BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Bakersfield’s Pro-Palestinian supporters organized an “All Out for Palestine” demonstration to protest for Palestinian freedom and human rights Friday, nearly a week after Hamas conducted an early-morning attack on Israel.

As tensions between Jewish people and Palestinians intensify, many Palestinian protesters say they do not excuse the attack that happened to Israelis, but know what has unfolded is the product of what has been building up for years.

“Violence is never the answer, right? But at some point, you get slapped on one side and someone slaps you again on the other side at what point do you respond? Right? This is 75 years, for someone who says violence is not the answer how many years?” said protestor, Sam Abed. “If someone was to oppress you for the first year you might be patient, second year you might be patient but you’re talking about 75 years of massacres, genocide, stealing of land, displacement, we are all here from Palestine we got kicked out of our country imagine you’re not even able to go back to your own country, how does that work exactly?”

Islamic Shoura Council of Bakersfield member, Emad Meerza, shares the intensifying conflict in Israel further and says that people need to understand the plight of the people in Gaza.

“If they yell about, they’re wrong, if they throw rocks about it they’re wrong, and of course, if they cross the line into violence they’re clearly wrong, right? We’re all going to say that, but we forget how they’re living and I think that’s the sad truth here,” said Meerza.

Meerza says that there is a way to see this from both sides and hopes more do.

“You need to be fair; you need to be just, there is innocence on all sides, and you have to have measured response on all sides and feeling and empathy on all sides. This is ridiculous to think that we have Christians here, we have government officials here, we have historians here, and we have citizens here, that think you have no other option but to be with Israel or to be with the Jews and not with anybody else. How can you say that? Does that child not mean anything to you because their Arab? Really? Go see all the children being picked out of rubble in Gaza you better be moved if you’re a good human, you should feel something but if they look like animals to you the problem isn’t with them, it’s with you.”

Emad Meerza