Gaza Situation "Unsustainable" Ralliers Cry at Israeli Consulate

New Yorkers rally to support Israel as Obama pumps aid to Gaza

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Ralliers were passionate about Israel's right to defend itself.

    About a hundred people rallied in front of the Israeli consulate on Second Avenue in Manhattan Wednesday, defending Israel's decision to raid an aid flotilla trying to get past the blockade of Gaza.

    Sarri Singer, director of the group, "One Heart" acknowledges that the one and a half million residents of Gaza do need help, "they need desperate help". Then she added: "but they also put into position a government that are terrorists," referring to HAMAS. 

    At the White House on Wednesday, President Obama met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Obama announced a $400 million aid package to Gaza, and called the situation in Gaza "unsustainable."

    Obama said "it seems to us that there should be ways of focusing narrowly on arms shipments rather than focusing in a blanket way on stopping everything."

    Rabbi Avi Weiss of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale said at the Manhattan rally that he supports the aid  package, "but I think that he (Obama) fell short in that he did not clearly applaud Israel for its right to block those ships."

    New Yorker Adam Shapiro co-founded "Free Gaza,"  which organized the flotilla last week. His wife, Huwaida Arraf, was on board one of the ships and was detained by Israeli military. Referring to the aid package announced by Obama, Shapiro said "the problem has never been a question of money. The question is getting materials and goods into Gaza."

    And now, Iran is getting involved in the debate over the three year old blockade of Gaza by Israel and Egypt. Iran's Red Crescent plans to send aid ships to Gaza by the end of this week.

    Meanwhile on Wednesday, the United Nations voted the toughest sanctions yet against Iran. The vote was 12 to 2 in favor of the resolution, which, according to President Obama, "will put a new framework in place to stop Iranian smuggling and crackdown on Iranian banks and financial transactions."

    Turkey and Brazil voted against the measure. Lebanon abstained from the vote. Iran called the sanctions"valueless".

    While President Obama said a "better approach" is needed in Gaza, Adam Shapiro acknowledges that the goal of "Free Gaza" is not just to deliver goods, but also to deliver freedom for the Palestinian people.

    Shapiro told us, "I would like to see the US put more pressure for dialog. But we also have to remember there's been dialog for a very long time. What we need to see is concrete action and the US is in a unique position to take action."