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Anti-Israeli Protest in Northampton

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB) – The tension in Gaza has continued to intensify over the past week.

Since 2008 living in fear has become a way of life for both Israelis and Palestinians.

On Sunday alone, in what is being called the deadliest yet, an Israeli strike killed 11 civilians in Gaza.

Miles away in another world, the Western Massachusetts Coalition for Palestine swarmed Northampton streets protesting the violence in support of the Palestinians. “We’re a bunch of students and citizens that are concerned about what’s happening in Gaza the incursion of the Israeli army into Gaza is causing the death of many Gaza civilians. It’s a repeat of what happened in 2008 when over 1,000 Palestinians were killed,” said Alisa Klein, Organizer of the Western Massachusetts Coalition for Palestine. “We stand with Gaza and we’re outraged and disgusted by Israel’s war crimes,” Coalition Organizer Madeline Burrows stated.

The coalition is calling for the U.S. to stop supporting ally Israel, but Rabbi Saul Perlmutter says Israel is only acting in self-defense. “Imagine that Canada were lobbing rockets into the U.S. day after day. Would anyone in their right mind say ‘no, no us just take it, more rockets, send ‘em on!’ I wonder where these folks were when all of these past years when rockets were being fired at Israeli civilians?” Perlmutter asked.

While there is no easy answer to the situation, folks in Northampton do have an idea of what can be done to start to work towards a remedy. “We really need the people in this region, those who share our values, the representatives, Governor Deval Patrick, Senator Elizabeth Warren, people who have great hope that they need to take a lead on this,” said Omar Dahi, Assistant Professor of Economics at Hampshire College. “Situations like Sandy where they can be supportive afterward but we can actually preemptively stop this occupation and stop people from being killed,” added Hampshire College student Jenna Bitar.

It seems like both sides want a peaceful end. “If they can begin with that understanding, that we are all children of God, then, hopefully, it will not lead to rocketing, it will not lead to responses, it will lead to people being able to live together. That’s what we all need ultimately,” Rabbi Perlmutter stated.

President Obama says he’s been in touch with leaders of Israel, Egypt, and Turkey in an effort to stop the fighting.

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