By Tracy Clemons

St. Louis (KSDK) - The escalating violence in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas is hitting close to home for many in St. Louis.

Friday evening in downtown St. Louis, there was a demonstration held by the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee. They say Israel is the aggressor in this escalation.

Washington University sophomore Daniel Nassim has family in Israel. He says the rockets nearly killed a relative.

"This morning I got a voicemail from my mother of my little cousin, 13-years-old. I just saw him get Bar Mitzvah in Israel, coming back from the beach saying I'm never going to surf again," Nassim said. "His mom says why. A bomb landed in the water right next to where a bunch of his friends were surfing. Thankfully no one was harmed."

He believes Hamas should stop bombing.

Anna Baltzer, with the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, believes Israel is wrong and that it's violating human rights laws using U.S. tax dollars.

"I believe that what Israel is doing is a gross atrocity being committed with our tax dollars in our name as Americans," Baltzer says. "And also as a member of the St. Louis Jewish Voice for Peace, I'm outraged by what is being done in our name as Jewish people against the Palestinian people."

She says this isn't about taking sides, but it's about human rights.