US Capitol Police have arrested around 300 Jewish protesters after they occupied a part of a House office demanding a ceasefire in the besieged Gaza Strip, which has been under unrelenting Israeli airstrikes for 13 days.
On Wednesday, hundreds of demonstrators, including American Jews and allies worried about Palestinians in Gaza, staged a sit-in on Capitol Hill, holding a banner that read “Our blood is the same color,” while waving Palestinian flags and carrying posters that read “My grief is not your weapon,” “Never again for anyone,” and “Zionism is racism.”
Crowds of protesters, mostly dressed in black T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Jews say ceasefire now” and “Not in our name,” while holding up large banners that read “Ceasefire” and “Let Gaza Live”, entered the rotunda of the Cannon House Office Building, demanding that Congress pass a ceasefire resolution on the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip amid an intensifying humanitarian crisis in the besieged enclave.
The rally inside the building, however, was broken up when US Capitol Police attacked protesters, arresting around 300 of them. According to police, the figure could grow as they continue processing arrests.
“[US President Joe] Biden really is the only one that has the power to pressure Israel right now and he needs to use that power to save innocent lives,” said Hannah Lawrence, 32, who came from Vermont.
Biden paid a brief visit to Tel Aviv on Wednesday, vowing that the US will stand with the occupying regime and promising a new aid package to the entity. His trip to the occupied territories was overshadowed by a horrifying Israeli airstrike on a hospital in Gaza City that left at least 500 Palestinians dead, mostly women and children.
Linda Holtzman, 71, a rabbi from Philadelphia, demanded an immediate truce, urging the American president to “open your eyes.”
“Look at what’s happening in Gaza. Look at the devastation in Gaza,” she said, adding, “If you want to be able to live with yourself, you need to stand up and end the genocide. I demand a ceasefire right now.”
Another protester, Jay Saper, said “We are here to say, ‘Not in our name’”, adding, “We are here as Jews — many descendants of survivors of genocide — to stop a genocide from unfolding in real time.”
The demonstration against Israel’s atrocities in the coastal enclave was organized by the group Jewish Voice for Peace, a Jewish anti-Zionist organization.
The protest rally comes amid protests across the Middle East following the horrific strike on a hospital in the Gaza Strip, where shortages of food, water and medicine due to a complete siege threaten the lives of Gazans while hospitals are overwhelmed amid incessant Israeli bombings.
Israel launched the war on the enclave on October 7 after the Palestinian Hamas resistance group waged a surprise attack, dubbed Operation Al-Aqsa Storm, against the occupying entity.
So far, 3,500 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli air raids, including more than 1,000 children and 1,000 women.