We Are All Palestinians: A Perspective on Solidarity

With her red triangle flag waving in the wind, Lou embodies a part of the French youth dedicated to the Palestinian cause. “I am against the fact that we give more importance to one thousand deaths than to 7,000,” declares the 25-year-old woman, who has been present at all the demonstrations in support of the people of Gaza since the beginning of the conflict. Along with her two friends, she defied the ban on the gathering organized this Saturday afternoon in Place du Châtelet in Paris, at the call of the Palestine Action Committee and the NPA – a ban confirmed by the administrative court later in the morning – to show her support for a people she feels “dehumanized.” “It is a cry in the face of the intolerable,” adds Yamina.

While the three friends condemn the abuses committed by Hamas fighters, they refuse to label them as terrorists, like some of the Insoumis party. “Like the resistance fighters during the Algerian war against French colonization, they prefer to die standing up rather than live on their knees,” thinks Farah.

Surrounded by numerous CRS (riot police) who used tear gas to disperse them, the few thousand people present are demanding an immediate ceasefire after the devastating Israeli airstrikes that struck Gaza last night. A wish that Yannick Jadot also joined. “In the face of such a tragedy, it is important to show our solidarity with the people of Gaza, just as we would with the Israeli people,” confides the Green senator. “I don’t understand this government’s strategy of tension, which considers protesting to be a crime.”

Emmanuel Macron’s position, who refrained from calling for an end to the bombings after his visit to Israel, Egypt, and Jordan, has caused misunderstanding and even anger among the protesters. Although the President has since called for a “humanitarian truce to organize the protection of the most vulnerable.” “We are letting the Palestinian people die,” lashes out Louise, 16 years old. “France must do something.”

With cries of “We are all Palestinians” or “Children of Gaza, children of Palestine, it is humanity that is being assassinated,” many protesters intend to give a different interpretation of a conflict that seems to divide the French in two. Like Yassine, a statistics and computer science student, who, with his homemade poster that reads “I died 7,303 times,” wants to break the silence surrounding Palestinian suffering. “There is nothing that justifies trampling on international law so much,” laments the 21-year-old, “it is an insult to every human being.”

When asked if they would support a movement in favor of the Israelis, both Yassine and Lou, Yamina, and Farah put the blame for the escalation of war on Benjamin Netanyahu: “There is the camp of those who oppose genocide, and the camp of those who support the colonization of a territory.” At the end of the day, tension escalated when the police tried to evacuate the demonstrators blocked near the Châtelet.

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