Middle East protest in South Bend


The situation in Israel is getting more tense as Israeli ground forces invaded the Gaza Strip on Thursday.

18,000 Israeli reserve soldiers have also been called up to active duty amid the latest escalation in the 10-day military campaign against Hamas.

The unrest is hitting close to home for people in our area.

More than 100 people protested in downtown South Bend pleading for an end to Israeli military action.

We also spoke to someone who identifies with the Israeli side of this conflict.

The protesters say the Palestinian people are being murdered but a teenager who has spent time in Israel says the Israelis are just defending themselves.

Protesters all stood together to chant things like free free Palestine.

The main goal of the protest was to raise awareness locally about what's happening thousands of miles away.

Protesters say Palestinian people are dying on a daily basis at the hands of Israeli forces.

Jumana Elammon says, "It's disgusting what's going on. The only voice that they have is us."{>}

She's a student at IUSB but her parents are originally from Palestine.

She still has family that lives over there.

She says, "You wake up in the middle of the night frightened. There's nothing but bombs surrounding you that's all you hear. So, when we call and we're like is everything okay everyday is a question. Is our family alive?"

"They just live on a daily basis in fear," described protester Amal Amouri. "They go days without water, because it has been shut off or it's been bombed - or without food."

Dana Brown is going to be a senior in high school.

She's from our area but recently got back from a three week trip to Israel.

While she was there she says missiles and rockets were being fired so she had to spend some of her trip in a bomb shelter.

She wants people to know that Palestine isn't the only one being attacked.

Brown says, "Israel protects their civilians with rockets and hamas protects their rockets with civilians."{>}

She wishes there could be peace but says it won't happen overnight.

In the meantime she feels that Israel's ground invasion is justified.

Brown adds, "What would America do? if over 1,800 rockets were fired into America within 10 days and 11,000 rockets since 2005."

The pro Palestinian protesters from our area urge everyone to contact their local politicians to voice their concerns about the issue in Gaza.

They are also asking for your prayers.

Brown hopes that baby steps will lead to civil conversations between both sides ... And that they can then come to peaceful terms.