© 2024 WNIJ and WNIU
Northern Public Radio
801 N 1st St.
DeKalb, IL 60115
Northern Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Return to Hola

Rockford march joins worldwide call for ceasefire in Israel-Hamas War

Leer en español

Over the weekend, Rockford residents took part in a global day of action calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

Dayan Abuihmoud joined the march with her sisters. She said the images of the suffering have been difficult to see.

According to reports, last week over 100 people were killed when Israeli troops opened fire on desperate civilians trying to reach a food aid truck.

“We just want an end to it,” Abuihmoud said. “We want an end to the genocide; we want an end to the occupation.”

She said the conflict is not just a concern for Palestinians, but for Americans as well.

“Well, this is your tax dollars,” she said. “Your tax dollars that instead of helping the homeless, instead of helping education here instead of helping people get their necessities on the table, they're going to a genocidal state and they are killing my people.”

17-year-old high school senior Hamza echoed similar sentiments.

“Our taxpayer money is funding this genocide,” he said, “and we have to tell people that we can't let this go on, that we need a ceasefire.”

The US provides Israel with 3.8 billion dollars in military aid annually.

Elizabeth Lindquist is a Roscoe Township Trustee and hopes the march brings awareness of the family ties many in the community have to Palestine, and the number of people who care about the issue “and really are upset about our country's involvement and funding this genocide.”

“And,” she added, “we really know for a fact that if we want it -- if the United States decided that they were going to put a stop to this -- it would stop because Israel needs us.”

Lindquist wasn’t always one to take action on the matter, even when folks spoke to her about the plight of Palestinians.

“And I really feel like I pretty much willfully ignored the things that I heard, and intentionally didn't want to learn about it,” she said, “because it was just too uncomfortable.”

Boys walked in twos and threes within view of their parents throughout the march.

12-year-old Omar said he decided to take part in the march “so we can stop the genocide.”

When WNIJ asked what it’s been like to see what’s happening in Palestine, he said, “It's been really sad seeing this for -- since October.”

Muhammad,11, carries a sign that reads “Genocide Children.”

When he learned about the children killed in the conflict, he said, “It makes me very frustrated that the US taxes are also paying for the bombs that are killing children of Palestine.”

Over the weekend the US airdropped more than 38,000 meals into Gaza.

Dr. Rami Abumasmah is critical of the U.S. response.

“If we care about the hungry people in the North in Gaza, we should allow enough aid to get in, not like just a few [meals] that's dropped from the air for 700,000 starved individuals,” Abumasmah said. “They’re children, they’re pregnant women, infants.”

Folks carried handmade signs and waved Palestinian flags, but in the mix were some carrying the red, white and blue -- like Rad Salam.

“I'm a US citizen,” he said, “and I'm insisting that my tax money cannot go to support or finance any genocide.”

As calls for a ceasefire increase in cities around the globe, including Rockford, and DeKalb, NIU Sociology Professor Abu Bakarr Bah said for circumstances to change in Palestine, the U.S. would need to fundamentally shift its position on Israel.

The U.S has been a longstanding financial supporter of Israel. Since 1948, the U.S. has provided over $130 billion in military aid.

Prof. Bah said the Israel government may not feel pressured by the Biden Administration to a ceasefire.

“One thing Israelis know about U.S. politics is that it changes every four years,” Bah said. “So, they just have to wait out Biden if they want.”

He said the Israeli government may find that another administration may be more favorable to their stance.

The war began in October when Hamas, a Palestinian militant group, attacked Israel, killing over a 1,000 Israelis and taking over 200 hostages. Reports say since then the number of Palestinian civilians killed in the war has surpassed 30,000, in which women and children make up the majority.

In addition, Human Rights Watch says nearly two million people have been displaced from their homes.

Leer en español

A Chicago native, Maria earned a Master's Degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield . Maria is a 2022-2023 corps member for Report for America. RFA is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities. It is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, a nonprofit journalism organization. Un residente nativo de Chicago, Maria se graduó de University of Illinois Springfield con una licenciatura superior en periodismo de gobierno.
Related Stories