Groups in New Mexico call for ceasefire in Gaza in new billboards
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – As the horrific violence in Gaza continues, people in New Mexico are again speaking out against it.
Many different groups of different religions and backgrounds gathered in northwest Albuquerque Wednesday, calling for a ceasefire and for New Mexico’s congressional delegation to take action.
They paid for billboards around town that say “Save Palestinian lives. End suffering in Gaza now,” and ask people to call members of Congress.
They believe American leaders need to do more to bring an end to the violence between Israel and Hamas terrorists and bring the hostages home.
“The main thing is – ceasefire now. We’ve been talking to our congressional reps over the last two months or more to ask them to stand up to what we believe are just basic human values, which is calling for peace,” organizer Katherine Hughes-Fraitekh said.
People who gathered and spoke say Congress is not doing enough.
“We’re very upset. We feel betrayed,” Hughes-Fraitekh said.
They were critical of America’s overall response so far.
“Congress should be putting pressure on (Prime Minister of Israel) Netanyahu. Congress should be putting pressure on Biden to put pressure on Netanyahu and other world leaders,” said Leah Berger, who’s with the group Jewish Voice for Peace. “I don’t believe that Biden actually cares about the safety of the Jewish people because if he did he would not be doing this.”
Both Hughes-Fraitekh and Berger have spent lots of time in the region, and both knew people who have been killed.
They believe the United States should not be giving so much money to Israel while it’s attacking Gaza and killing non-combatants.
“There’s no reason it should be going for bombs to kill children,” Hughes-Fraitekh said.
“There’s a Hebrew word, a ‘shanda.’ It’s a ‘shanda.’ This is horrible,” Berger said.
Getting the billboards up is part of their efforts to get their message out.
“It’s important for us to gather. It’s important for us to spread the word. It’s important for us to show solidarity with each other and know that we’re not alone,” Berger said.
They hope the violence will end.
“It’s horrendous. Most of us can’t sleep or eat. I’m not putting up a Christmas tree for the first time in my life because I can’t have Christmas while people are dying under the rubble,” Hughes-Fraitekh said.
KOB 4 spoke with representatives with each member of New Mexico’s congressional delegation.
Senators Ben Ray Luján and Martin Heinrich say “Israel has the right to defend itself.” Luján says “Hamas must be defeated” and is not calling for a ceasefire. Heinrich says the civilian deaths are “unacceptable.” He would support a ceasefire if Hamas no longer controlled Gaza.
Representatives Gabe Vasquez and Teresa Leger Fernandez have called for a ceasefire.
Rep. Melanie Stansbury said in October she supports a humanitarian pause.