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Thursday, 23 May 2019 08:48 am

Israelis and Palestinians march together in Wellington

Nov 29th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest News, News, Uncategorized

A CEASEFIRE fire may have been declared in Gaza, but that didn’t stop around 150 people taking to the streets on Saturday to condemn the latest Israeli bombardment.

Israeli-born Ali Nissenbaum helped to organise the march, and says it was about drawing attention to the human stories behind the news.

“We wanted to honour the 170 Palestinians killed in Gaza. People sometimes forget that this conflict affects real human beings—not faceless statistics.”

Assembling at the bucket fountain on Cuba Mall, the demonstrators marched down Willis St and onto Lambton Quay, passing near the Israeli embassy before reassembling in Civic Square.

Carrying placards in English and Arabic and holding aloft Palestinian flags, the march was a colourful sight.

Curious onlookers emerged from shops and cafes to film the procession on their camera phones, or just to stop and stare.

Anita Clarke also helped organise the demonstration, and she feels that the current ceasefire is not to be taken seriously.

Pointing out that Israeli forces shot dead an unarmed Palestinian teenager only two days after the agreement was reached, she says she is angry but unsurprised.

“It’s nothing new that the IDF has no regard for Palestinian or Arab life, the ceasefire just makes it slightly more inconvenient because we actually hear about it and it looks bad.”

Police were not notified, and traffic slowly built up behind the march at various points along the route.

This did not stop some passing motorists from tooting and waving in support.

Others were less supportive, with at least one driver observed making an obscene gesture.

Speeches were originally planned for outside the embassy itself until it became apparent the spot was taken for a street carnival.

Two Jewish counter-protesters were present and shouted pro-Israel messages at various points along the route.

Wearing kippas (Jewish skull caps), they walked at or near the front of the march.

Tensions began to rise as time went on, but before things could get out of hand the police arrived and led the two men away.

After arriving in Civic Square, a symbolic ‘die-in’ took place – protesters collapsed to the ground and chalk outlines were drawn around their bodies.

Mohammad Alzeer, a Palestinian living in Wellington, spoke in the Square about his anger that he could not return to a place he considers his homeland.

As a megaphone siren wailed he read out the names of the dead.

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is a Whitireia journalism student.
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