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Inland Northwest Coalition for the Liberation of Palestine Emerges Amid Ongoing Conflict


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Inland Northwest Coalition for the Liberation of Palestine Emerges Amid Ongoing Conflict

News Story by Nina Culver | FāVS News

A group of local residents frustrated and horrified at what has been going on in Israel and the Gaza Strip over the last two months have banded together to create a new organization, the Inland Northwest Coalition for the Liberation of Palestine.

“We are just a group of individuals and organizations that have come together,” said member Kate Burke, a former Spokane city council member. “What happened Oct. 7 stirred a lot of emotion in the community. We naturally came together.”

The group now has nearly 100 members, people from a wide variety of faith backgrounds and some who are atheists.

“We were angry,” said member Kathryn DePaolis, a professor at Eastern Washington University. “We were horrified. We wanted to do something but we didn’t know what.”

DePaolis admits she didn’t know the full situation about Israel and Gaza before.

“I began to educate myself,” she said. “This didn’t start on Oct. 7. This actually has been going on since 1948.”

Innocent lives in the crossfire

Oct. 7 was the date the Hamas terrorist group, supported and funded by Iran, attacked Israel. Hamas is based in the Gaza Strip, where millions of Palestinians live. Israel in turn has attacked Hamas, with Palestinians in the crossfire.

“I’ll be honest and blunt,” DePaolis said. “It’s genocide, what’s happening in Gaza.”

The coalition is working to educate people about the situation in Israel and Gaza and to advocate for the Palestinian people.

“We see an oppressed people that we want to see have freedom and equality,” Burke said.

As videos and pictures from the conflict area have spread across social media, some have attacked those supporting Palestinians, accusing them of being anti-Semitic. Burke said that it appears that those attacks are focused on silencing people who support the rights of Palestinians.

“That’s not the reason we’re here,” Burke said. “No one in our organization has said anything remotely against the Jewish people. It’s becoming a red herring.”

DePaolis said she agrees that the accusations of anti-Semitism seem to be geared toward silencing people’s opinions.

“People use it to distract and ensure silence,” she said. “We are about human rights for everyone. That means everyone. We are allowed to criticize governments and their actions. It doesn’t mean we are against a certain people. It means we are against the actions of the government. This is not about us being against the Jewish people.”

Events meant to educate people about the conflict

Since the coalition began, several events have been held. The first was a weekend gathering in Riverfront Park featuring several speakers.

“A lot of people don’t know what to do right now,” Burke said. “We’re trying to give them a way to show up and support the cause.”

Last month the coalition also hosted a die-in outside the Federal Courthouse in downtown Spokane. People lay down outside the courthouse, their bodies covered with white sheets stained with a red substance meant to resemble blood. There were several speakers at that event as well.

The group plans to have more events in the future to educate people about the conflict and to advocate for peaceful solutions, including a cease-fire and a new settlement for Palestinians.

“One of our main goals is to educate people on what has been going on since 1948,” Burke said. “We really do feel alone and isolated as we are supporting the Palestinian people.”

The group meets weekly. Information about meetings and events is also available on the group’s Facebook page and people can send an email to [email protected] for more information.

DePaolis said she hopes the group can provide a safe place for those interested in advocating for the Palestinian people.

“The images we’re seeing are really hard to watch, but we have to watch,” she said. “You can’t look away.”

Nina Culver
Nina Culver
Nina Culver is a freelance journalist and North Idaho native who has called Spokane home for the last 30 years. She started working at The Spokesman-Review in 1995 as a work study intern while still a journalism student at Gonzaga University and stuck around for the next 22 years, covering everything from religion to crime. She has an adult daughter and two grandsons who keep her hopping and if she has any free time she likes to read.

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