National March for Gaza Continues Struggle for Peace

Gaza Protest
Photo by Phil Pasquini

Following the “National March on Washington For Gaza,” San Francisco saw its own massive protest on January 14 calling for an immediate ceasefire in ending the Israeli genocide that has been underway for the past 100 days.

Several thousand protesters gathered outside of City Hall demanding action for an immediate ceasefire. Among the numerous groups sponsoring the protest and involved in organizing weekly protests since the beginning of Israel’s invasion of Gaza were members of the trans-national Palestinian Youth Movement.

Ahmad, a spokesperson for the group, related that they were intent on bringing “Our people home to Palestine after 75 years of occupation.” And that the “March for Gaza” action was also about commemorating the 24,000 plus deaths by the IDF of Palestinians and “to demand that the United States cease its cowardly military and diplomatic cover for this genocide. For 100 days the United States has been sending our tax money to fund weapons that kill our families back home in Palestine and Gaza.”

Among the crowd were a group of healthcare workers dressed in doctors’ white coats demanding that the IDF stop bombing hospitals. Since the invasion began on October 7, there have been more that 606 healthcare workers killed and another 700 plus injured. One healthcare worker held a sign in the shape of a watermelon that said, “When you bomb a watermelon you spread its seeds.”

The watermelon is a powerful and significant symbol of resistance since the Palestinian flag, or its colors, were outlawed in 1967 in the aftermath of the Arab-Israeli war. As the fruit embodies the flags four colors, it was seen as a symbol of identity and resistance by the Israelis who outlawed its image as well.

Among others who have been singled out and targeted by the IDF in Gaza are journalists and media professionals, 82 of whom have been killed thus far. Acknowledging their sacrifice were several protesters who held signs calling for ending the killing of journalists. And most poignantly and sadly was a woman who held a handmade sign that listed six members of her family between the ages of 10-16 who have been killed in Gaza.

Several strides have been made this past week in the efforts of human rights defenders and peace activists along with others in the Bay Area who have been protesting, marching and demonstrating since the Israeli invasion in calling for an end to the carnage.

On Tuesday January 9, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted on and passed Supervisor Dean Preston’s resolution calling for a “sustained” ceasefire in Gaza and the release of all hostages taken by Hamas. The bill passed by a vote of 8-3 followed in the footsteps of both the city of Oakland and Richmond who also had recently passed resolutions calling for an immediate ceasefire.

Later in the week on January 13, activists were able to shut down the Port of Oakland for the entire day as the U.S. military ship the “Cape Orlando” scheduled to be loaded with arms destined for the Israeli military was closed by its blockage by more than 1,000 activists. Joining them were several members of the International Longshoreman’s Union (ILWU) Local 10 who showed their support by not crossing through the crowd.

And in one other major move against the Israeli war, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague heard two days of testimony in a case brought by South Africa accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza.

Phil Pasquini is a freelance journalist and photographer. His reports and photographs appear in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Pakistan Link and He is the author of Domes, Arches and Minarets: A History of Islamic-Inspired Buildings in America.

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