AUSTIN (KXAN) — Moshe S. has been in his living room, eyes glued to Israeli news coverage since the weekend.
Next to him on the couch are posters of his cousin’s fiancé, Tzur Saidi, and cousin Hillel Zalmnovich.
“He [Saidi] was missing for like 24 hours until they found his body and two other friends next to a car,” Moshe said.
According to Moshe, Saidi was killed by Hamas militants. Moshe said Saidi was 26 years old and was attending a music festival in Israel when the first attack over the weekend happened.
“They were hiding behind the car, and the terrorists came and just shot them, execution style,” Moshe said. “They were defenseless.”
Moshe and his wife are still waiting to see where their cousin Zalmnovich is. They said he is still missing.
“This is evil, pure evil,” Moshe said. “That’s the only word I can say. We are not talking here about freedom fighters… civilians are being slaughtered and butchered… children, babies, mothers, grandmothers.”
There’s devastation, and families are being ripped apart near and far. People in the Austin area are among thousands in the United States, waiting for updates from Israel.
Protests at Texas’ capitol
“Free, free, free Palestine!” a group chanted. At Texas’ capitol on Sunday, there were protests.
Many are standing with Palestine, whose recent attack started the violence this weekend.
They said years of Israelis mistreating Palestinians led to this.
“Nobody is here to support the killing of civilians,” Asad Kulash, a protester supporting Palestine, said. “But for the last 15 to 20 years… the Gaza Strip, it’s under 24 hours-a-day surveillance. They have very little electricity, very little access to clean water. It’s like people are living in a cage over there.”
A history of Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Tensions between Israel and Palestine have been prevalent for the past several decades, according to Ryan Bole with RANE, a geopolitical intelligence firm. Bole considers himself an expert in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“The scale of this violence is to the point where I think both of those communities are going to hurt on a level they haven’t seen since again, at least the 1970s, in a certain way more than the 1970s, because back then, the Palestinian-American community in the United States was much smaller,” Bole said. “I think that those communities will be experiencing a lot of loss in the coming days. We do expect for a military escalation against Gaza to evolve — potentially a ground invasion and a ground invasion will result in significant losses on both sides.”
Moshe, suffering immeasurable pain, just wants peace.
“But this is not going to lead to peace, not in the near term,” he said.
Moshe chose to share his story because he said he wants more Americans to educate themselves on what’s happening.
Now, he and his wife are also looking for ways to help from afar.
Shalom Austin and Israeli American Council Austin, in partnership with other Jewish organizations, hosted a solidarity gathering Monday evening. Austin Mayor Kirk Watson also took part in the event.