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Protestors Shut Down North Dallas Intersection Over Arab-Israeli Conflict



DALLAS, TX – Typically, a traffic accident would shut down southbound Preston Road at LBJ. But this Wednesday evening closure was a first for this part of town: Street protests over the growing Arab-Israeli conflict. This photo I caught of a woman at the protest with her two young sons reminds us the nucleus of this centuries-old conflict is essentially a fight over land and real estate.

Since the 1920s, Arabs and Israelis have both laid claim to the same piece of historic land. When the conflict re-escalated this month in Gaza, protests stretched from California to Dallas to New York over the weekend.

During this rush hour protest, supporters of Israel lined up on the west side of the busy intersection and Palestine supporters on the east. They waved flags, held signs in the air, chanted, and at times, and gestured with “fingers” at each other over one of the busiest intersections in Dallas. At one point, water bottles were thrown from one side to the other.

About a dozen police cars and dozens of officers stood between the two groups down the middle of Preston Road, which was blocked off just north of LBJ Freeway at Alpha Road. Some protestors jumped on rooftops of buildings like the car wash at the northeast intersection, leaving police to urge them down. Most protesters had cleared by 9 p.m.

Benji Gershon, president of The Dallas Jewish Conservatives, organized a “Texas Stands with Israel” rally, at the northwest corner of LBJ and Preston Road. His event included speakers, including the state GOP’s chairman, Allen West. West felt there has not been enough local pro-Israel demonstrations. Gershon also told the Dallas Morning News he was thankful for the event’s great security.

The organizer of the Dallas Palestine Coalition’s demonstration, Narmeen Dakak, said her group wants to promote a cease-fire. They decided to show up after learning of the pro-Israel rally.

Ms. Dakak said pro-Palestine rallies had been held over the weekend, and her group wanted to be heard. “We knew the only way to get heard was to be at their rally and counter-protest them,” she told the News.

Another protester Barel Maayan, originally from Israel, said he had “a lovely encounter” at one point with a group of people from the Palestinian coalition that had crossed sides. Maayan had heard about the pro-Palestine rallies that had taken place in downtown Dallas over the weekend and said he wanted to show support for his homeland.

“We felt like our voice should be heard as well, just like theirs should be heard,” Maayan told the News.