Update: Protest in support of Palestinians to take place in Hamilton on Sunday


Published October 13, 2023 at 7:55 pm

Palestinians Israel Palestinian territories Palestine Israel-Hamas war
Pro-Palestinian protesters gather in front of the Israeli embassy in London on Oct. 9 to condemn Israel's retaliatory attacks on Palestinians in Gaza. COURTESY OF PALESTINIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

Protesters supporting the Palestinians’ cause are gathering this Sunday at Hamilton City Hall to call for lifting the siege on Gaza. 

“No one of us can be free until everyone is free,” read the poster for the event that Sabreina Dahab, a Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board Ward 2 trustee, posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Thursday (Oct. 12).

The protest will be in the city hall forecourt at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 15.

Dahab, a master of arts student at McMaster University, didn’t respond to inthehammer’s request for an interview. She didn’t mention in her post if she would attend the protest.

The rally is part of demonstrations taking place in Hamilton and other cities across North America to support Palestinians in Gaza amid the Israeli-Hamas war. Israel launched retaliatory airstrikes in response to the terrorist attacks by Hamas that killed more than 1,300 people, mostly civilians, in southern Israel on Oct. 7. Israel also reportedly blocked all food, water and supplies to Gaza. Hamas is designated a terrorist group in some countries including Canada.

The Palestinian Youth Movement, an organizer of the rally, is holding what it calls a “Global Week of Action” from Oct. 14 to 23.

The group describes itself as a grassroots movement of young Palestinians in the Palestinian territories and in exile worldwide. 

It describes the actions as part of efforts to support “Palestinian political prisoners and their fight for freedom and dignity.”

The City of Hamilton said its security team is working with Hamilton police to ensure the safety of everyone at the pro-Palestinian rally.

“The City’s Corporate Security team is proactively working together with the Hamilton Police Service to support the safe and inclusive use (of) the City Hall property,” said Matthew Grant, director of communications and strategic initiatives, in a statement to inthehammer.com today. “The City Hall Forecourt is a public space, and the City respects people’s right to rally and demonstrate peacefully.”

The non-profit Hamilton Jewish Federation said police are advising people to avoid counterprotesting during the pro-Palestinian rally in Hamilton on Sunday.

“We are concerned and disturbed that people can celebrate the Hamas cause,” said Gustavo Rymberg, chief executive officer with the Hamilton Jewish Federation, in a statement to inthehammer.com today (Oct. 13) about the upcoming protest.

The Palestinian Youth Movement’s poster and website announcing the protest didn’t mention supporting Hamas. Inthehammer.com could not immediately reach a protest organizer for comments.

Though there was no specific threat to Jewish communities in Hamilton, the Hamilton Jewish Federation said it increased security measures and police presence around community buildings and events in response to the escalating Israeli-Hamas conflict.

In one of the comments to Ward 2 trustee Dahab’s post, a person with the X user name @KKorncob asked: “Why not rally for peace”

Dahab replied: “Is calling to lift the siege not calling for peace?”

“As long as you also call on Hamas to release all hostages as well.  Both sides are being barbaric.  We need a call for peace on all,” wrote a user named Rob Paris (@brknrun).

A user called @Squee22 said the rally isn’t calling for peace, saying “Cause the siege is to stop and arrest Hamas who is holding people hostage, raped and murdered civilians, and is continuing to launch rockets into Israel.. Call for them to surrender and there will be no siege, and no war. That would be a call for peace.”

The person accused Dahab of “defending” Hamas, considered a terrorist organization in countries such as Canada, the United States and Israel. 

“Calling for Hamas to surrender is calling for peace. Calling for Israel to stand down is lobbying for terrorists to make use of civilian populations as impregnable fortresses,” wrote James Allen (@JamesOfNorthEnd).

Editor’s note: The story has been updated to remove comments from an Israeli-Canadian activist who requested the retraction for personal reasons.

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