Protest staged in Taipei against US, Israel over Gaza conflict


TAIPEI, Taiwan — Dozens of protesters took to the streets in Taipei yesterday to voice opposition to Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip that have reportedly caused over 1,000 deaths, mostly civilian, and urged the United States to stop its military assistance to Israel.

Gathering near the Taipei office of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the protesters chanted slogans such as “Condemn U.S. military assistance to Israel,” “Impose trade sanctions against Israel” and “Let Gaza Live,” while holding photos of civilians killed and injured.

Labor Party Vice Chairman Tang Shu also urged the public to refuse to purchase products from Israel in protest against the Middle Eastern country’s action against Gaza.

Israel has launched airstrikes, along with a ground operation, in response to the firing of rockets in Israel from Gaza by the militant group Hamas.

Tang urged Israel to end its military action in Gaza immediately, as he led the protesters in chanting the slogans. The Labor Party co-organized the protest along with several other groups, including the Labor Rights Association.

It is understood that Israel has the right to defend itself in the face of the threat from Hamas, he said, but added that the difference in the number of casualties in Israel and Gaza is too great.

The protesters also prepared national flags of Israel and the U.S. upon which they left handprints after soaking their hands in red ink, to create a symbol of the two countries’ “bloody action.”

On behalf of the protesters, Wang Chuan ping, executive director of the Labor Rights Association, delivered a letter of protest to AIT spokesman Mark Zimmer. The AIT represents U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties.

Zimmer said he would pass on the letter and the protesters’ concerns to U.S. officials in Washington. Israel Will Continue Action to Protect Its People The Israeli representative office was not immediately available for comment, but its representative to Taiwan Simona Halperin has said previously that her country will continue action to protect its people, but also takes all possible measures to protect uninvolved Palestinian civilians.

On Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama spoke to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel again by phone to condemn the Hamas rocket and tunnel attacks against Israel and reaffirm Israel’s right to defend itself, according to a White House statement.

Obama also reiterated the serious U.S. concern about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives, and called for an immediate, unconditional humanitarian cease-fire.

The United Nations Security Council has also agreed to a statement that calls on both sides to implement a humanitarian truce, foreign media reported.

Hostilities between Israel and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, escalated this month after the killing of three Israeli teenagers in June and a Palestinian teenager in early July.

Israeli attacks have killed more than 1,000 Palestinians, mainly civilians and including many children, according to foreign media citing Gaza officials.

Foreign media has also reported that 43 Israeli soldiers have died, along with three civilians killed by rocket and mortar fire from Gaza.