1 August 2014
CHICAGO, USA: CPTers lament Palestinian
deaths; two arrested at Israeli consulate.
On Friday, 18
July, the day after Israel announced its ground invasion of Gaza, about thirty members
and supporters of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) converged at the Israeli
Consulate in downtown Chicago to lament the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians
and denounce Israel’s indefensible violence.
representing at least seven countries, carried large photographs of Palestinian
children killed in Gaza. As they
walked slowly in mournful procession around the skyscraper that houses the
Israeli Consulate, a single voice rang out over a loud speaker, piercing the
silence with the name of each Palestinian who had died as a result of Israel’s
military operations since 12 June 2014.
Speaking to reporters, CPT
Executive Director Sarah Thompson explained, “We are here to lift up the human
cost of the violence of operations “Brother’s Keeper” and “Protective Edge” and
to work to end the Israeli military occupation of Palestine. We are here to mourn the lives that
have been lost, like that of 18-month-old Palestinian Mohammed Malake.”
Israeli Consular officials on
the 31st floor rejected the request of several group members to
visit and share prayers for peace.
Two peacemakers then knelt in prayer in the main lobby, lifting up the
names of Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks. Chicago police arrested them on charges of trespassing. They face a court hearing on 12 August.
Later, when the entire prayerful
procession began to enter the building, police quickly removed several mourners
and formed a blockade to prevent the rest of the group from going inside. Vigilers then stood in front of the
building across from the police line singing prayerfully. A few participants laid down flowers at
the feet of the police with the names of both Palestinian and Israeli dead attached,
moving vigilers and passersby alike to tears.
Participants also took their
prayers to the nearby headquarters of Boeing which produces and sells military
weaponry to Israel.
“Israel’s attacks that killed little
Mohammed Malake and hundreds more were made possible by U.S. corporate
weapons-makers and U.S. government support,” said Thompson. “We urge Israel and the U.S. to end this
indefensible violence and join us in building partnerships to transform
violence and oppression.”
Since CPT’s public witness at
the Israeli Consulate two weeks ago, the Israeli military has killed more than
CPTers in training planned the witness to support CPT’s partners and team in Palestine.