Protests over Gaza continue in Bay Area

January 11, 2009 7:03:00 PM PST
People on both sides of the crisis in Gaza demonstrated in the Bay Area Sunday.

Palestinian supporters protested in the South Bay while Israeli supporters gathered outside Israel's Consulate in San Francisco.

We know how each side views this crisis by now. Pro-Israeli demonstrators blame Hamas. Pro-Palestinian supporters say Israel needs to bring an end to the violence.

But those who came out to rally Sunday were using their demonstrations as a tool to do more than just show their support.

Israeli supporters responded Sunday, to the many pro-Palestinian rallies they have seen on the news and in the streets. They feel like their message is getting lost in the debate and hoped their demonstration in San Francisco would shift the conversation their way.

"We feel there has been a lot of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment out there. Our voice has been not heard," said demonstrator Anna Fried.

Pro-Palestinian activists in San Jose used their rally as a lobbying tool. They want to influence lawmakers with the hopes that Washington can step in and put a stop to the fighting.

"They're not representing us as people, as Americans, any longer. They're representing another entity. It's like the tail wagging the dog," said Fadi Saba.

The pro-Israeli group featured mostly young students. Some of them said they personally get cursed at at school by people who feel Israel is to blame for the fighting.

"I feel that there's a large amount of support against Israel throughout the world, but I don't think that's fine," said Aaron Kudatsky.

Seasoned activists down in San Jose say they are not afraid to take on pro-Israeli lawmakers and they promise to keep on demonstrating.

"I would like to see a just peace, where Palestinians can live their lives, Israelis can live their lives, people can lives their lives in just peace," said Fadi Saba.

This was the second weekend in a row for the protestors in San Jose. It was organized by the San Jose Peace and Justice Center. The one in San Francisco was a first, organized by high school students on their Facebook pages.

They were so pleased with the 300 people that showed up they plan on doing it again.