About 50 protesters gathered Friday evening in downtown Evanston to urge U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) to condemn the killing of Palestinian protesters by Israeli troops on the Gaza-Israeli border.
With the latest demonstrations in Gaza on Friday an estimated 35 people have been killed in several weeks of protests.
Rabbi Michael Davis of Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago, an Evanston resident, led a mourning ritual honoring lives of the protesters.
“I lived in Israel for 20 years and served in its military for three of those years,” Davis said. “Human beings should not be gunned down as if they were dummies in a target practice. Palestinians have the right to demonstrate for their right to return to their ancestral villages, from which they were expelled in 1948.”
Evanston resident Lynn Pollack added, “It is so crucial for Rep. Schakowsky’s voice, as a Progressive champion, to be heard clearly condemning Israeli military snipers’ deliberate targeting of protesters in Gaza.”
Update 4/26/18: Rep. Schakosky’s office today released a statement in which she joined with nine other House Democrats to say the following regarding the violence in Gaza.
“We are deeply concerned by the violence and the tragic loss of life along the border of Gaza.
“As strong supporters of Israel and advocates for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we respect Israel’s right to defend itself.
“However, short of a threat to human life, we call on the Israeli Defense Forces to immediately stop using deadly force against unarmed protestors.
“Likewise, we respect the Palestinians who are advocating for change through peaceful means.
“However, we call on the Palestinian demonstrators to renounce the violence and inflammatory rhetoric expressed by Hamas.
“With demonstrations expected to last into May, we urge both Israelis and Palestinians to refrain from any actions that would further escalate tensions and cause further bloodshed.
“Both the Israelis and Palestinians have a right to a just, safe, and secure future, which can only be achieved through diplomacy—not military action.”