Over a thousand people rallied at Monument Circle Sunday to demand a cease-fire in Gaza, a region where thousands of Palestinian deaths have been reported due to Israeli airstrikes.
Indianapolis protesters yelled chants such as “long live Palestine,” and “resistance is justified when people are occupied.” Malkah Bird, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace-Indiana and a speaker at the protest, said a cease-fire is essential.
“I don’t think the United States and people across this country want to see any more death in Palestine,” Bird said. “They don’t want to see any more dead Gazans killed by Israel. And the only way that our government can get out of this, at this point, is to speak out strongly and clearly and make that call for cease-fire. It’s the only moral, ethical, just thing to do. At this point, it’s our only option.”
Many attendees were also concerned about the ongoing U.S. financial support to Israel and Indiana's recent purchase of $35 million in Israeli bonds.That’s why Bird said the war impacts all Hoosiers, whether they have relatives in Gaza or not.
The event, jointly organized by multiple pro-Palestinian groups including Butler University’s Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace-Indiana, Middle Eastern Student Association at IUPUI and the Indiana Muslim Community comes a day after tens of thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C. to demand a cease-fire and an end to U.S. funding for Israel in the war.
No Pro-Israeli groups supporting the county’s war against the militant group Hamas made a counter-demonstration during the gathering.
People in pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian groups have held rallies and protests in support of their respective sides in the Middle East conflict since it reignited on Oct. 7. That’s when Hamas carried out attacks on Israeli communities that killed about 1,400 people, NPR reported. Hamas is also believed to have taken more than 240 hostages during the attack.
Since then, Israel has bombed parts of Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip. More than 9,480 Palestinians have been killed by Israel's military attacks over the last four weeks, according to Gaza's health ministry NPR reported.
Indianapolis protest attendee Ashraf Abdelhafez, originally from Palestine, said he and his family went to the rally in D.C. The conflict now is not new, he said, citing his family history. Abdelhafez said his grandfather was exiled from Palestine, leading Abdelhafez to grow up in Jordan.
And since then, he said, many countries including the U.S. have continued to support Israel over Palestine.
“And unfortunately, they don’t see any opportunity for this kind of continuous cycle to change.”
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