Peace Vigil for Gaza Held at State Capitol

Monday, January 5th 2009, 7:33 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Nearly 200 Islamic Americans in Oklahoma spoke their minds about the Gaza conflict Monday. They held a Peace Vigil for Gaza in the afternoon.

No matter what side Oklahomans are on, it seems many want the same thing, peace.

Women, men, young and old all gathered at the Capitol calling for an end to the violence.

A majority of the people attending the vigil are Muslim Oklahomans. One even carries a doll symbolizing civilians killed in the conflict.

"I want to stop murder there of small children, and adults, and everybody there," one participant said.

The protestors demand a cease-fire and ask the U.S. to step in.

"We ask the U.S. Government to end its failed one sided foreign policy in the Middle East and take a leading neutral role in bringing the Israelis and Palestinians to a just and lasting peace," Razi Hasmi with the Council on American-Islamic Relations said.

Peace is exactly what Erielle Reshef, an Oklahoman living in Israel wants as well.

"Clearly Palestinians are not the enemy Israelis are seeking peace here," Reshef said.

Reshef is in graduate school in Tel Aviv, 45 miles away from Gaza. She says there's a somber feeling in the air.

"Daily reality of Israelis is such that they are living in fear and running to bomb shelters with 15 second notice based on Hamas action," Reshef said.

Reshef is hopeful the fighting will end soon.

"I know that the Israeli Government has the utmost respect for Palestinian life and that the Palestinian public is not the enemy here, it is clearly the Hamas militants and terrorists," Reshef said.

Many of the protestors say there must be a solution quickly.

Many of the protestors are concerned about humanitarian aid getting to Palestinians in Gaza. They say many don't have food, medicine or electricity.

The protestors urge Oklahomans to contact lawmakers and express their opinions about the conflict.