Millions Set to March for Gaza Cease-Fire as Threat of Regional War Surges

“It will send a powerful message not just to the Israelis but to the Western powers who are backing them that the public say, ‘Not in our name.'”

By Jake Johnson. Published 1-12-2024 by Common Dreams

Rally For Palestine, Dunedin, NZ, Sat. 11-4-2023. Photo: Mark McGuire/CC

Millions of people are expected to take to the streets worldwide on Saturday to demand a permanent cease-fire in the Gaza Strip and denounce the U.S.-led bombing of Yemen, which pushed the Middle East even closer to a full-scale regional war.

Organizers said people in over 120 cities across 45 countries are planning to join the Gaza Global Day of Action, a mass demonstration that will begin days after South Africa presented evidence before the International Court of Justice that Israel is committing genocide in the Palestinian enclave.

“This global day of action, from Australia through to Asia, Europe, and the Americas, is the first coordinated, international movement against the war being waged by Israel on the Palestinian people,” said Kate Hudson, general secretary of the U.K.-based Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. “It will send a powerful message not just to the Israelis but to the Western powers who are backing them that the public say, ‘Not in our name.'”

Major protests are expected in New York City, Washington, D.C., London, Paris, Cairo, Istanbul, Tokyo, and scores of other cities and towns.

Israeli forces have killed more than 23,000 people—including over 10,000 children—in Gaza in just over three months, devastated the territory’s infrastructure, and sparked a horrifying humanitarian crisis. Much of Gaza’s population is displaced, starving, and at growing risk of disease.

Hudson said Friday that in the face of such a catastrophe, “everyone with a conscience” should “join the millions of voices from around the world in demanding an end to endless war.”

“Your participation will amplify the call for justice for innocent Palestinians and every citizen of every country targeted by the missiles of Israel and the West,” said Hudson. “It will make it clear to those countries that they do not have their citizens’ support for their actions.”

“Saturday is going to be a very important day for the anti-war movement,” she added. “So let’s unite, make a difference, and show that together, we can create waves of change that echo globally. Let’s paint a picture of hope, unity, and lasting change.”

The Biden administration has insisted it hopes to prevent Israel’s assault on Gaza—which the U.S. has backed from the start with weaponry and diplomatic support—from spreading across the region, but it has launched airstrikes in IraqSyria, and Yemen since October 7, targeting Iran-aligned militia groups and heightening the risk of a broader war.

The growing number of Biden administration and congressional staffers who support a cease-fire are expected to speak at a rally in Washington, D.C. on Saturday.

In a statement late Thursday announcing the Yemen airstrikes—which many U.S. lawmakers slammed as unconstitutional—President Joe Biden said he “will not hesitate to direct further measures to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce as necessary,” signaling that additional attacks on Yemen are on the table.

“Instead of working to end Israel’s massacre of Palestinians, the Biden administration is choosing war and further destruction,” IfNotNow, a Jewish American advocacy group, said Friday in response to the U.S. strikes in Yemen. “There is no military solution. We need a lasting cease-fire NOW.”

Ismail Patel, visiting research fellow at the University of Leeds, wrote in an op-ed for Middle East Eye last week that plans for Saturday’s global demonstrations were inspired in part by the inability of international institutions such as the United Nations to act as Israel and its Western allies operate with impunity on the world stage.

“A global day of protest thus serves as a powerful tool for exposing this unfair and ineffective order,” Patel argued. “It further sheds light on how the U.S. and U.K. governments hold justice hostage and the world at ransom as they continuously shield Israel from accountability.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

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