Thousands Protest At The White House As New Wave Of Violence Erupts In Gaza

CREDIT: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Abby Salem, 19, left, and her cousin Samira Salem, 17, right, both of Westlake, Ohio, poses for a selfie during a rally in Lafayette Park near the White House in Washington, Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, against the violence in Gaza.

Protests against the violence in Gaza broke out across the world over the weekend after another ceasefire collapsed in Israel’s nearly month-long Operation Protective Edge.

Thousands marched in Washington, DC in support of Palestinians, congregating in front of the White House holding up cardboard boxes designed to look like coffins. Estimates put the crowd between 10,000 and 50,000. Among the protesters were Cornel West and 15-year-old Tariq Abu Khdeir, who was beaten by Israeli military forces while visiting family in Jerusalem. Twenty or so pro-Israel protesters also showed up at the White House, where the two groups traded barbs.

Anti-war demonstrators also gathered in Israel over the weekend. Fourteen were arrested at Bima Square in Tel Aviv, where several hundred Israelis called for peace on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, bloodshed continued in Gaza. The disappearance of an Israeli soldier, initially thought to be kidnapped by Hamas, almost immediately destroyed a ceasefire agreement on Friday and prompted Israel to pull out of further ceasefire negotiations in Cairo, where Hamas and the more moderate Palestinian Authority have sent delegations. The soldier, 23-year-old Hadar Goldin, was in fact killed in battle on Friday, the Israeli Defense Forces announced Sunday morning.

But over the weekend, a new round of shelling was already bombarding Rafah, where Goldin was believed to have been abducted. Airstrikes outside a UN school being used as a shelter in Rafah killed 10 Palestinians and injured 35 others who were waiting in line for food supplies, according to witnesses who spoke to the New York Times. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called the shelling of the UN school “a moral outrage and a criminal act.” The Rafah school was the third UN school to be struck.

Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu said Saturday that Israel would keep military actions going “as long as necessary.” The IDF is expected to announce within the next day that they have successfully razed all known tunnels into Gaza. But rocket fire was detected by the Iron Dome targeting central Israel and Tel Aviv early Sunday, suggesting the conflict will continue.

The weeks of violence have claimed the lives of more than 1,600 Palestinians, 67 Israelis, and 9 UN workers. Additionally, Egyptian officials say the bombardment has left at least one million Gazans without electricity.