BEIRUT: As the Israeli military continues its siege in the Gaza Strip, a coalition of Palestinian and Lebanese groups in Beirut is organizing a week-long protest at Martyrs Square to begin on Wednesday.
International condemnation of the Israel offensive has been increasing by the day. On Friday the European Union condemned “the loss of lives caused by the disproportionate use of force by the Israeli [Army] and the humanitarian crisis it has aggravated.”
Mohammad Shublaq, a Palestinian activist involved in organizing the protest, said the event was meant to send a message of solidarity.
“Palestinian people have been isolated from peoples in the region, so we are attempting to bring the Palestinian cause back to the streets of Lebanon,” he said. “We want to send a message to the people of Gaza and the West Bank and let them know that they are not alone.”
The protest is the brainchild of a coalition grouping TYMAT [The Leftist Assembly for Change], the Communist Party, the Palestinian Youth Organization of Lebanon and Palestinian cultural clubs at several universities and refugee camps.
A similar protest was held after Israel reoccupied much of the West Bank in 2002, the largest military operation in the Occupied Territories since 1967.
“The protest is being organized to take action against Israeli military action in Gaza,” said Sharif Bibi, a member of the Palestinian Youth Organization. The protest will also include cultural activities, Bibi added. “We aim to develop general awareness concerning the situation in Palestine through cultural activities, including popular presentations, Palestinian musical nights and film screenings.”
The activists also plan to address the plight of Palestinians living in Lebanon’s own refugee camps.
“Mainstream political leaders in Lebanon have separated the realities facing Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and Palestinian refugees in this country,” said Shublaq.
“If it is possible to support Palestinians struggling inside the Occupied Territories from Lebanon” he added, “it should also be possible for people in Lebanon to actively support the struggle for the rights of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.”
Meanwhile, Lebanese and Palestinian politicians said after a meeting of Hizbullah’s political bureau Monday that they will also organize a demonstration on Thursday to protest Israel’s offensive in Gaza.
This article was written by the Electronic Intifada’s Stefan Christoff and also appeared in Lebanon’s Daily Star newspaper. For more information on the upcoming solidarity actions in Beirut visit the website of the Leftist Assembly for Change in Lebanon.