Hundreds protest Israeli mosque raid at Times Square

Members of NYU’s Students for Justice in Palestine joined a crowd that gathered on Saturday to protest the Israeli military’s recent raid of Al-Aqsa Mosque.


Danny Arensberg

rotesters from New York and New Jersey gather at Times Square on April 8 to protest the recent raid by the Israeli military on Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. (Danny Arensberg for WSN)

Yezen Saadah, News Editor

More than 1,000 people gathered in Times Square on Saturday afternoon to protest the Israeli military’s raids of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem last week, which were conducted during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. As the crowd marched, they chanted “hands off Al-Aqsa.”

Tensions between Israel and Palestinem due to the raids, were heightened by rocket fire a few days later. On Friday, dozens of rockets were fired from the south of Lebanon into Israel, followed by Israeli strikes in Lebanon and Gaza hours later. The Israeli military accused Palestinian militants of being behind the strike, which was Lebanon’s largest rocket attack in Israel since 2006 — when the two countries were at war. Three casualties were reported in total.

This is also not the first time Al-Aqsa Mosque has been raided by the Israeli military, with raids having taken place annually for the last two years. Demonstrators at the rally, including NYU’s Students for Justice in Palestine group, protested the arrest of over 400 Palestinian worshippers as a result of the raids.

“It’s just showing that Israel wants to weaken Palestinians, but all together with everyone across the country and even in the smaller cities that have protested, and here in New York as well, we’re showing our solidarity and our strength within the diaspora and within the citizens of Palestine,” said Maha Khan, a sophomore at NYU who is the president of the Students for Justice in Palestine group.

Activist groups American Muslims for Palestine, Palestinian Youth Movement and Within Our Lifetime organized the protest. Wassim Kanaan, chairperson of American Muslims for Palestine’s New Jersey chapter, said that the group condemns Israel’s raid of the mosque and its subsequent aerial attack. He also encouraged protesters to call on the U.S. government to suspend military aid to Israel.

“We want to make clear that the source of violence is Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing and apartheid control of the Palestinian people,” Kanaan said. “Occupation, land theft, home demolitions and restrictions on movement are a few examples of the day-to-day degradation and methods of oppression the Israeli regime inflicts on the Palestinian people.”

Amina Hamawy, a sophomore at NYU, said that Students for Justice in Palestine attended the protest to raise awareness of the raid. Hamawy also criticized media coverage of issues in Palestine and said that the United States tends to silence Palestinian voices.

“We’re just here to say that we cannot be silent,” Hamawy said.

Contact Yezen Saadah at [email protected].