NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Four weeks after the vicious Hamas attacks on Israel, hundreds gathered in Centennial Park Saturday to call for a ceasefire.
As the death toll passes 9,000 in the Middle East, Veterans for Peace demonstrated, calling to an end to all fighting.
“We try to tell people the cost of war both in blood, money, and destruction of human life,” said Thomas Grose, volunteer for Veterans for Peace Chapter 89.
The United States has called for a humanitarian pause to the fighting and to allow more aid into Gaza. Meanwhile, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to carry on with forces until Hamas releases nearly 250 hostages.
Protesters in Cenntennial Park worried about hospitals bombed, civilians unable to get aid, and children and babies being killed amid the war in the Middle East.
“We have to continue. We will never give up to defend human rights and to civilians and innocent people being killed all over the world,” protester Moaz Raof said.
Sean Foley, professor of Middle East and Islamic History at Middle Tennessee State University, explained the deep-seated conflict stems from “the Nakba” in 1948, when Israel declared its independence and more than 700,000 Palestinians fled to Gaza. He said some in the Arab world are referring to this war as “the new Nakba.”
“Some people in Gaza, who are of course fearful for their lives because of the war, are also fearful that if they leave Gaza, they will not be able to come back,” Foley said.
He said a fence put up around Gaza by Israel has long limited mobility in and out of the territory, and Israel controls the supply for water, electricity, and fuel to Gaza. Hamas’ recent attacks aimed to disrupt this control and gain leverage with hostages.
“Indeed there’s been a tremendous amount of savage, horrific violence that both communities in Israel have certainly experienced, but also the communities civilians have certainly experienced on the Palestinian side over a significant period of time. Both sides have experienced this,” Foley said.
Saturday’s protesters said they’re calling for an end to all violence on both sides, especially as the death toll rises among Palestinians.
“At the end of the day, we need to recognize that Gazans have no electricity, not a lot of reporters, not a lot of people are able to speak up about what’s happening around them. So it’s very crucial for us to recognize that,” protester Roua Mohamed said.