NAPLES, Fla. — In the midst of weeks of conflict in the Middle East, residents of Southwest Florida are coming together to emphasize peace, understanding, and the search for common ground. Amidst the ongoing war, supporters of both Israel and Palestine are organizing gatherings, striving to make their voices heard in the hopes of finding a peaceful resolution.
A pro-Israel rally is scheduled to take place this Wednesday, November 1st, at the intersection of Pine Ridge Road and Airport-Pulling Road in Naples. The event is organized by the Southwest Florida Solidarity with Israel Coalition, which was formed just last week during a gathering with the Jewish Federation of Greater Naples. The rally is set to take place from 4:30 to 5:30 PM.
Marina Berkovich, a board member of the SWFL Solidarity with Israel Coalition, encouraged participation, saying, "If you don't want to get out of your car and park there, you can just drive by and wave your flags. American flags, Israeli flags are welcome. It's a non-political rally, but we want to show the solidarity of our local community with Israel."
Before the Naples event, those concerned about the situation in Palestine and Gaza are planning a gathering at the Public Library in downtown Fort Myers. Hasan Hamammi, originally from Palestine, is a strong advocate for peace and a ceasefire. He points out that his daughter still resides in Palestine and works as a university professor, making a ceasefire a matter of life and death for his family.
"The ceasefire that is really needed now, to save lives because out of the 7300 that have been killed, the estimate based on the names and the ages of the people that have been killed, one-third of them are children," says Hasan Hamammi, emphasizing the urgency of the situation.
Hamammi hopes that the demonstration in Fort Myers will not only draw attention to the ongoing war but also foster dialogue and understanding about the complex issues surrounding the conflict.
"The people who are planning to come out to Fort Myers are coming out for the same thing; they want people to ask questions, 'What's Happening?' - 'Why are they out there?'" he explained.
The call for a ceasefire is set for Sunday at 3 PM at the Downtown Fort Myers Library, with the hope that this gathering will encourage discussions and raise awareness about the situation in the Middle East.
As the war continues to take its toll, the common theme remains the hope for a peaceful resolution. Despite their differences, both sides are longing for a day when the conflict will be over.