The furor surrounding Monday's killing of 19 Palestinians by Israeli police reverberated at Harvard yesterday.
More than 35 people gathered in front of Widener Library holding picket signs and chanting to protest the slayings.
Leaders from the Society of Arab Students and the Subterranean Review, a leftist campus publication, headed the group of pro-Palestinian undergraduates, graduate students and faculty in the peaceful rally. Demonstrators carried posters with messages such as "Economic sanctions on Israel now," "Stop Israeli genocide against Palestinians" and "End the Israeli occupation now."
A handful of members from the Harvard Israel Public Affairs Committee (HIPAC), advocates of U.S. support for Israel, were present as well to give their interpretation of Israel's actions by handing out flyers.
Israeli police opened fire Monday morning at the Temple Mount on stone-throwing Palestinians, who were angered by rumors that Jews were trying to establish a presence on the temple, the Associated Press reported. Thousands of Palestinians had been hurling rocks at Jewish worshippers marking the Succot holiday at the Wailing Wall, injuring 11 of the pilgrims before police ended the attack with gunfire.
Subterranean Review writer Imraan Coovadia '91, one of the protest's organizers, said that Israel lacked justification in killing the Palestinians, whether or not they were bombarding the Jews with stones.
"It was an inexcusable massacre," Coodavia said. "Even if the Arabs were throwing rocks, it shouldn't be a death warrant. It wouldn't be a reason to murder people in any country."
The Bush Administration broke general policy Tuesday by voting against Israel in the United Nations Security Council, criticizing the country for the deaths.
Dina N. Abu-Ghaida '91, a member of the Society of Arab Students, said that the United States' support for the Palestinians in the Middle East was well overdue.
"I'm basically happy," Abu-Ghadia said, "but [the support] should have come a long time ago. It's still not enough."
The HIPAC representatives standing to the side of the picket line said they were trying to clarify exactly what happened in Jerusalem, instead of just voicing their opinions.
"[HIPAC] felt it inappropriate to counter-protest," said Yvette C. Alt '92, a HIPAC co-chair. "We don't fundamentally disagree with the view that Arabs shouldn't be killed. But through our flyers, we just want to make sure people realize that the Arabs' attack on the Jews at the Wall was premeditated, and that's why we are upset."