Bay Area Palestinians, indigenous groups call for full cease-fire amidst 4-day humanitarian pause

Saturday, November 25, 2023
Israel-Hamas war: Bay Area Palestinians call for full cease-fire
The protests come as a brief pause to the violence in Gaza takes effect while hostages are exchanged.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) -- As the four-day humanitarian pause takes hold in Gaza, many Bay Area Palestinians are focused on their families who live there.

"For the first time in weeks, (they are) able to walk freely and not fear what might come down from the sky," says Rami Sultan. "This is a really big deal. This is a really big deal for them to breathe after weeks of under this psychological pressure."

It's a big deal, but may not be big enough says Sultan. He has more than 500 relatives who evacuated to southern Gaza at the start of the war. Many who are sheltering in schools.

"A four day cease-fire allows them to breathe, to be honest. To know that they can go out safely, either to grab aid, to grab whatever water they can find. And no have the constant threat of immediately being killed," says Sultan.

RELATED: 24 hostages released from Gaza, 39 Palestinian prisoners swapped after temporary ceasefire deal


Friday afternoon, several hundred people took part in an indigenous peoples march from Berkeley to Emeryville. In a show of solidarity, they chanted "End the Occupation!" and "Free, free Palestine!" There were also demands for a permanent cease-fire in Gaza.

"Our relatives in (Palestine) are suffering a genocide right now. They are being massacred before our eyes. And the same thing happened here," says Victoria Montano, one of the march organizers.

"We know that Israel is using this moment to restock its weapons. After four days what will happen? More war. More continuation of genocide," says Nadia Tannous, an Oakland resident who spoke at the rally.

Suzanne Ali, a community organizer who lives in San Francisco, says her family in Gaza are living with very little food and water. No fuel to cook. No working showers and toilets. And no electricity.

"They describe to us, during the bombings, that they have a feeling that they are already going to die. They accept that they are going to die from the bombardment because it is just so intense," says Ali.

MORE: Who are the hostages released on Friday?

Ali says the pause in fighting will help. But she has little faith it will last the four full days. And, she is concerned with the worsening condition in the West Bank.

"And, of course, more broadly, Palestine in its entirety is still under occupation. So on a daily basis, Palestinians continue to face violence," she explains.

Many are also calling for a humanitarian corridor to help Gazans as winter quickly approaches.

Santa Clara

As the four-day cease-fire is underway in Gaza, pro-Palestinian protesters were out in force around the Bay Area Friday.

Pro-Palestinian protesters were also at Westfield Valley Fair Mall in Santa Clara during a busy Black Friday demanding a cease-fire in Gaza.

This protest comes as a brief pause to the violence in Gaza takes effect while hostages are exchanged.

Video shows protesters inside the mall chanting, "While you're shopping, bombs are dropping."

"I felt like we really made an impact," San Jose resident Arshia Hussain said. "People stopped and you know they wanted to see what was going on."

Hussain captured video while inside the mall of the protest. She says she was there to keep calls for a cease-fire in the spotlight.

"I noticed a few stores closed their doors maybe just out of precaution, but you know nothing happened," Hussain said.

San Francisco

At San Francisco's Union Square, the same message rang out.

"Today we came out on Black Friday to demand that our elected official echo the growing and popular calls for a permanent cease-fire," said Wassim Hage from the Outreach Coordinator Arab Resource and Organizing Center.

MORE: Bay Area families wait to see if their loved ones are among hostages released by Hamas

A four-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas has begun and families are waiting to see if their loved ones will be among 50 hostages released.

The calls were coming from many who have already lost loved ones.

"My sister-in-law she just lost her brother-in-law and niece and nephew to a bombing and they live in Gaza," one protester said.

Friday's event was organized by youth protesters who estimate a thousand people were piled into Union Square at its height.

"It was the youth who led on their days off to keep this protest movement going," Hage said.

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