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Pro-Palestine supporters march through Harrisburg calling for ceasefire

Demonstrators march down State Street as hundreds gathered at the state capitol building and marched to the governor's residence in Harrisburg on Dec. 10, 2023 calling for a permanent cease fire in the war between Israel and Palestine. Jeremy Long - WITF
Jeremy Long - WITF
Demonstrators march down State Street as hundreds gathered at the state capitol building and marched to the governor's residence in Harrisburg on Dec. 10, 2023 calling for a permanent cease fire in the war between Israel and Palestine. Jeremy Long - WITF

Chants of “free Palestine,” “from the river to the sea” and “long live the intifada” rang through the streets of Harrisburg Sunday as hundreds of Pro-Palestine supporters gathered on the steps of the state Capitol before marching to the governor’s residence.

Their goal was clear: a permanent ceasefire in Palestine.

Alshurafa said more than 21 members of his family have been killed since the Oct. 7 attacks.

According to him, the killings are not a solution but only seek to radicalize members from both Israel and Palestine further.

Several groups, such as the Philadelphia Palestine Coalition, bused in demonstrators from across the state.

Nada Abuasi is a member of the group. She said they have faced opposition from Zionists and Shapiro.

“We’re consistently painted as either anti-semitic or anti-life or whatever other excuse that they come up with,” she said.

After the one-and-a-half-mile march in pouring rain, the protest stopped outside the governor’s residence, which was set to be open for an annual holiday open house, according to event goer Susan Peiffer.

Marchers chanted “Josh Shapiro you can’t hide, you signed off on genocide.”

Shapiro was in Philadelphia at a rally against antisemitism.

Outside the residence, Palestinian activist Susan Abdulhawa was critical of the notion that the term “intifada” was antisemitic.

“We all know the word means uprising,” Abdulhawa said. “It is a noble word it means to speak truth to power.”

For others, however, “intifada” refers to a series of Palestinian uprisings against Israel over its occupation. The second intifada, which lasted from 2000 to 2005, resulted in the deaths of around 1,000 Israelis and 3,200 Palestinians.

Joining the protestors were members of Jewish Voice for Peace with Rabbi Lonnie Kleinman speaking to the crowd.

Kleinman said Judaism is too often conflated with Zionism.

“I really want the Jewish world, the Jewish community to kind of focus on fighting anti-Semitism, which is not anti-Zionism,” she said.

Kleinman said she was fired from a job in a Jewish communal role for speaking against Zionism.

Pastor Chad Collins of Valley View Church in Pittsburgh is a member of Friends of Sabeel and the Pittsburgh Palestine Coalition.

“When we are true to our faiths, we care about every person,” he said. “Moses, Abraham, Jesus, Muhammad, they teach us and others, our mothers in faith teach us this, our father’s faith, every person we see, we still love, love as you love yourself.”

Upon returning to the Capitol, Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour closed out the event calling on protestors and supporters of Palestine to not work Monday as part of the global strike for Palestine.