Jerusalem, Ramallah rally in solidarity with France

11th January 2015, Comments 0 comments

Hundreds rallied in Jerusalem and Ramallah on Sunday in separate shows of solidarity with France over the attacks in Paris that left 17 people dead.

More than 500 people gathered in Jerusalem in front of a screen reading in French "Jerusalem is Charlie", an AFP correspondent said.

Participants observed a minute's silence, holding signs reading in French "I am Charlie" and "I am a French Jew", and in Hebrew "Israel is Charlie".

"This is an attack on all of us -- on the Jewish people, on freedom of media and expression," Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said.

"We are all French Jews, Jerusalem is Charlie," he added in French.

Jerusalem chief rabbi Shlomo Amar said a prayer for the 17 victims, including four Jews killed in a Paris supermarket on Friday who will be buried in Israel.

But for some participants, the massive show of support in France following this week's attack on the offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo was tinged with bitterness.

Pierre Besnainou, a longtime leader in the French-Jewish community who recently immigrated to Israel, said such an outpouring would have been welcome after previous attacks targeting French Jews.

"The mobilisation after Charlie leaves a bitter taste, since we felt very alone after Toulouse," he said, referring to attacks in which an Islamic extremist shot dead three children and a teacher at a Jewish school in 2012.

"Despite the efforts of the French security agencies, we won't be able to protect our Jews in France," he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who flew to Paris on Sunday to attend a massive solidarity march, has called for Jews living in France to leave for Israel following the attacks.

Dozens of Palestinians also held a rally in the West Bank city of Ramallah, as Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas participated too in the Paris march.

Waving Palestinian and French flags, they held up banners reading "Palestine stands with France against terrorism."

Gaza paid tribute to the victims during a candlelit vigil in the enclave.

Hamas, the de facto rulers of Gaza, condemned the assault on Charlie Hebdo in a statement on Saturday which failed to refer to the subsequent attack on the Jewish supermarket.

© 2015 AFP

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