Tampa Bay residents rally for peace in Middle East

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – It has been a brutal weekend for the people in Gaza as Israel continues attacks on the militant group, Hamas.

Hundreds of people gathered Sunday night in Curtis Hixon Park, hoping and praying their voices would be heard. What might surprise you is many on both sides of the issue want the same thing: peace.

Tampa residents chanted, marched, held signs and prayed the violence seemingly a world away will stop.

“They are killing many children, innocent children in Gaza and getting bombed so we just came out here to create some awareness so everyone can know what’s going on,” said Mahmoud Ali.

The demonstrators in Downtown Tampa also prayed for peace.

“We want to make a difference. We want to change things. We want to make our lives all peaceful,” said demonstrator, Nader.

So does Chabad CHAI of South Tampa Rabbi Mendy Dubrowski.

“I believe that the residents, the citizens of Israel want to see peace there as well. Both Jewish citizens of Israel and Arab citizens of Israel,” Dubrowski said.

He believes peace is what most Israeli and Palestinian people want, but it may not be what the leaders want.

“I think the unfortunate reality is that for many people today in a position of power, peace just isn’t that attractive. I think it’s a challenge we face in the Middle East and quite frankly a challenge we face in the United States as well,” he said.

So perhaps a peaceful protest prompts a dialogue. People here would much rather see a conversation instead of more violence, killing and chaos.

“It breaks my heart, of course. I see the innocent children being killed every day and it hurts because I have three kids of my own and to know that they have no choice of safety,” said Hedaya Mustafa.

While the protest remained peaceful, it did cause some issues for drivers in and around Downtown Tampa as police did close several streets to keep everyone safe.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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