Thousands gather at City Hall to protest, march in support of Palestine
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The plaza in front of Dallas City Hall was once again full of thousands of protesters Sunday demonstrating in support of Palestine.
Like those who gathered for the ”All Out for Palestine” protest a week earlier, attendees marched through downtown waving Palestinian flags and gave speeches in front of the Dallas City Hall building. The outcry has followed weeks of fighting between Hamas, designated as a terrorist group by several entities including the U.S., and Israel since the Oct. 7 attacks against Israeli civilians and military bases.
Sunday’s protest was sponsored by 17 organizations, according to a flier, which read: “North Texans marching in support of Palestine against war crimes and apartheid.” The organizations sponsoring the event included Dallas Palestine Coalition, Dallas Peace and Justice Center, Texas Arab American Democrats and Veterans for Peace.
“The message that we have is very clear,” said Mohammed Ayachi, a Richardson resident who helped organize the protest. “We’re not calling for a ceasefire, because they’re just going to come back and do this again in a few months. What we’re calling for is an end to the occupation.”
Some protesters present at the event did hold signs reading “Ceasefire Now.”
The United Nations categorizes the Palestinian territories, which currently include Gaza and the West Bank, as occupied by Israel. An August 2023 study on “The Legality of the Israeli Occupation” commissioned by a United Nations committee concluded that Israel’s occupation of Palestine was illegal under international law, and that Israel owed “reparations” to affected Palestinians for “the generational harm caused by Israel’s land and property appropriations, house demolitions, pillage of natural resources, denial of return, and other war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
Both Hamas and Israel have been accused of war crimes before and since Oct. 7.
“Many people may not care because it’s not happening here in Dallas; it’s still being funded by your money,” Ayachi said of Israel’s occupation, citing the over $3.8 billion dollars of military aid a year that the US government sends to Israel.
The speakers at Sunday’s protest included Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, a New York rabbi who traveled to Dallas for the event. Weiss is known as a spokesperson for Neturei Karta International, a small group of Haredi Jews who oppose the existence of an Israeli state.
On Sunday, Weiss led the crowd in front of city hall in a chant of “Judaism yes/Zionism no, the state of Israel must go.” He passed out fliers on behalf of his organization that read “Ending the Israeli occupation, will end all bloodshed in Palestine.”
The majority of Jewish people in America say they feel an attachment in support of Israel, according to a 2021 Pew Research study, but opinions on a two-state solution in the Middle East and Israel’s handling of the conflict differ greatly.
Another speaker Sunday was Akheel Mohammed, coalition lead of the Dallas chapter of the Indian American Muslim Council.
“The reason I’m here, there’s two: The siege is still not lifted, and Israel is still bombing Gaza,” Mohammed said in an interview after the event. “Not only Gaza, Israel is bombing even West Bank areas,” he added, citing the recent bombing of a West Bank mosque.
Mohammed said the demonstrations were meant to bring awareness to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, but explained that Muslims in America are affected by the conflict as well. One person with murder and hate crime charges Illinois fatally stabbed a young boy and attacked his mother because they were Palestinian, according to police.
“We are facing threats here within the community, the Muslim community, the Palestinian community and the entire community that are standing with Palestine,” he said. “We are scared about our security in [the] US.”
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