Pro-Palestinian rally in Philly

CENTER CITY - December 30, 2008 - It began outside the Israeli consulate at 18th and JFK.

More than a thousand Palestinian-Americans and their supporters denounced Israel for a series of air strikes in the Palestinian controlled Gaza Strip.

At one point, someone in the crowd set an Israeli flag on fire, prompting cheers and applause.

Palestinians want an end to Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip's borders which, they say, has crippled the two million people living there over the last two years.

"Just imagine to be without food, without water, without electricity. How you going to feel with no money, no freedom?" said Abraham Zabarin of Northeast Philadelphia.

Daniel Kutner, Israel's counsul general says the borders were shut down because they were being used to import weapons for militants and export terrorism into Israel.

He blames Hamas for firing rockets at Israel, killing innocent civilians over the past two years.

"Israel, what it's doing, is taking steps in order to defend itself," Kutner said.

Those participating in the rally do not see it that way.

"What precipitated it is, two years of being bottled up, being put into basically a concentration camp," said rally co-organizer Sam Kattab. Despite word that Israel is considering a temporary cease-fire, neither side seems optimistic of a long-term resolution.

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