Protests against Homophobia and Settler Terror Are Held throughout Israel

Demonstrations against Thursday’s stabbing attack at Jerusalem’s gay pride parade and Friday’s arson attack that resulted in the death of an 18 month-year-old Palestinian toddler, Ali Dawashbe, were held on Saturday evening, August 1, in major Israeli cities, including Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, Beersheba, Um el-Fahem and Haifa.

Photos of 18-month-old Palestinian toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha who died when his family’s home was set ablaze by Jewish settlers in the West Bank village of Duma, lie on the ground of the burnt house, July 31, 2015.

Photos of 18-month-old Palestinian toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha who died when his family’s home was set ablaze by Jewish settlers in the West Bank village of Duma, lie on the ground of the burnt house, July 31, 2015. (Photo: Activestills)

Nasser Dawabshe, the uncle of the slain 18 month old toddler killed in Friday’s arson attack, carried out by extreme right-wing terrorists, spoke at the rally organized by Peace Now in Rabin Square in Tel-Aviv. Dawabsheh, gave an emotional speech: “They burned a family that slept peacefully, that doesn’t believe in violence,” he said. “Netanyahu extends his condolences, but we want security for Duma and for all the Palestinian villages. I want to ask Netanyahu one question: My mother asks – when is Sa’ad comng back? I say to Netanyahu – when is Sa’ad coming back? When is Riham coming back? When is Ahmad coming back? Why was Ali murdered? Eighteen months old, what did he do? What did he do to the IDF? What did he do to settlers? We ask that this be the end of our people’s suffering. Before Ali there was also Mohammed Abu Khdeir, and now Ali, and we don’t know who is next in line.”

In Haifa, hundreds participated in a protest against the crimes of the occupation at Ben-Gurion Boulevard. Among the signs displayed at the Haifa rally were: “Legislate against hate crimes,” “State-funded terrorism,” “Homophobia and racism is the same kind of violence.” Some protesters arrived with Palestinian flags and signs calling: “End the occupation.” Protesters called out: “Bibi, resign, because our blood matters,” “Gays and lesbians want to live in Haifa and the Krayot,” “Homophobia begins in the offices of the government.”

Rallies to protest Thursday’s stabbing attack of six participants in Jerusalem’s Gay Pride parade were also held Saturday night in that city and in Tel-Aviv. Thousands attended the protest rally in Tel-Aviv’s Gan Meir Park which had previously been planned to mark six years since the shooting murder of two young people at Bar-Noar, a Tel Aviv center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. On August 1, 2009 a masked gunman burst into the center on Nahmani Street and sprayed the place with automatic gunfire, killing Nir Katz, 27, and Liz Trubeshi, 16. Ten others were wounded in the shooting, two of whom remain permanently disabled. In Jerusalem the rally protesting last Thursday’s attack began at 9:30 P.M. in Zion Square. Two of the victims of that attack remain in serious condition, while the remaining four were lightly or moderately injured. The assailant, Yishai Schlissel, an ultra-Orthodox man from the West Bank settlement of Modi’in Illit, stabbed three marchers at Jerusalem’s Gay Pride parade ten years ago and was released from prison only last month.

Only the left-wing parties – the Zionist-left Meretz and the Joint List – linked Friday’s attack in the Palestinian village of Duma to Israel’s settlement policies. On her Facebook page, Meretz leader Zehava Galon wrote that the Duma murder was “written on the wall,” pointing out that right-wing politicians have long declined to issue strong condemnations of previous “price tag” attacks on Palestinian mosques and churches. Galon called for the arrest of not only the perpetrators but also the rabbis she said were responsible for inciting them and legitimizing such attacks.

Communist MK Dov Khenin of Hadash and Joint List coalition, asked on his Facebook page, “How long will we continue to accept a reality in which these types of attacks are routine?” Like Galon, he drew a direct connection between Friday’s attack and a culture that he said tolerates hatred of the other. “It’s not enough to express horror [at this attack],” he wrote. “The right-wing parties in the government cannot stop at condemnation, thus washing their hands clean. Rather than accept the empty condemnations of the right, we must fight for real change. In the face of racism and hatred, we need an opposition movement that is broad and united … It’s urgent. It’s fateful. And it’s in our hands.”