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.
Vigil participants, 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 1000 Gazans.
CPTers in training planned the witness to support CPT’s partners and team in Palestine.