Hamas blames Israel for deadly hospital blast, while Israel says misfired rocket from Palestinian Islamic Jihad is to blame
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Pro-Palestinian protests in Chicago Wednesday called for an immediate ceasefire and stopping of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.
Hundreds of people took to the streets in downtown Chicago after a rally in Federal Plaza, the same day militant group Hezbollah called for a worldwide day of rage in the wake of an explosion at a Gaza hospital that reportedly left hundreds dead. They marched to the Israeli Consulate on Madison where they stopped to chant and set off fireworks.
U.S. officials said they have independently corroborated that the tragedy was a result of a misfired missile launched by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and no the Israeli Defense Forces.
The protests ramped up not just in Chicago but around the world.
Earlier, dozens of mostly Palestinian students marched through the campus of St. Xavier University in the city's Mt. Greenwood neighborhood to call for an end to the Israeli army's bombing of Gaza.
"This is not a matter of religion. This is not a matter of where you are from or who you are. This is a humanitarian crisis everyone should care about," said Jena, a student who only gave her first name.
"We are not asking for the death of people. We are asking to have the freedom to be our own people," said student Majid Matariyeh.
A world away in Lebanon, police had to use tear gas as hundreds converged upon the American embassy in Beirut to protest the United States government's support of Israel. In Washington D.C., a group of Jewish activists gathered at the U.S. Capitol to call for an immediate ceasefire in the region. Those calls were echoed by elected officials in Chicago City Hall.
"We're calling for a cease fire. Yes! Catch the people that did the horrific things, but it shouldn't be at the expense of innocent people on either side. And right now on both sides, innocent lives are being lost," said 17th Ward Alderman David Moore.
"I think a ceasefire is possible only after we achieve the goal of this operation. And that is to eradicate the leadership of Hamas in the Gaza Strip which is responsible for the killing of more than 1,400 Israelis last week. And I think we have the full support of President Biden and the international community to continue with this operation," said Yiham Cohen, Consul General of Israel to the Midwest.
Cohen said there has been an increase in reported antisemitic hate incidents in the U.S.
"Many Jews or non-Jews who are pro-Israeli are now afraid to express publicly their pro-Israeli identity on college campuses or just on the streets," he said.
And he called on those denouncing Israel to instead united with Israel against Hamas.
"I think we should join forces to make sure that we release the Gaza Strip from the brutal control of the Hamas terrorist organization. And that is the only way to make sure both Gazans and Israelis have a better future together," said Cohen.