Gaza supporters take outrage to the White House

Gaza supporters take outrage to the White House
Thousands of protesters gather during a rally to demand an end to the conflict in Gaza, outside the White House in Washington August 2, 2014.

Thousands of protesters, many wrapped in Palestinian flags, rallied outside the White House on Saturday to call for peace and an end to the fighting in Gaza.

The crowd, young and old from across the United States, including scores of children on parents' shoulders, chanted "End US Aid to Israel" and "Israel out of Palestine." Many wore headscarves or traditional Palestinian keffiyeh scarves.

"Gaza will not die - it will never die," said Amar Jamal as he marched through downtown Washington with his family surrounded by a sea of red, black, white and green, the colors of the Palestinians' flag.

"It is the time to make peace because this bloodbath will not stop in Gaza. All the Middle East will be in trouble" if the conflict doesn't end, warned the Palestinian-born 70-year-old.

Stop funding murder

Many of the protesters voiced anger at Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, after he vowed to keep up his military campaign against Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas for as long and as forcefully as needed.

One protester waved a banner that read "Netanyahu and Hitler are the same, the only difference is the name." Others demanded that Washington end its military backing of Israel and take its ally to task over a conflict that has already killed more than 1,700 Palestinians and 66 Israelis, all but two of them soldiers.

Shereen Abdel-Nabi, holding her young son who was wearing a "Jesus is Palestinian" T-shirt, said the "US should stop military aid to Israel and use stronger words in condemning its action." "I really think this is a turning point ... it's an issue of humanity. The US government is proving to be on the wrong side of history on this one," the 34-year-old added.

Remembering the dead

Sam Khalaf, a Palestinian American from Maryland, felt the need to march to show "solidarity" for relatives in the West Bank and Gaza.

"Marching is the least we can do when people are dying," said Khalaf, 33.

Friends Waleh Kanan and Jasmine Abuhummos, both 15, travelled for hours overnight from Toledo, Ohio.

"A lot of people are ignorant about what is going on. So we hope this will help get more of the truth out," said Kanan.

A woman who identified herself as Mary was held back by police as she yelled "stop supporting terror" and brandished an Israeli flag poster toward pro-Palestinian protesters.

CNN reported that a small group of Orthodox Jews held a counter-demonstration that led to a minor scuffle.

Organizers claimed that as many as 50,000 people participated in the afternoon rally. Police did not immediately respond to requests for official estimates.

Alli McCracken, National Coordinator of the anti-war group CODEPINK, a co-sponsor of the event, said spirits were high "even though there's a massacre going on." Protests were also held in other US cities, including in Los Angeles, where demonstrators lay down on the ground in front of the Israeli Consulate.

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