About a half-dozen people criticized the Fresno City Council and Mayor Jerry Dyer on Thursday for their unabashed support of Israel in the bloody fight in Gaza.
The Palestinian supporters spoke during the public comment portion of Thursday’s city council meeting.
‘Recognize What Palestinians Are Going Through’
Hamas terrorists killed nearly 1,400 Israelis and Americans in an unprovoked attack on Oct. 7. Hamas is the ruling party of the Gaza Strip. Israel has responded with air and ground counter-offensives.
The speakers focused on the city’s Oct. 12 raising of Israel’s flag at Eaton Plaza. They additionally advocated for Palestinian civilians, saying large numbers of them — many women and children —are being killed or injured by Israeli aerial attacks.
“I’m asking number one, that we should also recognize what Palestinians are going through,” said one of the commenters. “If we’re going to raise the Israeli flag, we should also raise the Palestinian flag.”
‘I Settled Here and Thought I Belonged’
Said a man who identified himself as Faisal: “I came here and settled, I loved the community, and at one point I even thought I belonged,” he said. “Can you imagine that? Never have I felt more out of place than in the past three weeks. The mayor decided to raise the Israeli flag after Oc. 7. He gave a speech targeting all Palestinians in an ugly and angry way.”
Rise in Antisemitism and Islamophobia
There are reports of increasing antisemitism and Islamophobia across the United States — a fact that illustrates the tricky politics the city council and Dyer likely ignored with their support for Israel in the conflict without mentioning the horrific conditions Palestinians endured in Gaza before the conflict and since the Israeli counterattack.
Incidents against Jewish Americans are up about 388% since Hamas’ attack on Israel, the Anti-Defamation League says.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said this week that his agency has responded to an increase in threats against Jewish, Muslim, and Arab American communities in the U.S. since the Oct. 7 attack.
“Hate directed at Jewish students, communities, and institutions add to a preexisting increase in the level of antisemitism in the United States and around the world,” he said.
Meanwhile, Muslims in the U.S. are also on heightened alert, with reports of Islamophobia up 182%, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations. A 6-year-old Palestinian-American child in Illinois was stabbed to death on Oct. 14 in what police are investigating as an anti-Muslim hate crime.
Death Toll Climbs in Gaza
The Palestinian death toll in the Israel-Hamas war has reached 9,227, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza. In the occupied West Bank, more than 140 Palestinians have been killed in violence and Israeli raids.
More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, most of them in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that started the fighting. In addition, 242 hostages were taken from Israel into Gaza by Hamas, which is classified by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization.
The number of Americans killed in Hamas attack is 31, according to National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.