Protesters Demand Peace in Gaza at Rally in Des Moines

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DES MOINES, Iowa - It was a diverse group of faces - and voices - speaking out at a pro-Gaza peace rally in front of the Neal Smith Federal Building downtown Wednesday morning.

"It's an issue that doesn't just affect Palestinians, it affects human beings," said Essam Abusharkh, a Palestinian-American at the rally. "These are people just like you and I. They're teachers, they're engineers, they're doctors."

Attendants took turns reading over a loud-speaker the names of all Palestinians killed since the latest round of missile strikes and the recent ground-invasion into the Gaza Strip by the Israel Defense Forces. Poster signs with messages such as "Free Gaza" and "Stop the Genocide" were held as the names were read, and personal testimonies to the violence in the region were shared. Some of the protesters then delivered the list of those Palestinians killed by the violence to the offices of Senators Grassley and Harkin.

"There is no safe place in Gaza," said Katie Huerter, organizer of the protest. "Hospitals have been bombed, schools have been bombed, there is no where to hide."

The most recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian organization that runs Gaza, comes after Hamas launched rockets toward Israeli cities. Israeli technology was able to take out the missiles before they impacted their targets, and the Israel Defense Force has since retaliated with rocket fire into Gaza, along with a recent ground invasion, as well.

A recent CNN/ORC poll showed 57% of Americans support Israel's actions toward Hamas, while 34% said Israel's actions were not justified. On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in the region to speak with leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority - the Palestinian organization running the West Bank - to seek an end to the violence.

The New York Times reports after 16 days of fighting, at least 642 Palestinians - many of them women and children - and 35 Israelis have died.



  • John

    I support Israel. The Palestinian/Humas terrorists have been firing rockets into Israel for months and using their secret tunnels to carry out terrorist activities. The Palestinians hate us as much as they do Israel and they would be blowing us up if they had the means to do so.

  • William Denison

    GENEVA — The United Nations’ top human rights official, Navi Pillay, said Wednesday that there was a “strong possibility” that Israel and Hamas have committed war crimes with indiscriminate attacks on civilians during more than two weeks of fighting with militants in Gaza.

    Opening a special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Ms. Pillay called for an investigation and accountability to end the cycle of violence.

    Ms. Pillay cited Israeli airstrikes on civilian homes in Gaza and the shelling of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital two days ago, which killed four people, as examples of actions that suggest “a strong possibility that international humanitarian law has been violated in a manner that could amount to war crimes.”

    • Right Wing Patriot

      The United Nations? Seriously. This organization has zero credibility. They are anti-Israel/USA. In fact, Israel at times has shown great patience. They need to crush Hamas while the opportunity presents itself. They (Hamas) are a brutal terrorist organization who would personally behead you William without blinking an eye. I don’t know if you have children, but they would cut their throats as well (if you did). In fact, they would enjoy doing it. In addition, it just came out today that israel sent in 86 truck loads of food supplies/medicine into Gaza to assist the people.

      • William Denison

        The most appalling images out of Israel and Gaza over the past few weeks have been those of children: Four boys killed minutes after playing soccer on the beach, by shells that seemed to be “chasing them.” A father stuffing what remained of his young child into a plastic bag. A teenager burned by an angry mob in retribution for the deaths of his three Israeli peers.

        According to most estimates, around one in five Palestinian deaths in Operation Defense Edge has been that of a child. If counting solely civilian casualties, the number is bound to be higher, but Hamas estimates do not distinguish between deaths of militants and bystanders. (Everyone, such a count implies, is fighting for the cause of liberation.) Benjamin Wallace-Wells suggested that these deaths, and the brutal beating of a Florida teen, have been main contributors to the outpouring of social media support Gaza residents have received. Defence for Children International, an international NGO, called for an immediate end to strikes on Gaza, citing the high numbers of dead children and calling the strikes a violation of international law.

    • Willaim Denison

      Its too bad Syria doesn’t still have their seat on the UN Human Rights Council…..UN ROCKS!
      And keep praying for my kitty….

  • Mike

    If Israel only wanted to kill Palestinians, they could have easily made parking lots out of the West Bank and Gaza a long time ago!

  • Berettadouble

    Amazing the number of anti-Semites here. Why is there no blame for Hamas HIDING THE WEAPONS IN HOSPITALS, SCHOOLS, AND OTHER CIVILIAN AREAS. The enemy of humanity here is HAMAS. Wipe. them. out.

  • Mohamed Ali

    To the person who said wipe them out, how does it feel if I tell you I wish Hitler wiped you out, but I will not because I believe in humanity and I’m against killing innocent people. I’m a Palestinian refugee as well I’m an American citizen. The Palestinian people are humans that their land were stolen and occupied by force from people who came from Poland, Russia, Germany, etc…
    Fighting the occupier and defending land is called fighting for freedom where the Israel fight against the Palestinians is not called self defense, it is called a Genocide and terrorism. I will stop right here and I can give you lecture in humanity any time you want. Again I’m against killing innocent people from any race or kind and I believe in humanity and I pray for peace. Please don’t mislead the media in the wrong direction.
    Best regards

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