Students Protest for
by Halleh Gaemi
The Klein Bearchat
Klein High School,
Jan 30, 2009
[Editor's Note: This article is provided as background to a forthcoming article by Capt. Eric H. May about the furor created by Jewish groups over both this article and the companion article "Conflict Between Israel, Palestine Escalates" at: http://tinyurl.com/d43fho.
Capt May is particularly familiar with this affair because Klein High School is near where he lives in north Houston].
"Killing is a crime, free Palestine." This was one of the phrases repeated by Gaza protestors on Jan 1. Exhibiting their concern and anger, dozens of activists protested outside the Consulate of Israel in downtown Houston waving Palestine's flag as they aspired to blazon their disagreement with the attack of the Israelis.
"The rally was really fun, crazy, hectic and loud," junior Macy McDaniel said. "Most of the protests were held around rush hour outside the Israeli embassy near downtown. There was a lot of traffic and people honking their horns in support of Palestine."
In addition to the New Year's Day petition, hundreds lined up along the streets of Westheimer and Post Oak Boulevard on Jan 9 chanting similar phrases and clenching signs promoting the messages "Free Palestine" and "Stop Israel." In response to the posters many cars sounded their horns as others hung flags from their vehicles demonstrating their support.
"It was just inspiring to see so many people rally for a cause for the Palestinian people," senior Imaad Siddiqi said. "They need as much help as they can get."
In response to the deaths of 1,200 Palestinians and the injuries of at least 3,527, many protests have risen all across the world. Groups such as the Houston Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine set up additional petitions where Houstonians held up signs parading their feelings of dissension and angst in the Galleria area.
"Its useless to discuss who started the genocide on Gaza," senior Usmaan Bajwa said. "The point is the carnage needs to stop."
Another activity people have used to get their message across is boycotting. Famous companies and businesses such as Coca-Cola, AOL, Disney, Estee Luader, Johnson and Johnson, Revlon, Home Depot, Starbucks, McDonald's, L'Oreal, Nokia and Nestle are proven supporters of Israel as they donate a certain percentage of their profit to benefit the Israeli economy or display Zionist points of view.
"Mainly I'm boycotting Starbucks," Siddiqi said, "The chairman of Starbucks, Howard Shultz, is an active Zionist and therefore supports Israel. However, his Zionist beliefs aren't what made me boycott Starbucks. He and his company have, numerous times, actively supported Israel and blatantly expressed anti-Palestinian views. He also gave a speech that blamed the Palestinians of terrorism, basically saying that the intifada was a type of anti-Semitism and that people needed to rally behind Israel."
For Israelis, donating to strengthen Israeli's economy and showing their support to stand behind Israel continues. Some have attended a Houston temple to pledge their support for Israel. Prominent figures who took part in this Congregation were Houston City Council members, State Representative Ana Hernandez, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, former U.S. Representative Nick Lampson and consuls general from Germany, Italy, and Israel.
"The Israeli war going on makes me feel extremely sympathetic," sophmore Josue Orellana said. "There's always been a legend that Israel will always be plagued with war. My friends and I got together with the Rabbis from our temple to organize a couple of boxes of sanitary items and letters to send to the Israeli troops."
The ongoing feud between the Arabs and the Jews has an extensive history that starts in the early 1920's when Britain began to take control of the remaining Ottoman territories. When the British divided up the lands surrounding the Jordan River, they gave the lands on the west side to the Palestinians, granting them their first official political entity. However, this new nation was soon faced with problems as a result of Britain's additional promise to establish lands for the Jews. When Jews began arriving in large numbers, the Arabs became fearful that this sudden increase in the Jewish population would cause them to lose control of their lands. As they protested, these edgy feelings escalated to clashes and violent outbreaks that killed equal numbers of Arabs and Jews. The Israelis and the Palestinians have yet to find a solution to their dispute as similar wars and disruptions continue.
"A lot of Americans don't realize what's going on in Palestine," McDaniel said. "Most of us have no clue what it's like to suffer like the Palestinians are. My motive for protesting was to bring awareness and maybe people will start realizing that the Israelis are wrong in what they're doing and they're killing innocent people in the process."
Attempting to assist in finding a peaceful solution, Egypt backed a truce calling for an end to all fighting. Unfortunately, six months later, the truce lost its influence as Hamas launched rocket fires into Israel. In response, Israelis fired missiles into Gaza Strip in effort to put an end to the attacks. Israel is mainly focused on bringing drown Hamas bombing facilities, some of which are located in open fields in addition to those located in densely populated areas. However, this proved to be risky task as these tricky locations threatened the safety of civilians.
"The terrorists are being cowardly because they're using the civilians as shields," sophomore Alex Baines said.
In the meantime, thousands of Palestinian families will be mourning the loss of family members and friends while working to rebuild their damaged cities. The situation remains unchanged for those who live in the holy land, dissension will continue until a solution shines a light on the lingering warfare that has lasted for so many generations.
"What people need to understand is it's not about religion, it's about land," senior Chelsea Pederson said. "Muslims and Jews have lived together peacefully for thousands of years. If Palestine was given a chance at owning land they can call home without having Israel invading them, there would no need for fighting . It's the promised land. It was promised to the descendants of Abraham, not just his followers. Arabs have just as much right to that land as the Jews claim they do."
Short URL for this article: http://tinyurl.com/blsedl
Short URL for companion article "Conflict Between Israel, Palestine Escalates" at: http://tinyurl.com/d43fho
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