Edmonton communities worry what comes after ceasefire in Gaza ends – Edmonton

Members of Edmonton’s Palestinian community gathered outside the Alberta legislature to bring attention to the conflict in Gaza.

Sunday’s rally was focused on Palestinian children, which the group says have suffered horribly since the conflict began.

“It’s hard to look away from the children in Gaza, said Mousa Qasqas, spokesperson for the local Palestinian community. “Even UN officials have called Gaza a graveyard for children right now.”

The group lined dozens of children’s shoes along the plaza in front of the Alberta legislature with a list of names of Palestinian children they’ve collected who they say have died in the conflict.

Edmonton’s Palestinian community held a rally raising awareness of the conflict in the Middle East.

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The rally was organized by local youth. The group plans to donate the children’s shoes to local charities.

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“What we ultimately need is a permanent cease-fire,” Qasqas said. “The same message that we’ve been giving from the beginning. We need to end the occupation, and end the siege and blockade of Gaza. Until we address those issues, temporary ceasefires are not going to do anything for us.”

Israel’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved a temporary cease-fire with Hamas that brought the first halt to fighting in a devastating six-week conflict and win freedom for dozens of hostages held captive in Gaza.

The deal calls for a four-day cease-fire, during which Israel will halt its military offensive in Gaza while Hamas frees “at least” 50 of the roughly 240 hostages it and other militants are holding, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said.

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“It’s a horrendous situation that Israelis didn’t want to see, didn’t ask for, they want to live in peace,” said Stacey Leavitt-Wright, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Edmonton.

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Leavitt-Wright just returned from a Canadian Leadership Solidarity Mission to Israel with CEOs from Jewish federations across the country. Five MPs joined the trip.

“You’re seeing a national and collective grief and trauma over the events that have occurred,” Leavitt-Wright said. “Everybody knows somebody first-hand who was taken hostage, who was murdered, who was raped, who was serving in the IDF (Israel Defence Force) and is now a fallen soldier. It’s a small country so you don’t have to go far to find those stories.”

Leavitt-Wright said the conflict has touched so many in the Edmonton community, but she’s not holding out hope the ceasefire will be extended, though talks are underway.

“I’m not hopeful that there’s going to be a prolonged ceasefire. My hope is that all the hostages get released immediately and that Hamas would even give itself up and surrender, and then this could all be over.”

“The community in Edmonton is feeling quite anxious. People are very concerned about what they are seeing as a rise in anti-Semitism about their sense of safety and security. I feel for the plight of the Palestinian civilians who are trapped in Gaza, I really think that its so important that we eradicate Hamas, they have created the situation as well, Palestinians deserve to live a beautiful and free life,” Leavitt-Wright added.

Meanwhile, Edmonton’s Palestinian community said it will continue to host rallies until there is a permanent ceasefire in place.

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“Please do your research and learn what’s going on and of course I want people to be aware of the atrocities happening in Palestine. That’s why we’re here every week,” Qasqas said.

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Originally Appeared Here

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