Waving Syrian flags and chanting anti-American slogans, several hundred Arab Israelis demonstrated in Haifa Saturday evening against Washington-led missile strikes on Assad regime targets.
The demonstration began in front of the US consulate. Participants also shouted against Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, who came out in support of the US airstrikes, carried out in a joint operation with Britain and France Friday in response to the regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons earlier this month.
The targets Friday night included a scientific research facility near Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility west of the city of Homs, and a third location near Homs that contained both a command post and a chemical weapons equipment storage facility, the US military said.
The facilities hit had reportedly been evacuated in recent days.
The airstrikes came in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack in the rebel-held town of Douma on April 7, which is said to have killed some 40 people, among them children.
Saturday’s rally was organized by Hadash, one of four parties that makes up the Joint (Arab) List faction in the Knesset.
The party released a statement during the rally, saying that the US has a “rich history of aggression and bullying in the region under the pretext of weapons of mass destruction that have turned out to be falsehoods.”
It claimed that Washington, encouraged by the Israeli and Saudi governments, was plunging the region into war, and asserted that the solution to the Syrian civil war, which has claimed more than 350,000 lives since 2011, is a “political” one.
Joining several religious leaders from Arab localities in northern Israel was Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman. In February, she accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of provoking escalation on Israel’s northern border in order to “distract” from the mounting corruption probes against him.
Those comments came after a large scale Israeli strike of dozens of targets in Syria after an Iranian drone originating from the war-torn country was shot down over Israeli territory, and an Israeli fighter jet was downed by Syrian air defenses.
Hadash has been criticized for its apparent support of the Assad regime in the past.
In April 2017, the Joint List had prepared a statement condemning another chemical attack attributed to Assad’s government, but it was vetoed by Hadash.