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Bay County residents hold peaceful protest in support of Palestinian people

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Protestors took to the streets on Thursday to show their support for the Palestinian people as a result of the recent violence in the West Bank and Gaza.

Participants gathered at the Highway 77 and 23rd Street intersection to have their voices heard.

“Our community is pretty solid,” said protest co-organizer, Hadeel Daoud.

Daoud helped organize Thursday’s protest. She is of Palestinian descent and said the recent conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians isn’t a political issue — it’s a humanitarian crisis.

“People are now starting to realize like ‘Oh my God like this is happening right under our noses we need to do something about it,’” Daoud said.

Daoud said while Thursday’s cease-fire was a step in the right direction, she said she feels there needs to be more change.

“And the number one thing in my opinion, is like the USA needs to stop all military aid to Israel,” Daoud said.

She said she is not opposed to Israelis living peacefully, but adds that she feels it shouldn’t come at the expense of Palestinian lives.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re Arab, if you’re Muslim, if you’re Christian, if you’re Jewish whatever you are, this is a humanitarian crisis and something needs to be done,” Daoud said.

Aiman Arafat was also at Thursday’s protest. He is from Gaza and said it’s been hard to see the events from the last few weeks unfold.

“For me, it’s a daily, daily, daily suffering that I go through,” Arafat said.

He said he hopes to see real leadership from the Biden administration.

“America can do it,” Arafat said. “If we have the will and the desire, we could really create peace in that area.”

Peace — that’s what Arafat said he truly wants for this situation.

“I want to be able to go visit my family without being harassed,” Arafat said. “I want to be able to go anytime I want to. The siege on Gaza, I want it to be lifted.”

Organizers said they were happy with the turnout of Thursday’s protest and said this may not be the last time the community sees them doing so.

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