Pro-Palestinian rally held in the Loop

November 19, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Israeli aircraft struck crowded areas in the Gaza Strip and killed a senior militant with a missile strike on a media center Monday, driving up the Palestinian death toll to 100, as Israel broadened its targets in the 6-day-old offensive meant to quell Hamas rocket fire on Israel.

First there was prayer, then protest as those who sympathize with the plight of Palestinians took to the streets of Chicago for what they see as a massacre by Israel in the Gaza Strip.

"I'm from Yemen so I know this struggle, and I just wanted to show my support," said Zohrah Yafai, protester.

"The problem with US policy is you support Israel unequivocally all the time even when they're massacring civilians," said Hatem Abudayyeh, U.S. Palestinian Community Network.

Eighteen miles from Gaza, a group of Chicagoans is in Israel assessing humanitarian needs. They took cover several times as rocket alert sirens sounded.

"We tumbled out of our vehicle any number of times. And there wasn't enough time to get to a safe place so we literally had to lay on the ground with our arms over our heads as we were told to do," said Steven Nasatir, Jewish Federation.

"I feel very sorry for the 1.5 million Palestinian people that have been simply hijacked by the terrorists and are using them as human shields," said Roey Gilad, Israel Consul General to the Midwest.

The official Israeli - and American - policy is that the ruling party in Palestine, Hamas, is a terrorist organization. Others say it's not that clear cut.

"You're talking about an occupied people. Hamas is a byproduct of the occupation. To blame Hamas as though Hamas is the root of the conflict is to ignore history and deny reality," said Tarek Khalil, protester.

Chicago's Jewish leaders will hold a rally in support of Israel on Tuesday at 12 p.m.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Copyright © 2024 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.