Police arrested CODEPINK peace activist Rae Abileah at the George Washington University Hospital in Washington DC. Abileah was taken to the hospital after having been assaulted and tackled to the ground by AIPAC members of the audience in the House Gallery during Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.
Abileah interrupted Netanyahu with a banner that said “Occupying Land Is Indefensible” and shouting, “No more occupation, stop Israel war crimes, equal rights for Palestinians, occupation is indefensible.” She rose up to speak out just after the Prime Minister talked about the youth around the world rising up for more democracy.
As this 28-year-old Jewish American woman spoke out for the human rights of Palestinians, other members of the audience—wearing badges from the conference of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee—brutally attacked her. The police then dragged her out of the Gallery and took her to the George Washington University Hospital, where she was being treating for neck and shoulder injuries.
“I am in great pain, but this is nothing compared to the pain and suffering that Palestinians go through on a regular basis,” said Abileah from her hospital bed. “I have been to Gaza and the West Bank, I have seen Palestinians homes bombed and bulldozed, I have talked to mothers whose children have been killed during the invasion of Gaza, I have seen the Jewish-only roads leading to ever-expanding settlements in the West Bank. This kind of colonial occupation cannot continue. As a Jew and a U.S. citizen, I feel obligated to rise up and speak out against stop these crimes being committed in my name and with my tax dollars.”
Abileah explained that she stands in solidarity with the Palestinian and Israeli activists who are routinely jailed and beaten for speaking out for democracy.
From the peace group CODEPINK, Rae is a 28 yr. old Jewish American of Israeli descent. She has traveled to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza and witnessed firsthand the reality of occupation and oppression. “Prime Minister Netanyahu says that the 1967 borders are indefensible. But what is really indefensible is the occupation of land, the starvation of Gaza, the jailing of dissenters and the lack of equal rights in the alleged Israeli democracy. As a Jew and an American taxpayer, I can’t be silent when these crimes are being committed in my name and with my tax money.”
Ms. Abileah grew up on Half Moon Bay and presently lives in San Francisco. She was arrested and charged with disrupting Congress.
This protest is part of the week-long series of actions, organized by CODEPINK as part of a coalition of groups gathered in Washington D.C. for a campaign named Move Over AIPAC. During Netanyahu’s speech to AIPAC yesterday, 5 individuals interrupted Netanyahu and were removed from the building (see: http://bit.ly/aipac2011).