Two rallies in Houston this weekend related to Israel-Hamas conflict

Palestinian organizations will have a protest at Houston City Hall on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Jewish and Israeli communities will be organizing their rally at City Hall on Sunday at 4 p.m.

Photo outside of Houston City Hall
Daisy Espinoza / Houston Public Media

There are two local rallies in Houston this weekend amid the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The first protest will be hosted by local Palestinian organizations at Houston City Hall on Saturday at 2 p.m. The second rally will be hosted by Houston's Jewish and Israeli communities at city hall on Sunday at 4 p.m.

Earlier this month, Hamas, a militant group based in Gaza, launched an attack on Israel, killing thousands of people and taking hundreds of others hostage. Israel attacked Gaza in retaliation, killing thousands of Palestinians and leaving many relying on humanitarian aid for food and water.

According to data compiled by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, approximately 1,300 Israelis and more than 2,800 Palestinians have been killed since October 7.

Fouad Salah is an activist with Houston's Palestinian Youth Movement. He said the ongoing conflict is not recent.

"It is an attack that did not start seven days ago, but that has been continuing for 16 years. Palestinians deserve to feel safe knowing that their children will not be murdered on their way to school," he said.

In Dallas, members of the Palestinian Youth Movement also protested outside the Dallas Morning News building. Salah said violence in the United States has been fueled by Western media.

"[The media] continues to propagate narratives of Palestinians, and Arabs, and Muslims, which portray us as violent, which portray us as hateful, and which mischaracterize the justice of our movement," he said.

Salah said the protest on Saturday will demand an "immediate end to the siege on Gaza".

Ramit Plushnick-Masti has ties to the Jewish community and is one of the organizers of the rally on Sunday. She said the conflict is nuanced.

"But I would hope that one thing that we can all agree on is that taking innocent women, children, and elderly people from their homes in brutal acts of violence is not acceptable," she said.

Plushnick-Masti said the rally is to "call for an end to all terrorism" and to show support for Israel.

"We want a message of peaceful demonstration, to bring back our people, to bring them home peacefully, and to really stop this," she said. "There's a lot of pain right now."

Houston's FBI chapter said they continue to monitor for potential security threats related to the conflict. Congregations are on alert but are being told to live their lives normally.