Photo by Annika Hom.

On the edge of Liberty Street, local supporters of Palestine literally drew resistance early Saturday afternoon as dozens of the activists took turns painting a giant street mural on Valencia Street that depicted symbols of resistance and martyrdom. Hours later, they joined hundreds more in a march to Dolores Park. 

The “All Out for Palestine” rally commenced at 2 p.m. with hundreds of people of all generations and ethnicities chanting, “Palestine will be free,” and “end the occupation now” to drums and tambourines. Condemnations against Israel and taunts aimed at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, also echoed through the streets, “Netanyahu, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.”

The march circled around and ended up on Mission Street, rousing the attention of bar customers and shop owners. Protesters in cars leaned on their horns as they drove by, with some passengers waving the black, red, white, and green Palestinian flag out the car window. 

The sheer mass of people enlivened the spirits of Mona Leena Michael, the owner of the Oakland pop-up Palestinian bakery The Mana’eesh Lady. “There’s never been this many people who’ve shown up. I actually feel like there actually could be a change.” 

Salah Alseeidei, an Oakland resident of Yemeni descent, brought his 10-year-old son, Adham, and his 5-year-old grandson, Naim. “We’re here because Israel is hurting innocent people, attacking people, and taking our land, and our holy mosque, Al-Aqsa.” 

The crowd streamed along Mission, then snaked along 24th Street back toward Valencia. Participants tossed flower petals so “our Creator sees our prayer” and chanted “God is the greatest” in Arabic. Denizens of the Mission were spotted among the throngs, too — present were members of the Latino Task Force, and the sisters of Sean Monterrosa, a Mission native who was shot and killed by Vallejo police last summer. 

The march reached Dolores Park at about 4:30 p.m., where organizers from the Palestinian Youth Movement, United States Palestine Coalition Network, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, Jewish Voice for Peace, Black Alliance Peace, and others spoke. Activists perched on trash cans and traffic lights to wave flags and shout chants, drawing looks from park denizens enjoying late afternoon picnics. 

Speeches condemned Zionism, President Biden’s celebration of Eid, and the United States’s $3.8 billion in annual military aid to Israel. Signs spanned from severe criticism of Israel (“Free Palestine from terrorists”) to supportive of Palestine  (“#solidarity”) to mocking (“Zionists can’t parallel park.”)

“They’re killing us — kids under 12 years old. Keep an eye out. Be safe,” said Monadel Herzallah, a member of United States Palestine Coalition Network, who has been organizing for Palestine’s freedom for decades. “This must be stopped. When Gaza is under attack … ”

“We fight back,” the crowd thundered. 

Violet, an organizer with the Palestine Youth Movement, shouted on the bullhorn, facing the activists at Dolores Park, that the actions were far from over. A planned protest in front of the Israeli consulate on Montgomery Street is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Wednesday. 

“We need you to keep showing up,” she said. 

The local protest arose in response to increased conflict in Israel and Palestine that has escalated quickly and led to the worst violence in years, killing at least 145 people in Gaza and 12 people in Israel. On Saturday, another Israeli air strike killed at least 10 Palestinians in a refugee camp and destroyed a building in Gaza City that housed media outlets such as the Associated Press and Al Jazeera.

“Seeing all the people here believe in a foreign country and supporting us, that was so beautiful,” said Hamdi, a Redwood City resident and Palestinian, who joined his his two sisters and “about 50 others” to paint a mural on Valencia Street earlier in the day.

Chris Gazaleh, a native San Franciscan artist and a Palestinian, sketched out the  circular mural about 20-feet in diameter in front of Xanath Ice Cream on 951 Valencia St. 

The art featured numerous symbols related to Palestine, including a red poppy, which represents the “blood of Palestinian martyrs” and is a native flower, protesters explained; women wearing keffiyeh scarves, which are associated with the Palestinian resistance; the Palestinian flag, and the words “we will return,” in Arabic and in English. 

During the hour or so to it took to complete, organizers passed out dozens of Palestinian flags and then Hamdi, 19, and the others left to join the hundreds of other protesters. 

