Pro-Palestine protesters rally against Israel in San Francisco
Scores of pro-Palestinian protesters in the United States have gathered in San Francisco, California, to demand an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands.
The rally was held outside a meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the largest pro-Israel lobbying group in the US.
The demonstrators also called on Israel to end its blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has been in place since 2007.
Protesters held signs reading “long live Palestine” and “let Gaza live.” They chanted “end, end the occupation” and “free, free Palestine.”
The protesters were confronted by a small group of pro-Israeli activists, who had gathered outside the meeting in a show of support for AIPAC.
More than 120 Palestinians have been killed in the recent escalation of violence since the start of October. Nearly 20 Israelis have also been killed in the clashes.
AIPAC, which has over 100,000 members, has been called “the most important organization affecting America’s relationship with Israel,” and one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the United States.
AIPAC’s critics argue that it acts as an agent of Israel with a “stranglehold” on the US Congress with its power and influence.
The US currently provides more than $3 billion in annual military aid to Israel. The money is separate from the nearly $500 million in annual US funding for Israel’s missile system programs in recent years.
The amount of US military aid to Israel has exceeded $100 billion since it began in 1962.