Dueling pro-Israel and pro-Palestine rallies were held Sunday in Dallas as the war between Israel and Hamas continues to rage.
More than 6,000 pro-Palestine activists gathered in Downtown Dallas to voice their opposition to Israel’s military operations in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, a few hundred supporters of Israel gathered in North Dallas and spoke about the country’s need to eliminate Hamas, according to WFAA.
Hamas launched terrorist attacks on Israel this month, killing more than 1,400 Israelis and foreign nationals and kidnapping roughly 200 people. Israel has since declared war against Hamas. Palestinian authorities in Gaza have claimed the Israel Defense Forces have killed over 5,000 people and injured another 15,000, per CNBC.
Council Member Cara Mendelsohn spoke at the pro-Israel rally. She emphasized the impact of the war on the Jewish community in Dallas.
“They are impacted because we have a family member there, they are impacted because they have a friend there, they are impacted because they have business interests there,” Mendelsohn said in her speech, according to WFAA.
Benji Gershon, president of Dallas Jewish Conservatives, organized the pro-Israel rally. He said it is important to remember who Israel is fighting against in the war.
“It’s clear who Hamas is,” Gershon told WFAA. “It’s clear we are fighting evil. These are modern Nazis we are dealing with. [We’re seeing] a modern-day pogrom here in Israel, and it’s unacceptable.”
The pro-Palestine rally at Dallas City Hall Plaza included prayers, speeches, and a march. Mohammed Ayachi, the rally organizer, said the goal was to advocate for peace and that their demonstration should not be confused with support for Hamas.
“At the end of the day, we don’t support Hamas,” Ayachi told WFAA. “We support the innocent people of Palestine. You can’t justify the death of 5,000 people [by] saying you are coming after one entity or organization.”
“We can’t just stay silent with the injustice that is happening in Palestine and what the Israeli government is doing,” Daania Farhan, another protester, told WFAA.
Palestinian authorities recently claimed that an Israeli strike killed 500 people at a hospital in Gaza. After consultation with U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies, President Joe Biden said the explosion was likely the result of a botched Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket launch.
Pro-Palestine protesters have taken to the streets of Dallas on several occasions since the war began. The “All Out for Palestine” rally on October 15 was hosted by several pro-Palestine groups that have posted support for Hamas’ terrorist attacks on social media and are backed by millions of dollars in funding, The Dallas Express reported.
Following the rally, The Dallas Express reached out to the City of Dallas to inquire about who filed for a permit for the “All Out for Palestine” demonstration. City officials initially claimed the news outlet would need to file an open records request to receive such information. However, once The Dallas Express filed its request, the City claimed that it could take an extended period of time to provide the records due to a “cybersecurity incident.”
“Expect delays in receiving responsive records. We anticipate providing documents within ten business days of when the City fully restores access to digital information. Please consider resubmitting your request at a later time. We appreciate your patience during this time,” the City claimed.
Polling conducted by The Dallas Express indicates that many local residents want the City of Dallas to be more transparent in its operations.