Pro-Israel march at UW comes face-to-face with liberated zone encampment on campus

May 13, 2024, 6:16 AM | Updated: 9:23 am

pro-Israel march liberated zone encampment...

Participants in the 'United for Israel' March at the University of Washington (Photo: Jason Rantz, KTTH)

(Photo: Jason Rantz, KTTH)

A pro-Israel march, dubbed “United for Israel,” happened at the University of Washington (UW) Sunday at 4:30 p.m., with its route going through the campus’ liberated zone encampment made up of pro-Palestinian protestors.

Pro-Israel demonstrators met face-to-face with Pro-Palestinian demonstrators as the university increased police presence, placing officers between the two sides to keep the peace.

“Our emphasis has always been to keep eyes on Gaza, keep all eyes on Rafah and to center the Palestinian voice,” a pro-Palestinian participant at UW told KIRO Newsradio.

More on the UW encampment: Pro-Palestinian UW encampment doubles by second day

“I genuinely think none of these guys stepped foot in Israel,” a pro-Israel participant at UW countered. “They don’t really know what’s going on there.”

According to all the parties involved, while tensions were high, things remained peaceful.

Members of Pursuit NW, a Christian church established in 2014 in the Pacific Northwest, organized the march, which only went through public spaces on the campus, including through the pro-Gaza tent camp set up in UW’s quad area.

More on Pursuit NW: Snohomish County church vandalized over New Year’s weekend

The rally started at Red Square on the UW campus, according to The Lynnwood Times, and concluded at the Pursuit Seattle campus on UW’s fraternity row.

Trained, armed security guards, separate from campus security, were alongside the Pursuit NW members marching.

“This is a peaceful rally,” organizers of the march stated in a news release. “Please be respectful to passersby and avoid making or responding to provocations.”

UW has responded by calling on people in the pro-Gaza tent camp to voluntarily dismantle the encampment for everyone’s safety.

“Every day the encampment remains, the security concerns escalate and become more serious – for our UW community and for the people in the encampment itself,” UW said in a public statement. “The university is aware of a counter-protest being organized this Sunday that gives us significant concern because of the likelihood for confrontations.

More on the UW encampment: More aggressive stance taken at University of Washington encampment

“We have repeatedly conveyed our concerns about these risks to encampment organizers and to those who organize counter-protests,” the university continued. “We are grateful to all, including leadership in the Jewish community, who are working to deescalate the situation.”

Pursuit NW also invited StandWithUs and the Jewish community to attend the rally.

This is a developing story, check back for updates

Frank Sumrall is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here and you can email him here.

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