The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian


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Evanston community gathers for two protests regarding Israel-Palestine conflict

Due to the volatile nature of this conflict and the discourse around it, the Evanstonian granted anonymity to all quoted persons.

Evanston’s Fountain Square saw two large gatherings on Nov. 4 and 5 regarding recent events in Israel and Palestine. Hundreds attended these congregations with friends and family.

On Oct. 7, the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack in southern Israel, kidnapping and killing civilians, which resulted in around 1,400 Israeli deaths and roughly 240 hostages taken. Following the attack, Israel responded with a declaration of war and a continuous barrage, blockade and shutdown on the densely populated Gaza Strip, resulting in over 11,000 total Palestinian deaths as of Nov. 10. These events sparked outrage and grief around the world, resulting in multiple protests and rallies supporting both entities.

Protestors at the pro-Palestine rally.

Evanston police closed the streets on Nov. 4 for a pro-Palestine rally, which was coordinated by local organizations including Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP), Chicago Area Peace Action and Northwestern Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP). 

“I liked the inclusion of different speakers from the different organizations,” an attendee from ETHS, A.Z said. 

The rally began with 10 speakers delivering speeches to a large audience in Fountain Square; they urged U.S. President Joe Biden to withdraw financial support from the Israeli military and called for a ceasefire and an end to Israeli occupation in Palestine. 

“I attended because I believe the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) response to the Hamas attack has been extremely disproportionate,” A.Z said. “The United States cannot sit by and allow actions that the [UN’s] director of human rights has called genocide to happen.”

Protesters held handmade signs reading “Where is America’s conscience?” and “No one is free until Palestine is free.” Many also wore keffiyehs, traditional Middle Eastern headdresses that have come to symbolize Palestinian resistance. Following the speeches, the crowd of a few hundred chanted and marched north toward Northwestern University President Michael Schill’s home, protesting a statement Schill sent out regarding his perspective on the crisis that some deemed insensitive.

Protestors standing in solidarity with the hostages taken by Hamas.

“Most of us were confused as to why we were at his house, but there was some mention of a statement he made that completely ignored what’s happening in Gaza,” said A.Z.

The following day, another gathering was held in Fountain Square: this time in support and solidarity with the hostages taken by Hamas. Organized by local Israeli and Jewish communities, it called for the U.S. government to return the hostages home. Those who attended felt comforted by the sense of oneness and community at the rally.

“They had pictures of the hostages, and on each photo was a pair of shoes and a red balloon,” said another ETHS student attendee, B.Y. “We all came together as a community and talked about what we’re experiencing, and how the situation has made us feel.” 

Each pair of shoes and balloon represented one Israeli hostage taken; there were a total of 240 centerpieces.

“I thought it would be important to [attend] to show my support,” said B.Y. “I feel like the more people who show up, the more of an impact it will have. It shows that there really are people who support [Israelis] and people who are suffering.” 

Hundreds of people attended both protests, an indication of high civic engagement. The rallies allowed citizens to voice their opinions, which many appreciated.

“Civic engagement, especially in decolonization efforts, have always helped a cause to some degree,” said A.Z. “As youth in the West, it’s our responsibility to use our privilege to call attention to controversial subjects.”

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About the Contributor
Nadira Bumi, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Nadira Bumi, and I’m a writer for the News section. I’m a junior, and although this is my first year in The Evanstonian, I am excited to contribute as a writer!  Outside of school, I play piano and the electric guitar. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with friends, cooking, reading, and crocheting.
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