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Palestinian, Israeli groups in Edmonton grieve overseas deaths, rally support


Countless gatherings and rallies are being held by Jewish and Palestinian organizations across the country today, including groups in Edmonton who are shocked and concerned, doing whatever they can to help their communities grieve.

Several rallies have been held by Edmonton's Palestinian community over the past month, advocating for the country's independence. Hundreds attended their rally Sunday evening in Edmonton's north-side Castle Downs neighbourhood.

"We have a very diverse Palestinian community in Edmonton," Mousa Qasqas, a local organizer for the Palestinian community told CTV News Edmonton on Sunday. "There are people from the West Bank, East Jerusalem ... a lot of people with a lot of family there. People are very, very emotional right now."

Hundreds of people are expected to gather in support of the Palestinian community on Sunday evening.

Qasqas said the community is devastated by what's happened, but he's frustrated by what he feels has become a common narrative.

"We need to stop labeling every type of Palestinian resistance as terrorism and labeling every type of Israeli aggression as self-defence," he said.

Qasqas was in Palestine two weeks before the attack on Saturday that killed hundreds and injured thousands more.

"The people in Palestine told me: 'We don't need donations. Just keep us in your prayers and keep the conversations going,'" he said. "They want the narrative to change more than anything."

The Edmonton Police Service says officers will be around mosques and synagogues beginning this weekend out of an abundance of caution.

"I'm most appreciative and I think that it's the right move to make," said Stacey Leavitt-Wright, who heads the Jewish Federation of Edmonton. "It allows our community to feel more secure coming into these institutions."

The Jewish Federation, which will have a donation site set up within the next few days, is holding a rally of its own on Monday evening. Leavitt-Wrightt says the blame should be on the Hamas militant group, not on the state of Israel.

"You're basically allowing and condoning war crimes. We're talking about rape and sexual assault on young women, the kidnapping and taking hostage, killing people in their homes," she said. "And it goes on that the stories are just horrific that are coming to us." Top Stories

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