Free Palestine protesters gather at Jacksonville City Hall

JACKSONVILLE – Dozens of people protested against the liberation of Palestine in Jacksonville on Saturday evening.

Responding to the attacks overseas in the past few days, they believe the Americans need to read up on what happened and hold our elected officials accountable for the role they played in the attacks.

They found a way to party, dance and clap after protesting for a free Palestine.

Decades of struggle in Israel affect the Jacksonville community.

“I gave testimony and lived what my friends and family are currently living abroad,” said Siamara Tannous, who is from Palestine. “So I’m very aware and very broken about what is going on between the two sides.”

According to reports, a police raid on a mosque in Jerusalem in April sparked war between Israel, a militant group, Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.

“Israel has responded vigorously to these attacks and we will continue to respond vigorously until the security of our people is restored and restored,” said Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel.

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Tensions between Palestine and Israel are deep, but some call the recent violence the worst in years.

Sara Tayiba of the Jacksonville Palestine Solidarity Network told protesters on Saturday that her home state of Palestine is in self-defense.

“It’s really important to understand that for centuries the Palestinians have articulated our struggle as a struggle against settler colonialism,” said Tayiba. “As long as we oppose Zionism, we articulate it as a just struggle against the colonialism of the settlers.”

One person believes the United States has a role in the violence. In the past, the United States has provided foreign aid to Israel.

“The funding is just amazing,” said Samir Saman. “I mean, you’re talking about millions and billions of dollars of American taxpayers literally paying for bombs that destroy buildings on the heads of people we know personally.”

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More than 100 people have died, buildings have been destroyed and many people have been displaced.

“This is stolen land and we should have the right to fight back and do everything we can to get our land back,” said Rahaf Salameh.

But for the sake of the children, the protesters say they pray that the violence will stop.

“We want to live in peace with Israel,” said Hafez Assali, a protester. “We do not live side by side with the State of Israel, but we want Israel to recognize us as human beings, as human beings and its people who deserve life as they do.”

The organization behind this protest would like to encourage everyone to have a conversation about what is happening in Israel.

“We need the direct attention of the American people in the American government to just feel what the Palestinians are feeling,” Assali said. “Don’t take a page. Just work towards justice for the Palestinian people as you work for the justice of the Israeli people. “

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