Third anti-Israel protest held Monday in Montreal, organized by Jewish group
MONTREAL -- Monday saw the third day in a row of protests in Montreal over the new resurgence of violence in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
Organized by a Jewish group, the protest was smaller and more peaceful than the ones that took place over the weekend, one of which ended in police dispersing people with tear gas.
"This is not a conflict between two equal sides. This is not a 'real estate dispute,'" wrote the group Independent Jewish Voices Canada in a press release Monday.
"As Palestinians have been saying for decades, and as human rights organizations have recently reported, this is apartheid."
The rally, held outside of the Israeli consulate in Westmount Square, was attended by a few dozen people. Police were present but didn't intervene.
Speakers from the Jewish groups said they want to make it clear they're protesting the Israeli state, not the Israeli people. They're calling for Montrealers to boycott Israel and for Canada to implement sanctions on the country.
Montreal-based Palestinian groups also attended and spoke.
"We are here to demand an end to...the terrorizing of Palestinians on the streets in historical Palestine, and an end to the massacre on Gaza," said Elias Ayoub of the local Palestinian youth movement.
He said they also want an end to the expulsion of Palestinian families from their homes in Jerusalem.
"It's very clear there's an oppressor ... and there's an oppressed," said Denis Kosseim, member of the Canadian Palestinian Foundation of Quebec. "Apartheid is wrong. Morally, it's wrong. Legally, it's a crime against humanity in international law."
But the consul general of Israel for Quebec, David Levy, argued that the rockets Hamas is firing on Israel constitutes a war crime.
"Hamas is using Palestinian civilians as human shields," he told CTV News.
"These cowards are hiding behind women and children and journalists, they're firing from hospitals, they're firing from schools."
Monday's event was much quieter than two over the weekend in Montreal. On Saturday, thousands of people marched downtown in support of Palestinians. On Sunday, a pro-Israel rally was met by counter-protesters, and police ended up scattering the crowd with tear gas.
After years of relative quiet, violence between Israel and the Palestinian Territories flared up last week, with about 200 dead so far, the vast majority of them Palestinian.
Hamas began firing rockets toward Israel last Monday, and Israel attacked Gaza with airstrikes, killing at least 188 Palestinians, including 55 children. Eight people in Israel have been killed by the rocket attacks.
Another 1,230 people have been wounded and 34,000 people have been displaced from their homes, according to U.N. Mideast envoy Tor Wennesland.
— With files from The Associated Press