MADISON (WKOW) — The Madison-Rafah City Project and Palestine Partners hostedStand With Palestine, an event and vigil in solidarity of Palestinian civilians, at Tenney Park on Sunday.
The event was initially presented as a celebration of the Palestinian olive harvest season. But it shouldered a heavier burden amid Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Now, organizers hope to support Palestinians whose lives are in danger and are cut off from food, power and water.
Visitors showed their support by purchasing Palestinian olive oil, olive oil soap, embroidery and jewelry from Women in Hebron Fair Trade Cooperative in the West Bank.
The event also featured a demonstration, in which people lined up with signs in protest.
Samer Alatout, a professor at UW-Madison, spoke on his view on the current conflict.
“In Palestinian narrative, there is one war … and it started in 1948, and never ended,” he said. “1948 was the war where Palestinians were displaced, the land possessed, and made into refugees.”
Alatout also expressed how difficult it can be to stay hopeful for a peaceful solution.
“I was depressed, not because of the attacks on Gaza only, but because there is huge human suffering that’s ongoing … there is love, there is acceptance, there is celebration. Those things need to be opened up, and especially now,” he said.
According to a release by organizers, the olive harvest in Palestine has been shut down, and at least 1,000 olive trees have been destroyed.
Organizers have planned to sponsor the planting of an olive tree in the Madison-Masafer Yatta grove in response to those being destroyed in the West Bank.