In Lebanon, ten thousand people took to the streets and tried to charge the heavily guarded US embassy. Security forces used batons, tear gas and water cannon to drive them back. Dozens were injured. Meanwhile, there are signs that a second front could be opened in the Middle East conflict: the Israeli army and the Lebanese-based guerrilla group Hizbullah exchanged fire yesterday, and the Syrian president announced the redeployment of 20,000 Syrian troops in Lebanon.
Egypt announced it is suspending diplomatic contacts Israel. Egypt will only maintain diplomatic channels which could directly help Palestinians. The announcement came as tens of thousands of students launched a sixth day of demonstrations across the country, demanding the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador. Egypt is Israel’s largest and most important ally in the Middle East.
We’ll spend the rest of the hour talking about what people are doing to protest Israel’s invasion and occupation of Israel.
- Lana Al-Khalil, founder of FIST, Fight Israeli State Terror and organizer with a new group, Tents of Resistance. She also works with Al Awda, the Palestinian Right of Return group in the U.S. E-mail: email@example.com
Today is the seventh day of the most recent invasion of the Occupied Territories. For a week, its cities and villages have been cut off from the world by a wall of tanks, troops, and helicopters. A military curfew makes movement almost impossible. Food is scarce. Medical supplies have basically run out. And yesterday, the Israelis turned off the water supply for all of Ramallah.
But yesterday, thousands of Israeli Jews and Arabs marched to the border of Ramallah, with trucks full of food and medicine. As they approached the checkpoint, Israeli police fired tear gas and began hitting protesters with batons. Some 20 demonstrators were injured. Among the injured were 3 Israeli Knesset Members.
Meanwhile, the phones of the Jerusalem-based Palestinian Counseling Center were ringing non-stop. The Center is one of the few mental health facilities still able to provide services to Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. The calls come fast and furious: “I need milk for my two month old baby; I need medicine because I have diabetes; I’m alone trapped in a restaurant in Ramallah and the Israeli snipers are on the rooftop.”
The staff of the Palestinian Counseling Center have been working around the clock. We go now to a counselor in the Center who has already been on call for several hours today.
- Siham Rashid, counselor, Palestinian Counseling Center in Jerusalem. Siham has been working round the clock to provide support services and assistance to Palestinians under siege in the Occupied Territories.
- Hagit Gur-Ziv, co-founder, New Profile, the Movement for the Civilization of Israeli society, speaking on the phone from Tel Aviv.