Protesters in Five Points call for peace in Gaza - - Columbia, South Carolina

Protesters in Five Points call for peace in Gaza


Palestinian supporters angered by the Gaza conflict rallied in Five Points Saturday, calling on those who passed by to remember the roughly 1,000 lives the region has lost over the course of the bloody 18 day struggle.

"Very many of them are civilians, children, women," said Hussam Cheblak.

Cheblak is a Palestinian immigrant who has friends still living in the midst of war.

"They're just trying to live in peace, go to schools, their children try to go to schools," Cheblak said.

The protest also focused on U.S. presence in the conflict, specifically American financial support for the Israeli military which protestors strongly condemned.

"When women and children and civilians are dying that's a concern," said human rights activist Arjamand Sami. "That should be a concern for everybody."

Yet for others the concern is also with Israeli losses.

"The bottom line is the rockets the military infrastructure for Hamas is smack dab in the middle of the population," said Barry Ables, president of the Columbia Jewish Federation.

Ables said his family in Israel has had to deal with multiple rocket attacks from the Palestinian government, prompting defensive airstrikes that Abel admits can take innocent lives.

"That collateral damage is horrible but there's no way around it when they're not given the option to get out of the way," Abels said. "If the leadership of Hamas loved their children and valued their people more than they hate Israel there would be peace...and that's what's going on here."

Through it all, the hope continues that talks can prevail before the violence and loss of life continues.

"It's both sides," Cheblak said. "But in the end Palestinian people want to live."

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