WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A truce between Israel and Hamas took hold Friday after the worst violence in years. Israel’s aerial bombardment of the densely populated enclave killed 243 Palestinians, wounded more than 19-hundred and damaged critical infrastructure and thousands of homes.
In Israel, 12 people were killed and hundreds treated for injuries in rocket attacks.
Friday evening, a large group of people in Wichita spent their evening marching in solidarity with Palestine. “We will not stop and Palestine will not stop until they receive, human rights, equal rights and the freedom to grow and prosper as a nation and a people,” said organizer Haneen Sherbi.
While a cease-fire has been called between Israel and Hamas, local protestors like Roaa Alwazani believe more can be done, “It’s been going on for over 70 years and Palestinians are harassed, they’re murdered, they’re like treated unjustly with no human rights, and it’s about time that like people become aware of it.”
Sabreen Sherbi is a Palestinian-American with members of her family still living in Palestine. She hopes community members look beyond stereotypes of Palestinians, “There’s a really huge misconception that all Palestinians are Muslims. Well that is not the case at all Palestinians are also Christian and some Palestinians are also Jews and Palestinians are Muslims.”
For Rabbi Michael Davis, he wants his Congregation Emanu-el and others to look at what’s happening in Jerusalem with compassion. “We need to look beyond our own animosities look beyond our own anger and resentment and try to understand what the other is feeling so that we might step together and work together for peace,” he said.
March organizers are hoping that the community will use this time to do their own research into the issue.
Kansas senator Jerry Moran reacted to the ceasefire Friday, he said Israel has a right to defend itself calling Hamas the largest Palestinian militant group, a terrorist organization. “Well, we have a lot yet to be seen in what happens in Israel with Palestinians. but in particular with Hamas and I consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization,” Moran said. “I don’t know that they really represent Palestinians — they’re really there to see that the destruction of Israel, the demise of the country occurs.”
Kansas congressman Lake Laturner shared a similar sentiment on Twitter saying, “Israel is our ally. Hamas is a terrorist organization. Democrats are siding with Hamas or remaining silent in order to appease their radical base. We must stand with Israel, and support their right to defend themselves.”