On October 28, 2023, thousands of people gathered in Vancouver to support the Palestinian resistance in Gaza in its war against Israel.
Two days earlier, MAWO (Mobilization Against War and Occupation) posted on Facebook:
📢Join to demand FREE PALESTINE! 🇵🇸
Next Vancouver march & rally for Palestine will be Saturday Oct 28, 2pm at Vancouver Art Gallery
From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free!
Self-Determination for Palestine!
Stop Bombing Gaza Now!
#Palestine #Vancouver #GazaUnderAttack #Gaza_Genocide #GazaGenocide #StopGazaGenocide #HandsOffGaza #vanpoli
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network Vancouver
Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM)- حركة الشباب الفلسطيني WILPF Canada
The protest organizers are:
- BDS Vancouver – Coast Salish Territories
- Canada Palestine Association – Vancouver
- WILPF – Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
- Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM)
- SPHR – Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights
- Samidoun – Palestinian Prisoners Solidarity Network
- ILPS Canada – International League of Peoples’ Struggle in Canada
- MAWO – Mobilization Against War and Occupation
Natalie Knight, a Langara College instructor, was one of the speakers at the protest. Here is the transcript of her speech:
We are members of a revolutionary mass organization in East Vancouver called United in Struggle. We unite workers, indigenous people, and all oppressed peoples to fight back against the ruling elites. Two years ago, two years ago in September of 2021, six political prisoners [see below background information about them] dug their escape out of a maximum security prison using only spoons. Amazing! This was a feat of determination and ingenuity only eclipsed, only eclipsed by the amazing, brilliant offensive waged on October 7th . [See below background information on the Islamic Resistance Movement – Hamas and the Islamic Jihad attack on Israel] United in struggle upholds the unqualified right to resist and fight back against imperialist aggression, colonialism, and genocidal campaigns of the Israeli state. The Israeli state works as a regional enforcer in the Middle East on behalf of the United States, but not just on behalf of the United States. Canada is in there, too, and all countries that group themselves around this erratic and waning empire. The mainstream media can’t be called out enough. The mainstream media portrays this as an ethnic conflict and a campaign of terror against Hamas [unintelligible] Israel. But we know the truth. This is a war between Israeli elites and all Palestinians. This is a war between imperialists and all oppressed and exploited people around the world, inside and outside of Gaza. It is a war that Israel is prepared to wage against its own people as it arms its citizen militia with automatic weapons and attempt to quell unrest within its own borders. In the face of the Zionist enemy that fires bombs down indiscriminately on the families and children within Gaza, Palestinian freedom fighters make their own weather. They make their own weather. They become the wind and the rain that will smother the fire of the enemy. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world express outrage in the streets because we are moved by the fierce bravery and vision for liberation and the right to return. That clarity of vision can revive all of our fighting spirits, all of our fighting spirits, including the working class and Indigenous nations and people here who are being railroaded into reconciliation, being railroaded into fighting over pieces of the pie and forgetting about the world that we can win together.
On November 3, 2023, CBC reported that Natalie Knight defends her comments about Hamas attack she made at the Vancouver rally:
But Natalie Knight, in a statement Friday, defended those remarks, saying she will not shy away from speaking out for the “just resistance to Israeli occupation and the genocide of Palestinians.”
The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center provides information about the “political prisoners” mentioned by Natalie Knight in her speech.
Here is an excerpt from a report published by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center on September 13, 2021:
Five of the fugitive terrorists, most of them sentenced to long prison terms, are PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] terrorist operatives, and one is a Fatah operative.
Mahmoud Abdallah Ali al-Ardah, 45, from Arraba near Jenin. A leader of the PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] prisoners and apparently the commander of the escape, he was detained in 1992 for terrorist activities during the first intifada, and served a term of 41 months before being released as part of the Oslo Accords. In 1996, less than a year after his release, he was detained again, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment plus 15 years for membership in the PIJ and terrorist attacks that led to the deaths of IDF soldiers. In 2014 he tried to escape from prison by digging a tunnel with Yaqoub Qadri, who escaped with him from the Gilboa prison. PIJ spokesman Da’ud Shehab nicknamed him “the prince of the [Palestinian Islamic] Jihad prisoners.” He said al-Ardah had been in jail since 1996. Khader Adnan, a PIJ leader in Judea and Samaria, who went on a hunger strike while under administrative detention and became a symbol of the “resistance,” said Muhammad al-Ardah was one of the first prisoners who would be released in a prisoner exchange deal (al-Risalah, September 7, 2021). Note: He was recaptured on September 9, 2021.
Muhammad Qassem al-Ardah, 39, from Arraba near Jenin. A PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] terrorist operative and Mahmoud al-Ardah’s brother. In 2002 he was sentenced to three consecutive terms of life imprisonment plus 20 years for murder and membership in a terrorist organization. He was detained in Ramallah by the PA security forces and after his release, in 2001 he was involved in a suicide bombing attack on a bus in Wadi Ara in northern Israel which killed three Israeli civilians. Note: He was recaptured on September 10, 2021.
Yaqoub Muhammad Qadri, 48, from Bir al-Basha, near Jenin. An operative in the PIJ’s military-terrorist wing [Palestinian Islamic Jihad], he was serving two consecutive sentences of life imprisonment plus 35 years handed down in 2004 for the murder of an Israeli near Mevo Dotan, southwest of Jenin in Samaria, membership in a terrorist organization and participation in other terrorist activities. While imprisoned he studied for a BA in history at the al-Quds Open University in the Gaza Strip. Note: He was recaptured on September 9, 2021.
