What you need to know
- More than 4,600 people have been killed in Gaza, and more than 1,400 have been killed in Israel. At least 222 people were taken hostage from Israel.
- Over 1 million Palestinians have fled their homes, as Israel prepares for an expected ground invasion of Gaza.
- President Biden and Philly-area leaders have largely stood behind Israel.
- Here’s why Hamas and Israel reached this moment now — and what comes next.
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside of Sen. John Fetterman’s Philadelphia office Thursday, criticizing his pledged support for Israel amid its ongoing war with Hamas. Organizers say similar protests are scheduled to take place at the senator’s other offices throughout Pennsylvania.
Following Hamas’ attack on Israel on Oct. 7, the Democrat stated he would “support any necessary military, intelligence, and humanitarian aid to Israel.”
Since then, Israel has conducted hundreds of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. The region has been under siege by the Israeli military, who cut off electricity and barred the entry of fuel, food, water, medicine, and more into the territory. UN Human Rights Chief Volker Türk said the “sieges” were illegal under international law.
Protesters marched from the Fox 29 studio on Market Street to the United States Custom House where Fetterman’s Philadelphia office is located.
Anissa Weinraub was one of hundreds protesting Fetterman’s stance and U.S. involvement with the conflict, saying a ceasefire needs to happen now.
“We need to restore the most basic level of humanitarian aid so that we can alleviate the suffering and prevent thousands more deaths,” Weinraub said. “That is within our ability and that could happen today… Fetterman’s not listening, and so we had to come and put our bodies on the line to tell him that he needs to listen.”
Hila Kohen with Jewish Voice For Peace demanded Fetterman support a ceasefire immediately.
“Fetterman, why won’t you listen to your Palestinian constituents whose families are being slaughtered in our name with your money and with your approval? For shame,” Kohen said.
WHYY News reached out to Fetterman’s office for comment Thursday afternoon and did not hear back.
The conflict has resulted in a series of demonstrations throughout the Delaware Valley in recent weeks.
A survivor of the deadly Hamas attack on an Israeli music festival that left at least 260 people dead addressed the Jewish Priorities Conference in Philadelphia Sunday. Last Monday, The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia held a March For Israel to show solidarity with Israeli victims of Hamas’ attacks and the more than 200 hostages Hamas continues to hold captive.
Hundreds of Philadelphia high school students marched around City Hall last Friday in support of Palestinians calling for a ceasefire. A day before, City Council President Darrell Clarke suspended public comment on a resolution condemning Hamas as tensions rose within council chambers.
On Oct. 12, more than 160 people gathered outside of WHYY’s studio on Independence Mall to protest the news coverage of Palestinian people in the escalated conflict between Israel and Hamas. About 5,000 people marched from City Hall to Independence Hall Oct. 20 to show solidarity with the Israeli victims of the Hamas attacks.
The Associated Press reports more than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel since the war began, mostly civilians killed in the initial Hamas assault. The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza says over 4,300 Palestinians have been killed.
According to the BBC, 31 Americans have been killed in the attacks. New Jersey native Laor Abramov was among those who perished, according to our news partner 6ABC.
Multiple Delaware Valley leaders voiced their support for Israel following the attack.
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