Around 500 people gathered in front of the Columbus Statehouse to liberate Palestine, Gaza and Jerusalem on Friday.
Jade Musa, Ohio State graduate in 2021 and one of the organizers of the event, said the goal of the protest was to show solidarity with Palestinians who oppose in Palestine and the surrounding areas. She said protesters oppose US foreign aid to Israel and mentioned the advanced military and “ethnic cleansing” in the region.
“You are invisible and it doesn’t matter. And that’s why we’re marching today because it’s enough, ”said Musa.
Yezen Abusharkh, a resident of Palestinian Columbus who participated in organizing the protest, said the situation in Palestine had long been treated as a conflict too complicated for many to understand.
“It was a tool to solve the problem and to keep people from speaking up and trusting what they see with their own eyes. This is fake violence against indigenous peoples who do not have the means to defend themselves against the colonialist state of nuclear power, which is suppressing and expropriating and ethnically purifying them, “Abusharkh said. “That kind of facade has started to break down and people are starting to wake up and I think people need to be ready to take further action on this.”
The Boycott, Divestiture, and Sanctions Coalition, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Ohio State Student Organization, Students for Justice in Palestine, organized the event in the face of mounting violence in the Middle East, Musa said.
Musa said the protest was an open space for people to share their thoughts, with some former SJP presidents speaking at the event.
There were several speakers at the event who expressed concern about family members currently exposed to violence in the region, discussing Palestinian solidarity, and a Jewish speaker who spoke about his background and why he chose to “join to stand above the oppressor over the oppressed ”. Abusharkh said.
“The people showed solidarity,” said Abusharkh. “I think people have really woken up this past week to the brave Palestinians there who share their stories in a way that cuts through the mainstream media bureaucracy, spreading the truth about what was going on and raising awareness of really awakened the American people. ”
Musa said the protest and the Palestinian liberation movement are not a religious problem, but a problem between colonizers and colonized people.
The protesters also marched through the short north and Goodale Park before returning to the statehouse.
Israel has been the scene of violent clashes between Israeli and Palestinian residents since the beginning of the 20th century. Britain took control of the area known as Palestine after World War I, which was home to a Jewish minority and an Arab majority. Tensions between the two peoples increased after World War II when Britain named the Land of Israel, a home for the Jewish people. Palestinians also claimed the land and a war broke out.
The country was fought over over the past century and several wars broke out between the State of Israel and Palestine. On Wednesday, a Palestinian militant group called Hamas, which rules Gaza, launched rockets into Israel. Israel responded with its own military attacks. As of Monday, Gaza has recorded at least 132 deaths and Israel has recorded at least 8 deaths Reuters.
The US has been sending foreign aid to Israel since 1946, the majority of which is military aid, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service. In 2016, the US and Israeli governments signed a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding, a document setting out the agreement between two or more parties in which the US will provide Israel with US $ 38 billion in military aid become.
University spokesman Ben Johnson said in an email the multicultural center provides programming and assistance to all Ohio state students, including its Palestinian students.
Musa sometimes said on Ohio State campus, or in academia in general, there are no places for Palestinian students. She said this protest was an event that these students could feel supported at.
“If they can feel empowered for a day, a little bit, when the odds are against them, I’ll be happy,” said Musa.
Correction: An earlier version incorrectly stated that around a hundred Israeli civilians were killed in the rocket attack on Israel on Wednesday. The story has been updated to reflect the current known death toll since Monday.