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From Boise To Sheikh Jarrah, Local Activists Mobilize With Palestinians

About 100 people gathered in Downtown Boise Tuesday night to protest Israel’s most recent bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

One of the demonstrators Tuesday night was Emad Adwalla, a retired engineer whose grandfather fled Jerusalem in 1948 after Israel was declared a State. He and others at the rally condemned what he sees as Israeli human rights abuses in Gaza.

“This is basically people feeling frustrated,” Adwalla said, “And feeling like they need to voice their voices so that the rest of the community can hear that there are some people amongst us that stand for what’s going on in Gaza.”

Adwalla also says he sees a shift in how people see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, today.

“I feel like the younger generation is feeling they have more access to information,” he said, “more access to the truth and they’re making their voices heard.”

One of those younger voices is 25-year-old Palestinian-American Aisha Kayed, who recently graduated from Boise State. She organized a teach-in, Sunday, in Boise, where they talked about the history of the conflict.

“My hope was to create a space to educate people about Palestine and what's going on and what they can do to help,” Kayed said. “It’s not politics anymore, not religion, it’s humanitarian and human rights.”

A small group of counter-protesters, some from the far-right group Idaho Liberty Dogs, came to Tuesday’s rally in support of Israel’s actions. They declined to be interviewed.

The Israeli military campaign is an escalation of a conflict that began with the eviction of Palestinians in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Many Idaho politicians have expressed support for Israel. Idaho Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo signed on to a letter urging President Joe Biden to stand with Israel. Risch, the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, did not return requests for comment.

Activist Nathaniel Hoffman helped organize the teach-in with Kayed. Hoffman also sees actions perpetrated by the Israeli government as out of line with the core of his Jewish faith.

“There's marches across the country led by Palestinians and supported by Jews and other Americans who can see the humanity of Palestinian people and oppose our government funding apartheid and funding occupation,” Hoffman said.

Activists opposed to Israel’s military action say they’re planning more Idaho demonstrations soon.

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