Ayham Naif Kamamji, 35, from Kafr Dan, near Jenin. A PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] terrorist operative who was serving a sentence of life imprisonment as of 2006 for participation in the abduction and murder of Israeli civilian Eliahu Oshri in Ramallah. In 2003 he was detained in the PA’s prison in Jericho, escaping in 2004.
Munadhel Yakoub Infeiat, 25, from Ya’bed, near Jenin. A PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] terrorist operative, he was detained in 2017 and imprisoned in 2019 for a shooting attack. One of his cousins was shot while carrying out a stabbing attack in the Israeli community of Mevo Dotan (Israeli Channel 11, Kan, September 6, 2021).
Zakaria Zubeidi, 45. A Fatah terrorist operative, he is the most famous of the six prisoners. He was a symbol of the second intifada, during which headed a Fatah terrorist network in the Jenin area (Fatah’s Tanzim/al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades). Beginning in the summer of 2002 he was involved in planning and carrying out deadly terrorist attacks in Samaria and inside Israel, causing the death and wounding of Israeli civilians and soldiers. He was involved in orchestrating the shooting attack at the Likud branch in Beit Shean which killed six Israeli civilians (November 28, 2002). Some of the attacks were carried out in collaboration with the PIJ network in Jenin. Zakaria Zubeidi was part of the “wanted felons agreement” of 2007, in which terrorist operatives in Samaria agreed to end their involvement in all violent and illegal activities and leave the terrorist organizations to which they belonged. On February 27, 2019, Zakaria Zubeidi was detained again, this time with Tareq Barghouti, a lawyer from Jerusalem and a member of the Israeli bar association. The Israeli Security Agency investigation led to an indictment of the two for a number of shooting attacks targeting Israeli vehicles. Note: He was recaptured on September 10, 2021.
War in the South – Hamas’ Attack on Israel – background information
Excerpts from a report published by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (updated on November 1, 2023):
On Saturday 7 October 2023, the religious holiday of Simhat Torah, in an act of war, over a thousand terrorists from Gaza Strip infiltrated Israel by land, sea and air at several locations and advanced towards Israeli communities and population centers. This was carried out in conjunction with indiscriminate rocket fire targeting towns and cities in the south, the center of the country, and Jerusalem (more than 6,600 rockets and missiles have been launched so far) with the intent of maximizing harm to civilians.
The terrorists penetrated several southern settlements and began a murderous killing spree of families and individuals in their homes, in the streets and at a music festival that was being held in the area. The terrorists rampaged throughout the region for many hours, during which time they committed atrocities on a scale that have not been seen since the events of the ISIS massacre in Sinjar in 2014.
The evidence found on the ground, the documentation caught on camera by the terrorists themselves and by security cameras, survivors and other sources, as well as survivors’ testimonies, document a horrendous story of attackers devoid of any shred of humanity. Families were slaughtered in their beds, women were viciously raped, and innocent civilians were maimed, killed and in some instances beheaded. In addition, civilians were burnt alive, babies were butchered, and hundreds of men and women were viciously gunned down while simply dancing at a music festival. Upon their return to the Gaza Strip, the terrorists abducted everyone they happened upon – with an emphasis on families, women and children.
In the aftermath of these events, the extent of Israeli casualties was found to be staggering. The casualty toll in Israel currently stands at approximately 1,400 people murdered and 5,400 wounded. Over 240 people are missing or have been abducted to the Gaza Strip. There are 283 foreign nationals among the murdered people, as well as 26 among the missing and kidnapped (including holders of dual citizenship). Thirty-five children – 10 of whom are under the age of 5, as well as 18 elderly people over 75, are among the abducted. In addition, over 8,500 missiles and rockets have been fired so far at the settlements of the south, the center, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem. It should be noted that to date over 600 rockets launched from Gaza have fallen inside the Gaza Strip, often resulting in injuries to Gazan residents.
Over two hundred Israeli citizens have been abducted and are being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, including small children, women and the elderly. Many of the abductees were injured by Hamas terrorists, many of them need medical treatment and medication, and the condition of many of the abductees is unknown. This is a serious humanitarian crisis and a very fundamental violation of international law, and Israel expects the international community to act in every possible way to protect the rights of the abductees, to ensure proper medical treatment and to provide humanitarian aid to the abductees and their families..
Over the past few days, anti-tank missiles and mortar shells were fired from Lebanese territory at IDF positions on the Lebanese border while terrorists, under the auspices of Hezbollah, attempted to infiltrate Israel.
This means that Israel is at war against the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip. Israel security forces are determined to protect the citizens of Israel on all fronts. The IDF will protect the residents of the State of Israel; the Hamas terror organization and all the terrorists involved in harming the citizens of Israel will pay a very heavy price.
The displacement of tens of thousands of Israelis from their homes in the communities around the Gaza Strip in the wake of the terrorist attack that destroyed their homes and the ongoing rocket fire, and from the northern border communities following the ongoing attacks by Hezbollah on border villages, is posing a significant challenge to Israel. This displacement has intensified the challenging situation in which the survivors of the Hamas massacre in the villages and towns surrounding the Gaza Strip find themselves.
Iran bears direct responsibility for the capabilities of its proxies in the region and therefore also for the use they make of these capabilities.
Additionally, Iran promotes attacks on Israel form other fronts – Lebanon and Syria to the north, using Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations, and from the south using the Houthis, Iran’s proxy in Yemen. This is reflected in the firing of missiles, rockets and mortar shells from the north and the launching of missiles and UAVs towards Israel from the south.