SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – Governor J.B. Pritzker declared the state’s support for Israel Tuesday after Hamas launched a violent attack against the country over the weekend.
“The people of Israel should all know that America and Illinois unequivocally stands with them in their battle to end the ongoing Hamas attacks,” Prizker said.
He and other elected officials stood in solidarity with the state’s Jewish community.
“Let me be clear,” Prizker said. “There are many peace loving Palestinians, and we must honor them but Hamas, Hamas is a terrorist organization, an army of murderers backed by Iran.”
Pritzker expressed concern for the Israeli people and called Hamas’ taking of more than one hundred hostages, “sickening.”
“The whole world can see the images and videos of the invasion, the slaughtering of Israeli families, and the kidnappings of loved ones is sickening,” Pritzker said. “We pray today for the strength and safety of the men and women of the Israeli Defense Forces as they embark on this most difficult and important mission.”
The governor also said he put the state’s law enforcement agencies on alert to protect synagogues and other gathering places for Jewish people in Illinois. Pritzker said no immediate threat has been detected but that they are remaining vigilant.
Comptroller Susana Mendoza recently visited Israel and also condemned Hamas’ strike.
“Hamas terrorists put on full display to the world their disregard for human life and civilization,” Mendoza said. “It was a coordinated attack of epic cruelty and inhumanity.”
The Illinois Legislative Jewish Caucus also condemned the attack in a statement they issued over the weekend.
“The Illinois Legislative Jewish Caucus is shocked and saddened to learn of the massive terrorist attack against Israel that is still playing out at this moment,” the statement reads. “We stand with the State of Israel as she stood with the United States during our most horrific moments.”
Some members of the Illinois House and Senate signed a letter calling for peace in the Middle East.
“I’m absolutely heartbroken by the violence that we’re seeing in the Middle East,” State Rep. Abdelnasser Rashid (D-Bridgeview), one of the members who signed onto the letter, said. “I mourn the loss of all lives. No civilian should ever be killed or be put in harm’s way, and it’s incredibly important that we do everything we can to find a path toward peace.”
But Rashid, the first Palestinian American to serve in the General Assembly, and the other lawmakers who signed onto the letter believe that peace can’t be achieved, “when millions of Palestinians are denied basic human rights,” the letter reads.
Rashid said he believes that achieving this peace means addressing Israel’s decades long occupation of Palestinian territories.
“A real conversation about a path to peace involves talking about how Israelis and Palestinians can both live in safety and security, with democracy, and really addressing the root causes of the issue which is the decade’s long oppression of the Palestinians and the denial of freedom to Palestinians,” Rashid said.
State Rep. Carol Ammons (D-Urbana) also signed onto the letter.
So far, 14 Americans have been killed and the death toll on both sides currently stands at about 1,900 people.