Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Chicago on Wednesday as tensions in the Middle East continue to build between Israel and Palestinians.
The protesters gathered in downtown Chicago Wednesday for a rally, then marched through the city to the Israeli consulate, where they held a lengthy rally to call attention to the growing conflict that has seen at least 60 Palestinians die and more than 1,000 rockets launched by Hamas toward Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv.
The march and rally were organized by the Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine. The group is pushing for action to be taken against Israel in connection with the escalating conflict, including an Israeli plan to remove Palestinians from their homes.
“It’s a very clear occupying of their land, using legal terms,” Rubab Hyder said.
“I have family living in these countries, going through constant bombardment. It’s disgusting and sad (for my) family,” Ali Ruyyashi added.
Supporters of Israel point out that Israel’s air strikes have been targeting Hamas military installations in Gaza, and are being launched in retaliation against the rocket attacks launched against Israeli cities, including one that struck a bus and injured four people.
The escalation in hostilities marks the worst fighting in the region in the last seven years.
Aviv Ezra, the Israeli counsel general for the Midwestern United States, says that the U.S. has a key role to play.
“We don’t need boots on the ground from America. We need political support,” he said. “There is no process at negotiation that could be with a partner like Hamas, that in its charter vows to annihilate my country.”
At least 60 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli air strikes, according to officials.
President Joe Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday, saying that Israel “has a right to defend itself” from the rocket attacks launched by Hamas.