Salah Alseeidei with his 10-year-old son, Adham, and his 5-year-old grandson, Naim. Photo by Annika Hom.
The mural painted earlier in the day. Photo by Annika Hom.
Photo by Annika Hom.

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REPORTER. Annika Hom is our inequality reporter through our partnership with Report for America. Annika was born and raised in the Bay Area. She previously interned at SF Weekly and the Boston Globe where she focused on local news and immigration. She is a proud Chinese and Filipina American. She has a twin brother that (contrary to soap opera tropes) is not evil.

Follow her on Twitter at @AnnikaHom.

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  1. Umm excuse me, but Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005. The reason there is a blockade is because Hamas insists on fighting Israel, building underground tunnels, acquiring and firing rockets at civilians etc. Do you think there would be a blockade if they were peaceful? They could of used all the money they spent on war equipment for civil purposes. And a 2 state solution was also in the cards starting 30 years ago.

    But no, they keep wanting all of Israel. Israel is a legitimate country that was voted on by the United Nations. The same United Nations Palestinians love to use against Israel now. But I guess in 1947 the UN was bad, and now it’s somehow good. Jews were the original inhabitants of the land, long before Mohammed even existed. And Palestine is originally an ancient Roman name, it has nothing to do with Muslims or Arabs. The land was ruled by Romans, Ottomans, the British, among others, it was never an Arab country. Jews have a right to their homeland, and yes anti Zionism is anti Semitism. Interesting how the woke left is fast asleep when it comes to the legitimacy of Israel.

    The obvious solution of creating 2 states has been rejected by Palestinians for decades, and every year that passes it gets more difficult to achieve. The notion that it will become one “binational” state is out of the question, and if Palestinians continue in the same war like path they will not have self determination. You can’t call it apartheid if one side keeps rejecting the only solution that could possibly work. In the meantime other Arab nations (UAE, Bahrain, others to follow) are moving forward with recognizing Israel and making peace. It’s high time to look ahead, and not behind.

  2. Love this article, I was there and thank you for representing the images and sentiments. It was passionate and exhilarating, and thrilling to feel the outrage and massive solidarity. Only issue is the reference to “hundreds” of participants — there must have been at least 7,000-10,000. [ps: just about everyone wore masks]

    1. Crows sizes always feel bigger then they really are . Studies show that people think there’s at least 10x as many people as there really is. People at World Series parades think there’s 10m people. In reality , only probably .001 % of the Bay Area showed up. Most people don’t care either way regarding Israel and Palestine.

      1. Maybe so, but people who attend demonstrations tend to think the numbers are larger than they actually are. They exaggerate the number to help them feel that their cause is popular. In reality the number protesting was a small fraction of 1% of the local population. The vast majority of voters do not care about this issue, even in lefty San Francisco.

  3. Thank you for writing this article. It would be powerful to hold a march in front of Nancy Pelosi’s house in order to demand attention to her unconditional support for an apartheid regime.

  4. Israel needs to stop oppressing Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, the occupation is a moral rot at the heart of the country. But, I wonder what the US would do if people in Mexico started shooting rockets across the border into San Diego. Does anyone really think Americans wouldn’t retaliate with massively disproportionate force, leading to many civilian casualties? We occupied Afghanistan, leading to countless casualties, for two decades because someone who happened to be living there committed one terrorist act against us.

    1. But US does not occupy Mexico nor does it imprison it’s population in an open air prison , so your comparison is unjustified. Try occupying them and then see what they shoot back.

  5. “Praying for Peace & Liberation
    Friends, this is a dark moment in Israel and Palestine. I find myself, as I have so many times, struggling to name what feels right, or helpful, or necessary, amidst an escalation of violence there. Within our community there is a wide diversity of connection, or lack thereof, to that land and its residents, and a broad range of perspectives on what is happening now and what precipitated this moment. As always, my phone line and inbox are open. I would welcome the chance to connect, whether to share in struggle about the situation or in response to anything I write with which you disagree.

