The conflict between Israel and Hamas has had a far-reaching impact, with protests erupting in various nations, including Vancouver, British Columbia. On Friday, close to 1,000 pro-Palestine and pro-Hamas protesters took to the streets of Vancouver’s Commercial Drive for an “All Out for Palestine” demonstration. The protest was organized by several Palestinian organizations, including the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, a Canadian non-profit that was recently designated as a terrorist organization by the Israeli Ministry of Defense.
The protesters gathered at the Commercial-Broadway Skytrain station before embarking on a march down Commercial Drive during rush hour traffic. Chants condemning Israel’s actions in response to the Hamas terror attack, which included rape, kidnapping, and the mass killing of over 1,300 Israelis, filled the air as the crowd called for the liberation of Palestine.
The demonstration was held in conjunction with Hamas founding member Khaled Mashal’s call for a global “Day of Rage.” Concerns were raised within Vancouver’s Jewish community, and community leaders advised caution and urged community members to avoid the Friday the 13th protest. Some families chose to keep their children home from Jewish schools, and the Vancouver Police Department maintained a presence outside of Jewish community centres and synagogues to ensure the safety of the community.
During a previous solidarity with Israel protest, a Jewish woman expressed her disbelief at the support for Hamas in a country like Canada. She stated, “These people that are coming and supporting Gaza or supporting Hamas, they’re basically cheering for those crazy violent acts that happened in Israel. It’s just not the right time or the right place to support Hamas.”
While it is unclear whether the Friday protest was directly linked to Mashal’s call for a global day of rage, concerns were raised about the lack of condemnation from rally speakers regarding the Hamas attack and Mashal’s plans for that day. Rebel News reached out to the Canada Palestine Association, one of the organizations involved in organizing the pro-Palestine protest, for comment but did not receive a response.
Amidst the protests, there were contrasting voices within the crowd. One protester emphasized that they were not associated with Hamas and were simply there to give voice to the people unable to speak out against the conflict. In contrast, at a pro-Palestine rally in Mississauga, Ontario, another participant defended Hamas and claimed that every action they had taken was justified.
The situation on the ground in Israel continues to escalate, with Israel’s military issuing an evacuation order for civilians in north Gaza to relocate to the south before the anticipated ground offensive. However, Hamas has reportedly warned civilians to stay put and has even blocked road access to the south. The conflict has resulted in the deaths of over 2,000 people in Gaza, including Hamas commanders involved in the terror attack. Additionally, 126 Israeli hostages, including women, children, the elderly, and disabled individuals, are currently being held captive by Hamas.
For more information on the situation in Israel, Rebel News reporter Avi Yemini is providing on-the-ground coverage from the front lines, which can be found at TheTruthAboutTheWar.com.
As tensions continue to rise in the Middle East, the effects are being felt around the world, and the conflict between Israel and Hamas has particularly intensified in Vancouver. The protests there reflect the deep-seated divisions and passionate beliefs surrounding the issue. The situation remains tense, and the international community watches with growing concern as the conflict unfolds.