CHICAGO (WLS) — After a week of heartbreak and raw emotion, there were pleas for peace in Chicago and the suburbs on Saturday, but also an acknowledgement that the fighting thousands of miles of miles away will likely claim more innocent lives.
Demonstrators in downtown Evanston appealed for the return of the more than 100 hostages taken during the Hamas invasion of Israel.
“Please, whoever, wherever you are, let us bring them home!” said Revi Frydman, a Wilmette resident.
Among them is Chicago native Hersh Goldberg-Polin and Evanston mother and daughter Judith and Natalie Raanan.
“Anybody who cannot say that what happened this week was evil, they have no moral credibility to speak on any issue,” said Rabbi Ari Hart with the Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob.
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Maayan Hilel of Wilmette is from southern Israel, and lost friends last weekend at the hands of Hamas.
“I hope not to fall to despair and to use our heart feelings to do something to make the situation a little bit better, and I just hope it won’t get any worse,” Hilel said.
At that gathering, there were wishes for peace for Israelis and Palestinians and a call for the end of the killing of all civilians.
Earlier, in Chicago, people raised their voices in support of the Palestinian people.
“The Palestinian community is a community of love. The Palestinian community is a community of peace,” said Tareq Musleh.
Chicago police estimated the crowd to be around 2,000 people or more. At times, the gathering certainly felt larger than that.
Demonstrators from the Chicago area and beyond marched up Michigan Avenue on Saturday afternoon. A sea of people took their message to the streets.
Those protesters urged the public to take a broader look at Israel-Palestine relations and the decades of conflict preceding this past week. They say Israel must be held to account for killing civilians as it retaliates against Hamas’ attacks.
“Entire families have been wiped out. Dozens of bodies under the rubble, turning Gaza from an open-air prison to an open-air morgue,” said Tarek Khalil with American Muslims for Palestine.
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“They have the nerve to call the murderer of our children justified collateral damage,” said Nick Sous with the U.S. Palestinian Community Network.
Those demonstrators held a rally before the march at Michigan and Ida B. Wells, calling for an end to U.S. support for Israel and asking the international community for help in deescalating what is now an all-out war.
They blasted the Chicago City Council for approving a resolution showing solidarity with Israel.
“Fifty people in a council are not more powerful than the so many more of us!” said Nick Sous with the U.S. Palestianian Community Network.
Other gatherings are planned in support of Israel, including one in Evanston on Saturday evening, calling for the return of hostages being are being held by Hamas.