    Like all of us, I am praying for peace, for a de-escalation of violence, and for safety and security for all residents of Israel and Palestine. My hearts breaks over the killing of dozens of Palestinians in Gaza in the past few days, including 14 children. I feel particularly enraged in solidarity with the families and communities of those young people whose lives were ended so senselessly. My heart breaks as well for the two Israeli women in Ashkelon killed by a rocket from Gaza, and I mourn with their families and communities. For all Israelis living in fear right now, having to duck into bomb shelters at a moment’s notice, I shudder, knowing that this is a reality far from what I live. And I shudder further as I imagine all the Palestinian people and families, for whom the situation is many times more precarious. They may receive a warning that their building will be struck, but where are they to go?

    I pray for peace, and I pray for liberation. Liberation, yes, for all people suffering under these generational cycles of violence. And liberation in particular for the Palestinian people, who have endured over 50 years of a brutal and dehumanizing occupation by the State of Israel. There are a lot of events that have contributed to this moment’s escalation, and I unequivocally condemn violence against civilians from either side. But the forced removal of Palestinian families to be replaced by Jewish settlers in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, the denial of worshippers access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the last Friday of Ramadan, and the subsequent harassment and attack against worshippers who were there, are all state-sanctioned acts of violence, which are necessary elements in maintaining the occupation. As long as it continues, and millions of Palestinians are systematically denied basic human rights, including the right to vote for the government which ultimately controls their fate, the violence will not end. So in this moment, more than ever, I believe we must call and work for an end to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian people.

    As Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah, put it in her powerful article yesterday:

    “All of us who care about the future of Israel and Palestine, and of Israelis (Jewish, Palestinian & other) and Palestinians should be putting our money, advocacy energy, and organizing power into working to end occupation, investing in organizations both here & there that are doing so, and supporting the extraordinary activists on the ground who are devoting their lives to this work.”

    Ken y’hi ratzon — May it be so.

    – Rabbi Benjamin”

  6. Well done. Also praying for liberation and peace – see Mandy Patinkin’s tweet by Rabbi Benjamin Barnett.

  7. $3.8 billion to support the apartheid and general oppression of Palestinians.
    Surely, there’s more sensible ways to spend this kind of money.

    1. Israel has never tried to work for PEACE, IT IS hateful and deceitful, I appreciate this article. And interesting poster who propel Israeli LIES, SHAME on

      1. Oh sure Jane, all the years of work in the 1990’s and early 2000’s (Oslo accords, Bill Clinton’s numerous initiatives, etc.) you’re just glibly ignoring. I think you just want to hate on Israel because it makes you feel good (and righteous.)

        If the world wants to stop the violence in Gaza, send in an international peace keeping force that won’t allow Hamas to run rampant and acquire their missiles, build underground military tunnels, and plan their terror attacks against Israel. Obviously Israel has no need to attack Hamas military/terror infrastructure if it doesn’t exists.

  8. Between 2000 & 2020 Hamas Murdered some 4000 persons via Rocket and Air strikes , during that time Israel Defense Forces only took 40 lives in their Defense using those methods.
    The Terrorist in Gaza need to be called out and stopped.

  9. Great cause, but it’s extremely disturbing to see so many people without masks in a big crowd, which the CDC is still not advising. It’s also strange to see the first photo of people’s backs– to me, that looks like it was done in order to not show the number of people not wearing masks.

  10. What a bunch of one sided propaganda. No mention of Hamas firing over 2000 rockets into Israel, deliberately targeting civilians. Palestinians that do not recognize Israel as a legitimate country perpetuate the violence. And it’s completely one sided that they try to deny Jews their homeland with straight out racist diatribe, while Jews and Israel get slammed for any sort of retaliation. This could have been solved 30 years ago with a 2 state solution, but no, delusional Palestinians and their enablers perpetuate myths about Palestinian past “statehood”, while blatantly refusing to give any credence to Israel and Jews.
    You reap what you sow.

    1. This is so utterly racist and easily refuted by anyone who has studied history that it doesn’t deserve a response. End of story for SFrentier.

      1. Sure, and you’re so utterly reactionary and intolerant, you can’t refute one thing I’ve said. but nice try gaslighting from “someone who studied history.”