Boca Raton Police Department Commandeer FAU Parking Lot

“Support Israel, destroy Hamas,” chant the supporters of the Israeli troops. “Live free Palestine” is the defense from Palestinian supporters. These exclamations were of many tossed back and forth as Glades Road became the site of the 11th protest held by an Israeli support organization called Shalom International.

This protest, as well as the 10 others held recently, was organized in response to the current conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
“This is to blame Hamas and destroy Hamas. We are pretty easy about the whole thing,” says Shalom International’s president, Bob Kunst, describing the Hamas retaliation on Israeli troops. “After 10,000 missiles from Gaza into Israel, there is nothing to compromise with.”

While Shalom International’s intent was to gain support on the war against the Hamas, an Israeli group currently governing the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian supporters hoped to encourage education of the situation.
“The news of Gaza is no longer in the news anymore. In the newspaper, it is on the third or the fourth page and people think that it is old news and it’s not,” says Dr. Fauzia Kausar, who came with the other Muslim supporters. “People are still getting killed over there, especially women and children and we want to bring that awareness back.”

Adults were not the only ones present to participate. The Palestinian supporters came with children who held signs declaring “Don’t Kill.” Cars circled Glades to continually confront the Israeli supporters, shouting “Allah” from within.
“What will Allah do for you now?” questions one supporter.

Other cars beeped support of the Israeli supporters while exiting the FAU parking lots, prompting a line of cheers from the large crowd.

One of the more recent protests in Miami on Jan. 4 ended in 12 people arrested, a couple for felony charges. During that demonstration, more than 1,000 people lined Biscayne Boulevard holding both Israeli and Palestinian flags.

The Boca Raton Police Department was prepared for a similar crowd and filled the parking lot at the soccer fields of the Boca campus with police cruisers. They also posted deputies on both sides of protesters, but things remained civil at each side.
“The bottom line, whether Jews or Muslims or Christians or Hindus, humans beings are humans beings,” says Tariq Qureshi, who grew up in Pakistan. “If you really look at it, everybody wants peace, everybody wants a home.”