ZAMBOANGA CITY: More than a thousand Muslims in the southern Philippines marched on Thursday, protesting Israel’s massive military actions against Palestine which had already killed more than 200 innocent civilians, including women and children in what locals branded as barbaric and brutal.
Israel insisted it was targeting Hamas, which it blamed for rocket attacks in recent weeks, but the Palestinian group said it was only retaliating for continued military actions by the Jewish government on civilian targets in Gaza.
“Bangsamoro is Gaza, Gaza is Bangsamoro,” Muslims chanted as they marched around Marawi City in Lanao del Sur.
The marchers protested the Israeli attacks on Gaza and vowed to hold more protests in an effort to bring to the attention of the United Nations and the world the atrocities committed by Israel against the Palestinian people.
The protest was led by Agakhan Sharief, chairman of the Bang–samoro National Movement For Peace and Development. He branded the Israeli attacks on Gaza as “genocide.”
“This is genocide and cruel as children, women and elderly are being targeted by Israel in Gaza and world leaders just let this brutality happen,” he said.
Other carried placards with markings that read: “We are marching For Gaza” and “Down with Israel” and protesters also burned a replica of the Jewish flag.
Hundreds of Muslim students, led by journalist and activist Samira Gutoc, marched to the Dimaporo Gymnasium of the Mindanao State University (MSU) main campus to express their sentiments by urging the Jewish people to end their attacks.
Gutoc said the supposed homeland of the three religion of the books (Judaism, Christianity and Muslims) “that used to live together as one” should not been doing the attacks as the Palestinians are already “suffering” for decades.
Gutoc cited her “best friend,” during her time in Saudi Arabia, a Palestinian who have “no passport, no nationality and no freedom at all.”
She said “justice and peace” should be served to them by concerned authorities.
In Manila, youth group Anakbayan has condemned the atrocities perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people and expressed support to the struggle of the Palestinians to free themselves from “Zionist occupation and oppression.”
It also condemned the United States (US) for aiding “Israeli Zionist aggression” and blatant pro-Israel bias of the western media.
Vencer Crisostomo, leader of the Anakbayan, strongly criticized western leaders, who were quick to condemn the death of the 3 Israeli teenagers, but remain silent on Israeli atrocities in Palestine.
“In the midst of the Israeli onslaught, US President Barack Obama even stated that Israel has the right to defend itself. US condemnation of the violence perpetrated by Israel is contrary to what the US is doing. The US is a long time ally of Israel, and continues to support Israel’s aggression militarily and financially—US gives $3 billion military aid to Israel annually—The US supplies Israel with in exchange for serving as the extension of US hegemonism and terrorism in the Middle East,” he said.
“We call on all Anakbayan chapters and Filipino youth all over the world to stand with the Palestinian people in their struggle for national liberation and to condemn US-Israel terrorism. We must take to the streets and call for justice and peace. We must protest against the latest and long-standing atrocities committed by the Zionist Israeli regime against the Palestinian people, and the contemptible support given to it by Western governments headed by the Imperialist US,” he added.
Crisostomo said Anakbayan stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom from the “yoke of the US imperialist backed Zionist Israel.”
“The end of the Israeli government’s Zionist policy and the respect for Palestinian’s right to self-determination will foster peaceful co-existence, mutual respect and solidarity between the Israeli and Palestinian people,” he said.
Anakbayan said it will also hold rallies in different parts of the country to protest the continued Israeli attacks on Gaza.
Another group called Bayan also condemned the continuing airstrike of Israeli jets in Gaza and also held a protest in the Philippines. It said the Israeli government’s war against the Palestinians is backed by the US.