A series of demonstrations in San Francisco Friday highlight the varying points of view of the war between Israel and Hamas.
At Civic Center Plaza, outside city hall, demonstrators held blue and white Israeli flags, and called for the release of those being held hostage by Hamas militants.
Yael Nidam says her sister-in-law is believed to be one of the hostages.
“On Saturday morning she started texting us, ‘they’re shooting at me, they’re shooting at me. We are hiding under the bed,’” said Nidam of Berkeley.
She said they exchanged texts for about a half hour, then the messages stopped.
She says it took the Israeli defense forces a day and a half to clear out her village of militants, but they never found her sister-in-law or any remains. So they believe she’s among the 150 people held hostage.
As Israel mobilizes for a ground assault into Gaza, Nidam is concerned for her relative and everyone else who could be affected.
“All I can think about is the need to protect civilians from the atrocities of war,” she said.
And for some at this demonstration, that includes Palestinian civilians.
“Yes, of course there is concern. We all think that they are human beings. And we know that Hamas is a terrorist organization,” said Esti Shohat Rozenfeld of Los Altos. “We know that not all Palestinians are part of this terrorist organization.”
There were lots of police in and around the plaza for the Friday event, including a police dog that was sniffing cars parked nearby.
More officers were also mobilized to the Israeli Consulate downtown, for a smaller demonstration in support of the Palestinian people.
“There’s masses of men, women and children, old people,” said Sayid, a Palestinian supporter. “They cut off all electricity, diesel and water. They have no way of surviving.”
The Israeli military dropped leaflets over Gaza city, warning residents to evacuate within 24 hours because of an incoming ground assault.
It’s an area of more than a million people. Nearly half the population of Gaza is under 18. So, many of those who’ve been rushed to packed hospitals after several days of Israeli military shelling of Gaza city this week, are children.
There was also a third demonstration in San Francisco’s federal building by Jewish residents who also support the people in Gaza.
Source: NBC Bay Area