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Protests Across U.S. Support Palestinians In Latest Israel-Hamas Violence

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Protests in support of the Palestinians happened in cities across the U.S. yesterday. The current violence between Israel and Hamas is motivating a vocal response in this country. NPR's Connor Donevan reports from one protest that happened outside the Israeli embassy here in Washington.

CONNOR DONEVAN, BYLINE: The crowd of protesters filled the sidewalk and street outside the embassy's front gate. Many were draped in the black, white, green and red of the Palestinian flag. Their chants criticized the U.S.-Israel alliance.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting) Biden-Harris you will see, Palestine will be.

DONEVAN: Taher Herzallah has been an activist for over a decade, and he says this moment feels different. He said he sees more activism on social media and increasing support among U.S. politicians, at least in segments of the Democratic Party.

TAHER HERZALLAH: It feels amazing. I mean, it's inspiring. At the same time, this attack on Gaza, I do have to say, is one of the most vicious and violent I've witnessed in my life.

DONEVAN: Just that morning, he said, he learned his relatives in Gaza had lost their home in an airstrike. They were unharmed, unlike more than 200 Palestinians who've been killed so far in the conflict. Some of their names were read out over P.A. system.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: And now the names of the children - Dina Eyad Fatrish Harir (ph), Juur Alzemadin (ph).

DONEVAN: Herzallah says he wants the victims to be more than just a death toll.

HERZALLAH: Every single Palestinian life matters. Every single Palestinian soul that was taken matters. And that's why we wanted to make sure that those names were read. These are people who come from us and are of us.

DONEVAN: The protest also drew people wanting to show solidarity with Palestinians. Bethelehem Yirga is Ethiopian American and has taken part in the protests over the murder of George Floyd.

BETHELEHEM YIRGA: Black liberation is Palestinian liberation is liberation across the world. And so when we work together, we can end the oppressors oppressing us.

DONEVAN: Israel says its attacks are aimed at stopping the thousands of rockets coming from Gaza, and Israel argues that Hamas has deliberately located its operations in civilian areas. Connor Donevan, NPR News, Washington.

(SOUNDBITE OF YPPAH'S "SHOT INTO THE SUN") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.