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Small Group Of Murray Residents Hold Gathering In Solidarity With Palestinians

Liam Niemeyer

  A small group of Murray residents making up local high school students, Murray State University faculty and other community members gathered on Murray State’s campus Tuesday in a show of solidarity with Palestinians.


Murray State History Professor Christine Lindner organized the gathering as a way for she and other community members to share their support for the Palestian people after more than a week of fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas, on a day when Palestinian leaders organized a general strike to protest Israeli attacks in Gaza.


Maysoon Khatib, an adjunct professor at Murray State, was one of the people who shared personal commentary alongside her children. Khatib was born in America, her father a Palestinian native. Her brother and sister live in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.


Khatib said she understands faith is a central part of western Kentucky communities including Murray, and she hopes people here will extend faith-based teachings of compassion and empathy to the Palestinian people.


“The main teachings that you find in any house of worship is to ‘love thy neighbor,’” Khatib said. “When you’re denying that simple act of brotherhood to anyone in the world, you cannot be a part-time advocate for equality and justice.” 


Khatib and others at the gathering also strongly criticized the billions of dollars in military aid the United States sends to Israel every year, referencing the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions movement that aims to pressure Israel to meet a series of demands including leaving territories such as Gaza and the West Bank. 


Lesley Garrett, a recent Murray State graduate originally from Paducah, said she wanted to acknowledge the struggles Palestinians are facing while also raising awareness of the things those in western Kentucky can do. 


“Palestinians are being wiped out, and speaking out against that, getting on record that this isn’t OK is sort of what solidarity feels like to me right now,” Garrett said. 


As of Tuesday, Gaza health officials say more than 200 people have been killed as Israeli airstrikes continue, despite President Joe Biden expressing support for a ceasefire. The Israeli military said Hamas has launched thousands of rockets into Israel over the past week with at least 10 Israelis killed. The Israeli military stated airstrikes are aiming to destroy infrastructure used by Hamas, including tunnels used to smuggle weapons, equipment and people.


More than 100 people last weekend in Louisville also gathered in solidarity with Palestinians on the anniversary of Nakba, the name of the day given to a date in 1948 when Palestians were displaced for the creation of the state of Israel.  


"Liam Niemeyer is a reporter for the Ohio Valley Resource covering agriculture and infrastructure in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia and also serves Assistant News Director at WKMS. He has reported for public radio stations across the country from Appalachia to Alaska, most recently as a reporter for WOUB Public Media in Athens, Ohio. He is a recent alumnus of Ohio University and enjoys playing tenor saxophone in various jazz groups."
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