Pro-Palestinian supporters rallied in Victoria Sunday afternoon, followed by another rally for the Israeli hostages.
Israel continues to bomb Gaza in retaliation for the attack in Israel on Oct. 7, when Hamas gunmen killed 1200 people and took an estimated 240 hostages.
“We’re just calling for a ceasefire because we need peace, and we need to end the loss of lives on both sides, and a ceasefire is the best way for us to achieve that,” Pro-Palestine rally organizer Hamza Dari told CHEK News.
There were reports Sunday that a five-day ceasefire is being negotiated in exchange for the release of 50 hostages being held by the terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.
“Any cessation of violence gives me some hope,” added Palestine supporter Yahaya Odatallah. “Hundreds are dying every day. They say a child dies every 10 minutes, so every 10 minutes that goes by without stopping this violence, more people die.”
The United Nations says 13,000 people in Gaza have been killed by Israel’s bombing campaign as it tries to root out Hamas.
Another 30,000 have been injured.
Late Sunday afternoon, an estimated 400 Israel supporters held a subsequent rally calling for the release of all the hostages and an end to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
“It’s heartbreaking in every direction and from all angles,” organizer Noa Marnin Gilad told CHEK News before the rally.
“And we personally are not the people who will say, yes (continue the bombing) at any price of human life, at any cost, it’s not something we can say,” added her husband, Avishai Gilad.
They feel voices like theirs aren’t being heard here.
“Here we have no one to raise awareness for the hostages and for what happened October 7th,” said Noa Marnin Gilad. “The Israel side and the rallies, Palestinian-wise, get bigger and louder, and we need to raise a different voice on our side.”
Both sides, in Victoria, at least, are calling for peace and will not tolerate hate.
“We do not condone any form of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. It’s absolutely unacceptable, and it’s harmful to our communities, and it has no place in B.C. and no place in Victoria. Even at our rallies, we do not tolerate it,” said Dari.