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Bay Space Israelis and Palestinians watch creating struggle with grief, worry for future

For seven years, Dan Cohen helmed his Oakland-based media relations firm from his new house simply exterior Tel Aviv — an across-the-world transfer supposed to carry his spouse and three kids nearer to their Jewish roots. And for seven years, life carried on within the heat and security he anticipated.

Then got here Saturday’s air raid sirens and the repeated dashes to a close-by bomb shelter, as a large Hamas assault killed lots of of Israelis and left a couple of hundred apparently held hostage.

“In a small nation, all people is aware of someone,” Cohen stated. “This may form a technology of Israelis.”

Days after the bloodiest battle in Israel in many years and an enormous navy response left lots of of individuals lifeless and hundreds extra injured in each Israel and Gaza some who stay within the Bay Space however depend ties to the Center East reeled in shock, horror and grief. And whereas their causes, political allegiances and underlying beliefs remained radically completely different, each Israelis and Palestinians with roots in Northern California reeled within the horror of a bloody state of affairs that appeared more likely to deteriorate within the coming days.

Rallies in a number of Bay Space cities voiced assist for Israelis and Palestinians in numerous settings. One demonstration in San Francisco over the weekend introduced out Home Speaker Emeritus Nancy Pelosi and San Francisco Mayor London Breed.

Some Israeli residents within the area Israelis started making preparations to return to Israel within the coming days as a part of a large Israeli navy mobilization.

On the similar time, Palestinians and their supporters voiced worry for his or her kin dwelling within the Gaza Strip, the place Hamas launched its assault on Saturday and the place a full-scale invasion by Israeli troopers was a looming chance. Additionally they feared an increase in anti-Muslim sentiment right here in the US, and puzzled aloud what it may imply for the prospects of a long-sought Palestinian state.

“The Palestinian diaspora are terrified proper now,” stated Wassim Hajj, an outreach coordinator and case supervisor for the Arab Useful resource and Organizing Middle, based mostly in San Francisco. “And I feel they’re additionally tremendously, as at all times, hopeful that they’ll in the future see a free Palestine.”

Many individuals on either side of the battle sought solace of their religion; on the Chabad Home in San Jose’s Almaden neighborhood, some Jewish mourners arrived on the temple to hope and wrap their arms in Tefellin, a conventional Jewish garb made from skinny strips of black material.

“Each single Jew dwelling right here within the Bay Space is aware of somebody — some member of the family, within the military — somebody affected,” stated Rabbi Mendel Weinfeld. “It’s scary. It’s devastating. However the Jews have gone by means of this stuff again and again. And our belief and perception in God is rock strong.”

Some Bay Space-based Palestinians voiced deep worry for the their family members over the approaching days, conscious {that a} full floor invasion of Gaza may very well be within the offing.

A Palestinian who has lived in San Ramon for the final three many years, Wael Buhaissy, 55, burdened that it was unattainable to grasp the present state of affairs with out acknowledging Israel’s blockade of Gaza and tacticcs by the nation which have made the 140-square-mile Gaza area an “open-air jail,” he stated. For too lengthy, he stated, Israel’s actions have left Palestinians oppressed and greedy for the best requirements of meals and financial independence.

On Monday, as Israel amassed troops exterior Gaza and the ranks of its navy swelled with freshly-summoned reservists, Buhaissy started to weep. His aunt vowed throughout one in every of her most up-to-date telephone calls to not flee Gaza, even when given the prospect.

“She instructed (my mom) that now we have nowhere else to go and will not be leaving — we die right here standing,” Buhaissy stated. “I’m getting emotional now simply speaking to you. Becuase in case you simply tune into the information and watch, that’s what individuals don’t see.”

The geopolitical implications of Saturday’s assault remained murky and unattainable to foretell, Bay Space observers stated Monday. It occurred as the US was searching for to dealer a deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia that will see the 2 international locations normalize relations — a lot as Israel had performed lately with the United Arab Emerates and different Center Japanese international locations. In a single fell swoop, the assault appeared to depart the way forward for that deal in limbo, together with the way forward for any potential Palestinian state.

Tyler Gregory, the CEO of the Jewish Group Relations Council, stated he was “strongly inspired” with the swift assist supplied to Israel by President Joe Biden and different politicians throughout the political spectrum, from Capitol Hill to the San Francisco Bay.

“There’s a whole lot of deep concern and trauma occurring proper now,” Gregory stated. “Importantly, that is actually only the start. There’s going to be some type of struggle that occurs and we’re form of encouraging individuals to be resilient.”

But lower than 72 hours after the beginning of the assault, these considerations remained an afterthought Monday for a lot of Bay Space individuals with ties to the area. At UC Berkeley, college students grieved the losses their communities overseas had suffered — understanding that kin are more likely to be among the many lifeless — and tried making sense of the violence with professors who’ve spent many years finding out the relentless complexities of the area, stated Ron Hassner, a professor of Israeli research at UC Berkeley.

One factor is obvious, he stated: The size is not like something the area has seen for many years. Because of Israel’s small dimension — at 9 million individuals, it ranks solely barely extra populous than the broader Bay Space — it will be as if tens of hundreds of People have been killed in a single day, he stated.

“That is actually perceived in Israel and across the US as an Israeli 9/11 — {that a} line has been crossed, that the established order has been irrevocably crossed.” Hassner stated.

Bay Space Information Group editor Mike Frankel contributed to this report.

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