Rallies in Denver for Israel, Palestine

KUSA- Seven thousand miles from the Israel-Gaza conflict zone, protesters took very different messages to downtown Denver on Sunday. Supporters of Israel flocked to the steps of the State Capitol, while a smaller group rallied for Palestine across the street.

"It's not fair to the Palestinian people," said Ramy Elzarad, a Palestine supporter.

"Israel is always singled out in the world," said Hanah Polotsky, who attended the pro-Israel rally.

Linsette Hawkins of Denver doesn't have a direct connection to either side of the conflict, but says she felt compelled to come out and support Israel.

"I think it's awful. I think it's sad," Hawkins said. "I stand with Israel. I'm Christian."

Hanah Polotsky is Jewish and originally from Russia. She came here 25 years ago, but feels a deep connection with Israel.

"I think it's great that so many people support Israel," she said.

Polotsky said, when it comes to the ongoing conflict with Hamas, Israel is simply defending itself.

"At the end, we all want peace," she said. "We all want education for the kids, we want them to be happy."

However, Palestinian supporters in Denver are angry that Israeli rockets have hurt and killed children in Gaza.

"You see the kids dying," said Ayah Ziyadeh, who is Palestinian. "They don't deserve it. They don't deserve what is going on."

The Israeli government blames Hamas, a terrorist group, for using civilians in Gaza as human shields.

"The topic's very emotional for me," said Ramy Elzarad, who was born and raised in Denver.

Elzarad said he still has family in Palestine and worries about their safety.

"We are not supporters of Hamas," he said. "We are supporters of Hamas, in the aspect of them defending our country."

After the pro-Israel rally ended, some Palestinian supporters verbally confronted those who had been at the rally. There were some heated exchanges, but Denver Police were on hand to make sure nothing escalated beyond that.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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