Thousands gather in San Francisco to rally for Palestine; others return to U.S. after being stuck in Israel

Thousands of people gathered in San Francisco on Saturday to march in support of Palestine in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war

The rally started near the Ferry Building before attendees marched up Market Street. 

Attendees called for U.S. lawmakers to stop sending military aid to Israel. They also called attention to the innocent Palestinian lives being lost at the fault of the war. 

Feras Eseio, a native San Franciscan who has family living in Gaza, attended the rally with his two daughters and wife. 

He told KTVU his family has been displaced before and doesn't want it to happen again. He also fears that Palestinians are being forgotten.

"This doesn't feel two-sided," Eseio said. "It doesn't feel like there's humanity toward the Palestinians, the people of Gaza, the children, the elderly. What we need for them to see is to see what's happening, see the genocide and stop with the funding for Israel."

According to Al Jazeera, in 2023 U.S. military funding to Israel topped $3.8 billion–part of a record 10-year $38 billion deal signed by President Barack Obama in 2016.


But Manny Yekutiel, a San Francisco native and owner of Manny’s Restaurant in the Mission and was stranded in Israel, says that funding likely helped save his life. 

"Many of the people probably don't know what it's like to have missiles being directed at your head," Yekutiel said. "I now know what that feels like, and I'm so glad Israel had the Iron Dome to protect them."

Yekutiel flew to Tel Aviv 10 days ago to celebrate his father's 80th birthday and niece's bat mitzvah. Three days in, everything changed.

"What I felt and heard 18 different times is missiles being directed where I was," Yekutiel said. "I was in and out of bomb shelters I saw children screaming, running, and crying and parents trying to shelter them."

He never expected to see the horrible scenes he witnessed in his lifetime but says it put life here in perspective. 

"I came from a massive country Israel where it's complicated; there is a sense of family connectedness, and it would be easy to go through life and let those connections fray and weaken," Yekutiel said. "But that would not be a life well lived."