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Supporters of Israel, Palestinians gather in Manhattan to denounce 6-month war in Gaza

Supporters of Israel, Palestinians gather in Manhattan to denounce 6-month war in Gaza
Supporters of Israel, Palestinians gather in Manhattan to denounce 6-month war in Gaza 02:34

NEW YORK -- A rally was held outside the United Nations on Sunday, calling for a deal to release Israeli hostages still being held hostage by Hamas.

The chants echoed through Midtown as a sea of people with Israeli flags called for the release of the remaining hostages captured six months ago.

"The whole world needs to apply pressure not on Israel but on Hamas," said Naftali Bennett, the former prime minister of Israel.

The ongoing war is a source of unimaginable pain for family members of those captured or killed by Hamas.

"One hundred eighty four days. It's indescribable, the pain. I've met many of these hostage families, and they live in unbearable anxiety," said Eric Goldstein, CEO of the UJA Federation of New York.

The faces of the missing and murdered filled the plaza. Jewish Community Relations Council CEO Mark Treyger just returned from Israel.

"The images, the stories I heard from survivors and those impacted will be with me for the rest of my life," Treyger said.

The Israel Defense Forces says there are still 133 hostages remaining in Gaza, following an announcement Saturday that 47-year-old Elad Katzir's body has been recovered and brought back to his family.

Oren Shay, Kazir's nephew, said it was devastating news. His grandfather was also killed, and his grandmother was taken hostage and later released.

"We are broken apart. I can't explain the terror we've been through," Shay said.

The past six months also saw countless rallies in the Tri-State Area for Palestinians. The call continues for an immediate ceasefire as the World Health Organization says more than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza.

"Here in New Jersey specifically, we've had approximately 3,000 of our community members killed in Gaza," said Dina Sayedahmed of the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Sayedahmed said the effects are also seen here.

"We've been seeing a dramatic rise and anti-Muslim bigotry. That's a direct result of Israel's war on Gaza," Sayedahmed said.

Sami Shaban from New Jersey said he lost 20 loved ones in the conflict.

"One bomb, my ... my ... my father's brother, my uncle Mohamed, and four generations were all taken out, one shot," Shaban said.

The pain of that has him and others praying for lasting peace.

"It needs to be rooted in safety for Palestinians and Jewish people alike. There needs to be a sense that they both can live and they have lived for a thousand years or more together," Shaban said.

This as pressure mounts on international leaders to finally strike a deal.

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