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More than 1,000 protesters gather in western Queens calling for ceasefire in Gaza

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators gather in Long Island City outside CUNY Law on Dec. 16, demanding a ceasefire in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

Dec. 18, 2023 By Gabriele Holtermann

More than 1,000 pro-Palestinian supporters rallied in Queens on Saturday, calling for a ceasefire in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

The protest, dubbed Flood Queens for Gaza, kicked off in Astoria, with pitstops in Sunnyside and Long Island City, before making its way into Manhattan.  

The crowd, chanting “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free” and “There is only one solution, Intifada Revolution,” crossed the Ed Koch Bridge, bringing inbound and outbound traffic to a standstill.

Terms such as From the River to the Sea are extremely controversial, viewed by many as antisemitic and essentially a call for the end of Israel as a nation state. 

(Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

The protest march ended at the United Nations, where demonstrators accused the intergovernmental organization of not doing enough to stop the conflict and demanded world leaders cut ties with Israel. 

Protesters also accused President Joe Biden and the U.S. government of enabling the war by sending aid and military support to Israel. They warned Biden that Palestinian Americans and their allies would not vote for him in the 2024 Presidential Election.

Supporters of Israel, however, view the Gaza military campaign as one of self-defense following the murder of 1,200 Israelis on Oct. 7 by Hamas terrorists, who are based in Gaza and are dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state. Many women were also raped during the brutal attack and 240 people kidnapped.

Israel says its goal in Gaza is to destroy Hamas.

(Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

While Israel has the support of the European Union and the United States, Biden warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last Tuesday that Israel could lose support over its Gaza military campaign, which, according to the Hamas-run health ministry, has killed thousands of Palestinians, including women and children. 

Aleah Graham, a Brooklyn resident, joined the protest in the “World’s Boro” in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Graham hoped that the siege and blockade would end soon, and that Palestinians could return to home.

“People who have been fighting this fight for a lot longer than two months,” Graham said. “It’s been going on for about 45 years, if not longer, and we need to free Palestine as soon as possible and calling for a ceasefire.”

Annie Nisenson, a protester, demanded a ceasefire and a free Palestine. Nisenson said the short-term goals should be for the “murder to stop.” 

“I think the long term is for people who have been historically deprived of sovereignty and rights to finally have freedom,” Nisenson said. 

Since the Oct. 7 terrorist attack, hundreds of pro-Palestinian protests have been held in New York City. 

At the same time, antisemitic hate crimes have soared in New York City since the beginning of the war. 

(Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

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