CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The death toll has risen in the Gaza Strip after Israel’s military stepped up its airstrikes against Gaza and potential locations where Hamas militants are believed to be.  

Israel’s airstrikes are a response to the surprise attack by Hamas over the weekend, which left more than 1,200 dead in Israel.

On Tuesday afternoon, President Joe Biden addressed the United States saying that it will continue to support Israel and expressed his sorrow for the innocent Israeli lives lost in the horrific massacres.

He also called the actions of Hamas “pure, unadulterated evil,” and said, “The loss of innocent life is heartbreaking. Israel, like every nation, has a right to respond. Has a duty to respond.”

 On Monday evening, as news reached Charlotte in greater detail of the horrors and terrors being experienced in Israel, Jewish community members gathered for a moment of prayer and reflection for those Jews trapped in the middle of the conflict.  

Noah Landau, a Jewish student at Davidson College, shared this statement with Queen City News.  

He wrote, “In light of the current situation in Israel, it has been troubling for many, including myself, to watch from thousands of miles away. 

“Many of us share a connection to Israel through our roots, history, culture, and families tied to there. My family is currently there, surrounded by explosions and blaring sirens from acts of terror taking place. This is not a revolution, this is not justice, this is not retaliation; this is terror. 

“As a Jew, I wear my Star of David proudly and ground myself to the Land of Israel, whether it be terrorism, antisemitism, or any form of hatred standing in my way. We as Jews, stand together against evil and have support on campus for those who need it. During this sensitive time, please have compassion for us.”  

Israel’s airstrikes in Gaza, as of Tuesday, have leveled buildings and have sent thousands of trapped families running for shelter.  

More than 400 Palestinians, including children, have also been killed in Israel’s response.  

Jibril Hough, the spokesman for the Islamic Center of Charlotte characterized President Biden’s speech as being a failure.  

“He did not say one thing about any of the innocent Palestinians . . . anything about the realities the Palestinians are going through,” Hough told Queen City News. “No one is saying ‘pray for Palestine,’ and we are praying for Palestine. If we don’t many other people will turn their heads.”

For their fight, Hough asked those who have not studied or followed the historical impact in the Gaza Strip, to keep an open mind.  

“We are fighting for rights,” he stressed. “When you have privileges and rights for people who are Jewish [in the region] but if you’re Palestinians and a Muslim, or Christian, you don’t have the same rights. You can only oppress them, restrict them for so long.”  

When asked about his thoughts on the attacks over the weekend involving Hamas, Hough said he does not agree with the strategy of the group.  

“We don’t agree with their strategy. You don’t go and kill innocent people,” he stressed. “But, I think people need to think and ask themselves how we got here.”  

Instead, he called on just sacrifices and just peace, which can only happen once a cease-fire is called. 

“Some people who may not want to sit down together, will have to sit down together and talk. We have to stop the fighting. We have to stop the bombing. Palestinians and Israelis have to sit down.”