BUTTE — A group of Butte people wrote out the names of about 3,000 Palestinian children on long scrolls of paper, a somber list of the causalities in the War between Israel and Hamas.
The group of a dozen then rolled up the list and delivered it to Sen. Jon Tester's Butte office to ask him to seek a ceasefire in the war.
"We’re trying to illustrate that these aren’t just numbers, they’re people with names," says Aniel Hogan, the group organizer.
"You kind of start to, as you’re writing the name out, imagine who this person, this baby, was or could have been, could become and it becomes as real as it can be for someone on the other side of the world, I think."
The Butte group asked Sen. Tester, who is chairman of the Defense Appropriations Committee, to support a ceasefire on Nov. 10 during his town hall stop in the Mining City, but representatives with Tester’s office say his position has not changed.
"This is a situation where there are no good solutions. There are no good solutions. And that’s a fact. Hamas has said they want to wipe Israel off the map. You know who else they want to wipe off the map? The United States of America. That is a fact," said Sen. Tester said during the town hall.
An audience member interrupted Sen. Tester shouting out “That’s not true!”
To which Sen. Tester responded, "No, that is a fact. Ma’am, I’m chairman of the Defense Appropriations Committee. I get briefed on everything that’s nasty that’s going on in this world. That is one hundred percent true. That is a fact you can take to the bank."
In an email response to MTN News sent after the group visited his Butte office, Sen. Tester's office said, “Senator Tester appreciates folks across Montana making their voices heard, that’s what our democracy is all about. Over the last month, the Senator met face-to-face with Montanans that have a wide array of views on this difficult issue. The truth is, Israel nor Hamas support a ceasefire, however, Senator Tester believes humanitarian pauses are appropriate. Senator Tester believes our top priority must be the release of American hostages and allowing Israel to effectively counter Hamas—that response must be targeted and avoid civilian casualties.”
Reports last week from the Associated Press and the Gaza Ministry of Health say that 3,600 Palestinian children have been killed in the war. More than 11,000 Palestinians and 1,200 Israelis have lost their lives since the conflict began over a month ago.