CBS 2 News: Chicago Protesters Want Middle East Peace

Muslim Voices Were Raised Over Conflict As Other Chicagoans Get Ready To Visit Family In The Middle East

(CBS) CHICAGO They’re not calling it an invastion yet, but today Israeli forces crossed the border into Lebanon.

They destoryed bunkers and rocket launchers used by Hezbollah guerillas in recent attacks against northern Israel.

“They are well arranged. They have been preparing for that terrorist offensive against Israel for many years,” said Israeli Army General Gal Hirsh.

In the conflict zone, hundreds of thousands of Lebanese have fled their homes, scrambling to find food and shelter in safer areas.

Around the world, tens of thousands protested today in cities like Beirut, Paris, and London.

Here in Chicago, thousands of people of Middle Eastern descent participated in a rally on Michigan Avenue.

“When the U.S. supports Israel and gives them money to support their army it’s considered helping out another country, helping out the ally; when you’ve got Iran and Syria helping out the Palestinian cause it’s considered helping out terrorists. It’s a double-standard; it needs to stop.” said Palestinian protester Ally Yousef.

President Bush is sending Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to the Middle East on Monday to make it clear that resolving the crisis demands confronting the terrorist group that launched the attacks — and the nations that support it.

Meanwhile Chicago Jewish leaders are preparing for a trip to Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv in support of Israel.

“We want to raise money, because Israel needs money for all the things they have to do and all the social services that they’re not going to be able to fund because the money is going to defense,” said Midge Perlman Shafton of the Jewish Federation. “Our family is in trouble, we’re related family, so you go when your family is in trouble. We’re going to go and show solidarity and show them that they’re not alone,” said Midge Perlman Shafton.

Shafton says a delegation of 33 people from across the country will visit, but they will stay away from the conflict zone, where the fighting continues.

In one of the most recent developments, the Israeli army has launched an attack agains the Lebanese port of Sidon, where thousands of refugees were looking for shelter. Explosions have also been heard in Beirut in parts of the city controlled by Hezbollah.

U.S. officials say they have evacuated more than 7,500 Americans from Lebanon.

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