Last Sunday, a large crowd of demonstrators stood outside the Nassau County Executive Building in Mineola to call for peace amidst the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel.
News 12 reported that the rally was organized by the Muslim Community of Nassau County. Hundreds surrounded the building holding signs, and some of which read “I stand with Palestine.” Demonstrators waved Palestinian flags, made speeches offered prayers and called for a ceasefire in Gaza. Protestors also encouraged both sides to be heard.
“[There must be] an understanding of the fact that all human life is sacred,” said Hassan Ahmed of Islip Town Unity Council to News 12. “We all need to come to a space where we can find peace.”
On Oct. 7, Hamas, an Islamic terrorist organization, launched a surprise attack on Israel. Over 1,300 Israelis were killed and around 150 were captured or taken to the Palestinian city, Gaza, which has been dominated by Hamas. The militant organization is allegedly willing to trade those captured in exchange for the release of thousands of Palestinians who have been imprisoned by Israel.
Israel responded with airstrikes. The Israeli military attacked Gaza and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated the war between Israel and Hamas was official. Over 1,100 people were killed and thousands were wounded.
Hamas then fled the city of Gaza and Israeli forces began moving in on the area on Oct. 11 and declared about 370-square miles of territory bordering Gaza a military zone. The Israeli military evacuated survivors in at least five towns close to Gaza. They also launched airstrikes destroying two mosques in retaliation.
According to Israeli authorities as of now, 1,400 people have died in Israel. The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported that 3,785 people have died in Gaza. The devastating casualties include 32 U.S. citizens. Netanyahu warns that the conflict will be a “a long war.”
Israel cut off Gaza’s power supply in retaliation for Hamas’ attacks leaving 2.3 million people in the area without electricity and fuel. According to Reuters, Palestinians say they have received new warnings from Israel’s military to move from north Gaza to the south and warned they may be identified as sympathizers with a “terrorist organization” if they stay.
Several other demonstrations, including the one arranged this past Sunday, have taken place not only in New York but across the country calling for an end to the violence on both sides.
“We want to live peacefully with each other,” said Abdul Aziz Bhuiyan of the Muslim Community of Nassau County. “Our religion calls for it.”