Oak Park Village President Anan Abu-Taleb talked to people attending a rally opposing the invasion of Gaza. Abu-Taleb grew up in the Gaza strip and said he is heart sick over the destruction in his country. (David Pierini/staff photographer)

Holding signs that read “Stop bombing Gaza,” “Yes to life, no to collective punishment,” and “End the siege now,” about 80 Oak Parkers turned out for a demonstration last Wednesday in Scoville Park to protest Israeli bombing of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Fighting between Palestinian and Israelis began earlier this month, partly as a result of three Israeli teenagers who went missing in June and were later found murdered near the city of Hebron. A Palestinian teen was later kidnapped and murdered.

Demonstrations have been held in Chicago and throughout the United States, calling on both sides to end the bloodshed. Israel has moved troops into Gaza saying it is looking to root out the Hamas group which has been hurling missiles into Israel.

The demonstration and vigil held Wednesday was sponsored by the local Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine.

 The death toll had reached as high as 600 on Wednesday, and CJPIP noted in an email to supporters that “more than a thousand have been injured.” 

“These bombs do nothing but create devastation and decreased potential for a political solution to bring peace with justice for Palestinians and Israelis,” the group said in the email.

Protestors held signs and encouraged motorists to honk in support at the corner of Lake Street and Oak Park Avenue.

Protest organizer Caren Levy-Van Slyke called on Oak Park residents to write letters to Congress, the Secretary of State and the White House to demand an immediate ceasefire. 

“We want people to become more educated about the whole situation that’s going on,” she said.

“We’re getting a good response from people,” she said of motorists and passersby. “I think that means in the American people a yearning for the violence and the bombing of Gaza to end.”

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