Houstonians rally, offer prayers over weekend amid Israel-Hamas war

The conflict has killed about 6,400 Palestinians and 300 Israelis since 2008, not including recent fatalities, U.N. reported.

Protestors marched from the Israeli consulate on May 18, 2021, in support of Palestinians. Israel and Hamas have engaged in deadly clashes for nine days.
Matt Harab / Houston Public Media
FILE: Protestors marched from the Israeli consulate on May 18, 2021, in support of Palestinians.

Thousands of Houstonians this weekend gathered to offer support and prayer amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas that has left hundreds dead and decimated some of the territories most populated cities.

It has been over a week since Gazan militant organization Hamas conducted unprecedented attacks on Israel, and Israel responded with air strike attacks on Gaza days later. Thousands are reported injured and more than 1,200 have been killed amid the conflict.

A Saturday pro-Palestinian rally in downtown Houston started just a day after former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal called for global protests to rally Palestinian support, prompting the U.S. government to increase security and safety measures.

More than 2,000 peaceful demonstrators gathered at the city hall building Saturday and two people were detained by the end of the event when fireworks were set off in the crowd, according to the Houston Police Department.

“HPD appreciates the cooperation of today’s organizers and remains committed to ensuring everyone can gather safely while exercising their freedom of speech rights,” the police department said in a statement on social media. “We will continue to pray for peace in the region and for the families who have lost loved ones.”

KHOU reported that the rally is one of many scheduled in the Houston area in the coming days.

Pro-Palestinian rallies have been held across the country in recent days, and hundreds attended those held in Austin and Dallas.

In Houston Sunday, a prayer vigil at Community of Faith Church was held to pray for lives lost during the war. Some elected officials attended the vigil to call for a peaceful end to the war that has already left hundreds dead.

“If you’re a Jew, we stand with the Jewish community,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said during the vigil yesterday. “If you are Muslim, we stand with the Muslim community.”

The violent conflict that goes back decades has left about 6,400 Palestinians and 300 Israelis dead since 2008, not including recent fatalities, according to the U.N.

In 2021, protestors gathered in Houston in support of Palestine amid an outbreak of violence during another Israeli-Palestinian conflict.