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Palestinian Rights Protesters Gather Outside of AIPAC Meeting

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SACRAMENTO-

Protesters lined the entrances of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Downtown Sacramento, where the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) hosted their annual gala.

According to AIPAC's website, the group's mission is to strengthen US-Israel relations, and educate lawmakers of all levels to ensure Israel is safe and secure.

Protesters outside claimed AIPAC was lobbying for funding that would support unjust occupation and killing of innocent Palestinians and Iranians.

"This money... if it goes toward building, construction, helping, then nobody can dispute that. But it is going to support occupation and Apartheid," said Adeeb Al Zanoon, Acting President of Sacramento Regional Coalition for Palestinian Rights.

Congress recently adopted Omnibus Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2015. This includes a $3.1 Billion aid to Israel, which they said would reduce Palestinian Authority, and increase oversight for Iranian Nuclear negotiations. AIPAC has publicly applauded Congress for approving this calling it "Security Assistance," while protesters call it "military aid."

"We don't want our tax money and our corporate donations to be used to oppress and occupy other people, who are the Palestinians," Al Zanoon said. "The occupation must end, injustice also must end, freedom for all, equality for all people who live in Palestine. And it's not only to certain beliefs or religion. All should have the same rights and all should live in peace all together."

Not all protesters were of Palestinian dissent. David Mandel is a Jew, representing Jewish Voice for Peace. He is an American-Israeli Dual Citizen who believes AIPAC should stop lobbying for more funding, and use the much needed money stateside instead.

"The US is doing all sorts of terrible things in the world, with even more billions of dollars that is more needed here at home for education, housing, health care," Mandel said.

Media was not allowed inside the hotel. AIPAC representatives were unavailable for comment.