Citing a recent surge in violence between the Israelis and the Palestinians, Students Allied for Freedom and Equality criticized the actions of the Israeli defense forces at a rally in front of the Ann Arbor Federal Building Friday.

Paul Wong
En route to the Diag, protesters supporting Palestinians held up signs promoting a peaceful resolve in the Middle East. (JOHN PRATT/Daily)

About 70 students and local residents paraded signs urging justice and hollered slogans of disapproval as they marched to the Diag.

LSA junior Fadi Kiblawi, a SAFE member and an organizer of the rally, said that since the beginning of March, Israeli defense troops have killed more than 200 Palestinians in addition to other serious acts of aggression. Kiblawi said Israeli troops have tattooed identification numbers on the foreheads and the arms of those living in areas occupied by Israel in order to monitor possible suicide bombers.

Kiblawi urged sympathizers to take action against the violence.

“We want to end the bloodshed,” he said. “The only way that can happen is if the root of violence is taken away. And the root of violence is the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza.”

Alia Al-Shaikh, an Ann Arbor resident who participated in the rally, agreed with Kiblawi’s request for peace and cited additional incidents of cruelty. She said she has heard stories of Israeli forces break the limbs and joints of Palestinian children so they can never hold a gun and incarcerations of young Palestinian males without warrant.

“The Palestinians are suffering a great deal,” she said. “The Jewish people have to come out, with the Palestinians, against the government.”

Participants said they protested to inform the public and the government of the injustice and to show their support for Palestine.

“The Palestinians need to know that people in other nations are supporting them by standing out here in the cold, by showing that we are aware of what’s going on,” Al-Shaikh said.

LSA junior Sarah Bedy said, “If we make the citizens more aware, hopefully government officials will become more aware as well.”

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