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By Jan Carabeo

By Jan Carabeo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalates in the Middle East, Philadelphians with family overseas are left worried about their loved ones. Many rallied in Center City on Friday to bring awareness to both sides.

Israeli and Palestinian upporters faced off outside the Israeli consulate on JFK Boulevard. At one point, Philadelphia Police had to separate the two sides.

“We gotta stop the killing of the little kids in palestine,” Amer Darwish said. “We gotta free palestine.”

“When you have 100 people killed in Gaza, and 60 percent are women and children, it’s a problem,” Alex Iborahim added.

“We want no civilian deaths on either side,” Marissa Rubin said.  “We simply argue that israel has the right to exist.”

As tempers in Philadelphia rose during this rally, half-way around the world, violence continues to escalate.

“When a siren goes off, you have seconds to get to a shelter, or to lie down on the road like we’ve been taught to do next to our bus,” CEO of the Jewish Federation of Philadelphia Naomi Adler said.

Adler is in Israel with seven other people from the federation.

She was only in the country hours before she heard that warning for the first time and had to find a bomb shelter.

“Everything stops for ten minutes while you wait to see if the Iron Dome dome takes care of that rocket,” Adler said. “Is it tense? you bet.”

Drexel Professor of Political Science William Rosenberg says this recent flare up between Israel and Hamas was sparked by the deaths of three Israeli teens and then what seemed to be a retribution killing of a Palestinian youth.

He says the conflict is now fueled by politics.

“You have the more offensive Israelis, offensive in wanting to project power, saying we’re not going to tolerate this,” Rosenberg said. “And then you have the offensive Palestinians the ones that want to take out Israel. The people in the middle want to end it, but they don’t have the power to do so.”

Professor Rosenberg predicts the conflict will end as all eventually do. The question is how and when.

He says it could be awhile, especially with Israeli forces possibly poised for a ground assault.

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