Los Angeles News

L.A. protesters rally against Israel attack

Monday, May 31, 2010

Outside the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles, outrage erupted over Israel's deadly commando raid on ships taking humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip.

"As Palestinians, we have suffered for 93 years and we have been in forced exile. Enough is enough. The international community has to accept the responsibilities and take care of the Palestinian issue," said protester Mazen Almoukdad.

"I'm here because I'm against what the Israeli people are doing to my country, to my people. This is not peace," said protester Juhaina Qalla.

It's a military maneuver that Israeli's consul general in Los Angeles vigorously defends. He is calling it a well planned ambush by the Palestinians.

"This was not an aid flotilla. It was a hate flotilla," said Jacob Dayan, the consul general of Israel. "To aim this flotilla was to stall proximity talks between us and the Palestinians."

The Israelis sent gunboats and helicopters to intercept the convoy in international waters. They warned them to turn around.

The ships kept sailing toward Gaza. That's when Israeli boarding parties and helicopters dropped naval commandos onto decks crammed with hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists, many of them Turkish.

Turkish TV showed pictures of fights breaking out with gunshots in the background and passengers lying on the decks bloodied an injured.

"We regret this loss of life. We regret any of the violence there," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel claims that their men came under live fire, but the activists on board deny it. As the anger spills onto the streets of L.A., the Palestinians have declared three days of mourning in Gaza.

"This is an act of piracy against the high sea, against the sea law, and Israel has no right to intercept those people who came to show solidarity with the Palestinian people," said Hamas official Ahmed Yousef.

Netanyahu canceled a meeting scheduled for Tuesday with President Barack Obama in Washington. Obama expressed that he wants to learn all of the facts as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council had much harsher words Monday during an emergency meeting saying that Israel's actions are not justified.

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Tags:
protest, president barack obama, blockade, egypt, gaza strip, israel, military raid, palestinian, turkey, los angeles news, leslie miller
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