War knows no holidays, nor does it quench universal cries for ceasefire or the sparing of innocent lives in Gaza where the United States is backing a brutal Israeli war on Palestinians. There are no holiday breaks for bombardment nor the mounting numbers of the shrouded bodies of the young, old, and mostly children and women martyred in the indiscriminate slaughter. The bloodshed was enormous on December 25, that for many marked a revered holiday, Christmas, and continued through New Year’s Day.

For a war entering its third month, perhaps a single day—Christmas or otherwise—wouldn’t matter much, except on the same day the warmongers and facilitators backing the carnage sat thousands of miles away obliviously dining and socializing, celebrating with family and friends.

Israel spent the day intensifying assaults, killing more than 100 people at the Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Palestinian authorities reported that 250 people were killed in a wave of strikes over 24 hours, reported Al Jazeera on Dec. 25.

“My entire family is gone. All five of my brothers are gone. They didn’t leave me any brothers. …  All of them!” a wailing woman lamented on Dec. 25, at the Maghazi refugee camp.


Because of upsetting narratives like this Palestinian woman’s, anti-war resistors demanding permanent ceasefire took no holidays. Activists spent Christmas—as well as New Years Day—in the streets rallying and protesting in front of the homes of lawmakers and leading figures supporting Israel’s onslaught of Palestinians. 

In Chicago, the Coalition for Justice in Palestine and the U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) led a car caravan on Dec. 23, stopping and protesting at the residences of Democrats: Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Senator Dick Durban, who engaged the group outside his building.

U.S. Senator Dick Durban (D-Ill.) speaks with demonstrators who are demanding more be done toward a ceasefire in Gaza. Photo courtesy of Hatem Abudayyah

“He came out to address us, and we asked if he would call to condition aid to Israel until it ends its crimes and occupation against the Palestinian people, and if he would condemn the massacre as genocide,” said Hatem Abudayyah, national chair of USPN,  in a text to The Final Call.  “He refused to say yes to either. This is why he has blood on his hands.”  

On Dec. 25, activists with the Shut It Down For Palestine coalition, the Palestinian Youth Movement, and the ANSWER Coalition gathered in front of U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s house to declare: “No Christmas as usual during a genocide! Ceasefire NOW!,” stated a press release.

They showed up and showed out in the early morning hours.

The “Free, free Palestine; from the river to the sea!” mantra, and “Austin, Austin, rise and shine, no sleep during genocide!” was loudly chanted. Activists also paid White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan a Christmas Day visit at his Washington, D.C., home as well. 

With over 21,000 Palestinians slain and nearly two million displaced, Israeli officials have stated that they have no plans to cease bombing. Israel is only able to continue carrying out these war crimes because of the financial and political support of the United States. Not only has the U.S. blocked every possible ceasefire resolution in the United Nations Security Council, but over the last few months, numerous U.S. officials have traveled to Tel Aviv to meet with Israeli officials to express their support.

The latest visits of Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Austin were touted as the U.S. imploring Israel to slow down on its high intensity warfare that’s killing many civilians, but to also reiterate, “we’re still cool though.”

“The actions of U.S. officials are in complete contradiction to the sentiments of the American people,” said Layan Fuleihan of the People’s Forum. “We refuse to let these war criminals speak for us and we will not let up until they change course!” she said. 

Since the carnage began in early October 2023, hundreds of thousands of people of conscience have been on the streets in cities across the country demanding a ceasefire and an ending to all U.S. funding of Israel.

On the streets of New York City was physical push and pull between marchers and the police where demonstrators wore Palestinian kufiyahs and chanted: “No celebration, until liberation,” and carried pro-Palestinian solidarity signs. On Dec. 28, other protestors staged a silent demonstration and carried baby models (dolls) shrouded in white cloth. The models were placed on the ground in Times Square to symbolize killings of nearly 9,000 children by Israel since October 7, reported TRTWorld.com.

Shut It Down For Palestine protests have taken place nationwide, including in front of U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s home over the 2023 Christmas weekend. Photo: Shut It Down For Palestine Coalition

Actions are growing in intensity in what observers and analysts see as a volatile time, but also a ripe period to harvest change.

Brian Becker, executive director of the Act Now to End Racism and War (ANSWER) Coalition, said the world has reached a “dangerous period.” However, a period in which people who want peace, justice, and a world free of domination and colonialism, can unite and build massive movements for transformation.

In a recent Final Call interview, the longtime antiwar organizer expressed cautious optimism about the growing response to Gaza and the U.S. complicity with Israel. “I am optimistic, but I’m also not pollyannish about the prospects,” said Mr. Becker. “I really do believe we are at something of a crossroads,” he added.

“In the face of the U.S. sponsored Israeli barbarism against the people of Gaza… the world is on the move … is standing up … is rejecting empire. And they’re rejecting the U.S., Israeli war,” explained Mr. Becker.

According to a survey of 1,201 U.S. likely voters nationally, conducted by Data for Progress in late November, the U.S. government stance on the Israeli-Gaza situation is against what Americans desire.

Sixty-one percent of likely voters, including 76 percent of Democrats, and  Independents (57 percent) and a plurality of Republicans (49 percent) would rather America push for permanent ceasefire and a de-escalation of violence in Gaza. The sentiment is especially prevalent among younger voters. The findings underscore voters prefer diplomatic and humanitarian approaches to the crisis than sending military aid, weapons, and troops.

Organizers say America is cornered on the wrong side of justice.

“They are confronted by mass resistance and historic disapproval at home, a blockade of its major trade routes by the brave and noble people of Yemen, and international pressure against its support of genocide,” said Mohammad Abou Ghazala of the Palestinian Youth Movement.

“We will continue to put the pressure on until its support of war crimes is rendered completely unsustainable,” he said. —Brian E. Muhammad, Staff Writer