Rallying in solidarity for peace

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As the conflict continues between Israel and Hamas, the violence has sparked protests and rallies across the country in support of both sides. In New York City, Governor Hochul spoke at a rally protesting against the violence happening to Israeli civilians by the militant group Hamas while also saying that anti-semitism should not be tolerated.

“I stand here to tell you that New Yorkers will never tolerate evil,” Governor Hochul said. “Whether it’s committed here in our homeland or Israel, we will never, ever tolerate evil.”

In Albany, dozens rallied in solidarity for Palestine while also protesting against the violence and any prejudiced behavior.

“I wanna make it crystal clear though that we are condemning the war crimes that are being committed on both sides,” Tom Ellis, Member of the Palestinian Rights Committee, said. “There is no excuse ever for massacring civilians, and especially children.

For Carl Strock, attending the rally was also about promoting human rights for Palestinian civilians.

“I am here today to express support for the Palestinian people,” Strock said. “Who have endured over 50 years of occupation and dispossession at the hands of Israel and now are engaged in what looks like a God-awful reaction and retaliation for the persecution we’ve endured.”

After the third Arab-Israeli War, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced from the area. Many first-generation Palestinian-Americans attended the rally, including Layla Khafaka, who says her father and family were refugees during the 1970s.

“And I am here to spread the word because that is the most we can do. That every human in this world deserves basic human rights,” Khafaka said. “Remove religion, remove the culture, remove ethnicity, nationality for a minute. The fact that kids on both sides are being targeted. Kids have no electricity. Humans. Women. Everyone has no basic rights and basic freedom for what they need… That is why we’re here.”

Heather Benno attended the rally as a parent who is against any violence… against any civilians.

“We in the United States understand what racism looks like. We’ve seen Jim Crow apartheid in the South,” Benno said. “And my family is from the Middle East, and we just don’t stand for it.”

In the days to come, more protests and rallies will be planned from both sides… in hopes of ending the violence.

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