A handful of people gathered at the B.C. Legislature on Saturday in solidarity with Palestine.
Saturday’s rally comes a little more than a week after a ceasefire was reached between Israel and Hamas following a deadly 11-day conflict that left hundreds — mainly Palestinians — dead and Gaza in immense ruin.
During the 11-day conflict, Israel unleashed hundreds of airstrikes across Gaza at what it claimed were militant targets. Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, and other armed groups fired more than 4,000 rockets toward Israel — with the majority of them being intercepted or landing in open areas.
Omar Shihadeh, organizer and member of the Palestinian community, said the rally was held as part of an effort to highlight the issues and “injustice” happening overseas.
“This is not an issue about religion or race, this is about genocide, ethnic cleansing, and settler colonization,” he said. “We are here to educate the people and spread love and peace and just spread the message.”
Shihadeh said while it’s great that there is a ceasefire in place, the issues remain regardless of whether there is fighting or not.
“It doesn’t change anything, this is an issue that has been stemming since 1948 … Settlers are going into people’s houses and taking over their lands, so just because a ceasefire has happened doesn’t mean the problems still aren’t ongoing. The people are Palestine are still suffering injustices, people in Gaza still don’t have electricity, clean food, or running water.”
Tyson Strandlund, an attendee at the rally, told CHEK News that even with a ceasefire in place, solidarity with Palestine is needed now more than ever.
“The injustices faced by the Palestinians go on every day, regardless. and just because there’s been a ceasefire is no excuse for us to back down now,” he said.
Saturday’s rally also comes less than a week after around 30 members of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths gathered at Centennial Square to condemn the ongoing violence in Israel and Palestine.
With files from The Associated Press