had to be shut down to accommodate the size of the gathering crowd.

Later, protestors began to march down Boylston Street and then onto Saint James Avenue until they looped back to the Boston Public Library, where they concluded the protest.

Amrita Dani, media coordinator for the Palestinian Freedom Movement, shared what she hoped the protest would accomplish. 

“[The protest is] trying to join the movement that’s happening across the world in solidarity with Palestine,” she said. “Gaza is facing the most intensification of the war on Palestinians that started 75 years ago when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from the land that’s now occupied by Israel.”

She added that the U.S. has had a “strategic interest in the Middle East” and in its resources. 

“[The U.S.] has an imperialist attitude towards the people in the Middle East and Israel functions as their watchdog, and it’s for that reason that it’s no surprise that the U.S. ruling class and media are falling in line,” Dani said.

Those who spoke at the protest emphasized the words of Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in his announcement of a “complete siege” of Gaza.

“We are fighting human animals, and we are acting accordingly,” Gallant said, which many protesters condemned. Amrita and other speakers accused Israel of committing war crimes by cutting off food, water, and fuel in Gaza.

Rachel Myers, a member of the American Chapter for Marxist Tendency and junior at Emerson, spoke on the cut off of resources.

“The reason that Israel shut off electricity and internet in Gaza is because they don’t want them broadcasting what’s happening. Once you see what’s going on, you can’t turn your eyes away,” she said. “As a Marxist it’s pretty clear why America is in support of Israel, for a lot of people seeing what’s going on can be a pretty radicalizing experience.”

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  • A woman listens to speeches with tears in her eyes at the “All Out for Palestine” rally. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

  • Protesters stand on a statue in front of the Boston Public Library, holding a giant banner and chanting at the “All Out for Palestine” rally in Copley Square on Monday, October 16, 2023. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

  • A child standing on the statue in front of the Boston Public Library hoists up another younger child to face the crowd during the “All Out for Palestine” rally in Copley Square in Boston, on Monday, October 16, 2023. (Ashlyn Wang/Beacon Staff)

Jill Charney, a member of the Jewish Voice for Peace, emphasized that her reason for protesting was to support Palestine and express her anti-Zionist stance. Charney believes Netanyahu is using the war to rally support for himself. Charney believes killings in the West Bank have not been fairly reported on during the time of the Gaza siege.

“The media is giving a very pro-Israel hawkish perspective that is going on, this whole genocide that’s happening is really for Netanyahu. He’s bringing all those protests in Israel back into the fold supporting him,” she said.

Maryam Harakat, a 17-year-old Palestinian-American from the Boston area, said she was verbally attacked after the crowd of protestors dissipated near the Boston Public Library.​​ The verbal attacker told her “Burn Gaza to the ground” and “Palastinians don’t deserve any peace.” 

Harakat responded to them with, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “Your words mean nothing, my people will prevail.” Harakat, accompanied by her little sister and mother, said she is sickened about the Palestinians who have died, which to her “were my brothers and sisters.” 

“We are living through a genocide and no one is talking about it,” Harakat said.

Filipe Teixeira, a bishop in Boston, has been protesting for more than 30 years in support of Palestine, which he considers his home. Although he is saddened by the murder of Palestinians, he was happy to see the growing push of young people into protests over the years. 

“The great thing to see is the young people here. They are the blood we need in this country and movement,” Teixeira said. “Israel must respect Palestine, they must understand that the Palestinians belong there, and using religion or the Bible as reasoning doesn’t make sense.” 

Teixeira also commented on the U.S.’s involvement in the conflict.

“The U.S. should be a peacemaker,” Teixeira said. “They should not put more gasoline on the fire.”

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