WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – As Israeli troops began a ground attack against Hamas in the Gaza Strip Thursday, U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey called on Palestine’s president to stand against the terrorist group at a pro-Israel rally in White Plains.
Federal, state, county and local politicians gathered on the steps of city hall to support Israel and its right to defend itself.
“A Palestinian unity government that includes the terrorist organization Hamas is simply not a viable partner for peace, nor is it an entity that will or should receive U.S. financial support,” Lowey said.
On the other hand, Lowey said, she would continue to support funding in Congress for Israel to build the Iron Dome, a mobile all-weather air defense system.
In the last 10 days Israel and Hamas have traded aerial strikes numbering in the thousands, which have killed more than 200 in Gaza and one in Israel.
While a few dozen rallied for Israel in front of White Plains City Hall on Thursday, a silent few stood at the foot of the steps with signs reading, “Stop the War on Palestine" and “Free Palestine.”
“As a resident of Westchester I really want the other side to be heard today,” said Guisela Marroquin.
Mamaroneck resident Luis Quiros held a sign that read "Stop Illegal Settlements."
"Ultimately there is no right and wrong, there’s only wrong when it involves the killing of innocent people,” he said.
Members of WESPAC, a progressive social justice organization in White Plains, attended the rally, saying they want the violence to end.
"It's horrifying to know that someone would want to support more killings," said WESPAC member Tarin G. who chose not to give her last name.
"Especially today when it's been called that a full ground operation is underway in Gaza and thousands more innocent children and women will die."
After the rally, tensions boiled over when a single woman began pacing the city hall steps while yelling her opposition to Israel and its attacks on Gaza. Several Israel supporters got in heated exchanges with the woman before she left.
After a five-hour cease fire Thursday allowed humanitarian aide to reach Gaza, the violence resumed and has escalated to a ground attack on Hamas. Lowey noted Israel’s earlier attempts to evacuate people from Gaza before it launched strikes Tuesday.
“Hamas puts Palestinians in danger by instructing them to stay put in response to Israeli leaflets urging relocation,” she said.