Local protests push for peace in Middle East - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Local protests push for peace in Middle East

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Two different groups held separate events in Louisville Sunday in response to the fighting in Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Louisville Students for Justice in Palestine, along with other peace organizations, protested at the corner of Hurstborne Parkway and Shelbyville Road.

More than 130 people gathered at one of the busiest intersections in the city to rally against the U.S. funding of the Israeli occupying force and Israel aggression in Gaza.

"Free, free Palestine," chanted protesters. “Five, six, seven, eight, stop the killing, stop the hate."

"Even if this is all over, even if there was a ceasefire, what's left for them?" said organizer Linda Omer, talking about Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Protesters held up signs saying “Respect Islam” and “Boycott Israel.”

Organizers say it's about bringing attention to what's really happening to the Palestinians including the ground invasions, occupation by Israelis, and bombings in the Gaza Strip.

Residents, they say, have no drinking water, no electricity, and are kept behind walls like prisoners.

"They're still going to live like animals, in a cage, people controlling them whenever they want to," Omer said.

Several nations call Hamas a terrorist organization, but people at Sunday’s protest say the group is fighting for their freedom.

"Hamas knows they're not going to win but they're doing this now as a symbol like ‘there's nothing here for us anyway if you're going to keep occupying us,’" Omer said.

Two hours later there was another show of support outside the Jewish Community Center, this time for the State of Israel.

"We want the killing to stop, the terrorism to stop," said Matt Goldberg with the Jewish Community of Louisville. He says Hamas is a terrorist organization.

"They bury missiles in apartment buildings. They bury missiles in schools, hospitals, mosques."

The pro-Palestinian group ended up across the street, but the Jewish community stood together in blue and white.

"I wish we could just say peace, and live in peace,” Goldberg said.

Another man, born and raised in Israel, fought for his country for more than 10 years.

"It hits home deep for me because I was there,” he said. “I served in the Israeli Defense Forces, you know, I've seen my brothers get killed and get hurt. I've seen the other side of it as well."

"We want peace like they want peace,” Goldberg said. "Everybody wants peace, but we have to have the rockets coming from Gaza stop immediately, and only Hamas can do that."

Nearly 400 Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed so far in the two-week conflict.

Israel says it’s sending more troops into Gaza.

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