Massive groups of demonstrators took to the streets across the U.S. Wednesday on both sides of the Israel-Palestine situation as fighting overseas continued to rage – with patches of violence flaring in American streets.
In Downtown Chicago, a rally organized by the Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine, drew a crowd of nearly 1,000 protestors who said Palestinians were being mistreated. One woman held sign that said: ‘Free Palestine!’
In New York, protesters clashed in Times Square, with both sides screaming at each other and separated by barricades. Pro-Israel supporters could be seen draped in flags.
In Cleveland, an Israel supporter asked people not to forget the people suffering in that country, even though he said Palestinians are made out to be the victims.
And in Los Angeles, pro-Israel demonstrators gathered in front of the city’s federal building; the prior day in the city there had been skirmishes between the factions, but photos from the scene showed only Israel supporters waving American and Israel flags.
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Pro-Israel supporters (pictured) hold up wave American and Israeli flags during a march in East Los Angeles on Wednesday
Pro-Palestine and Pro-Israel protestors (pictured) clash during Wednesday’s pro-Israel rally held in Times Square on Wednesday
Tensions rose between protestors (pictured) during a pro-Israel rally held in Times Square on Wednesday
The Chicago rally included a two-hour-long march that ended outside the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest at 500 W. Madison St, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
‘We’ve watched illegal land grab after illegal land grab while the world fell silent. The people of Sheikh Jarrah, Jerusalem and Gaza said, ‘No more!’ They turned on their phones and said to the world: ‘Are you OK with this?’ Gloria Imseih Petrelli, co-chair of USPCN, said at the rally.
In Oklahoma, around 60 University of Oklahoma students gathered on campus on Wednesday to protest the escalating violence in Jerusalem and on the Gaza strip, OU Daily reported.
Mukarram Zuhair, an Oklahoma resident whose family is in Gaza, spoke at the rally and asked for a peaceful solution to the conflict.
‘My entire family is in Gaza. The youngest is three years old…there’s bombing everywhere. Nobody is safe,’ Zuhair said. ‘This is nothing short of a massacre…We love our Jewish brothers and sisters, we love our Christian brothers and sisters. Palestine has always been the home of all people from all faiths, (but) we despise Zionism.’
Bombs in Gaza have killed at least 67 people and at least seven people in Israel are dead, BBC reported.
The White House said on Tuesday that Israel had a legitimate right to defend itself from rocket attacks but applied pressure on Israel over the treatment of Palestinians, saying Jerusalem must be a place of coexistence.
A protestor (pictured) in Chicago holds up a ‘Free Palestine’ sign during a pro-Palestine march on Wednesday
Former president Donald Trump posted to his website, saying that America ‘will always strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself’ as he criticized President Joe Biden over the growing crisis.
Israel carried out hundreds of air strikes in Gaza into the early hours of Wednesday local time, as the Islamist group Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups fired multiple rocket barrages at Tel Aviv and Beersheba.
One multi-story residential building in Gaza collapsed and another was heavily damaged after they were repeatedly hit by Israeli air strikes. Israel said it attacked Hamas targets, including intelligence centers and rocket launch sites.
It was the heaviest offensive between Israel and Hamas since a 2014 war in Gaza, and prompted international concern that the situation could spiral out of control.
Pro-Palestine protestors (pictured) wave Palestinian flags during a rally in Downtown Chicago on Wednesday
Pro-Israeli protestors (pictured) made their way to the Federal Building in East Los Angeles during a rally in support of Israel on Wednesday
As the bloodshed continued on Wednesday so did the rallies.
In East Los Angeles, at least 100 Pro-Israel demonstrators amass outside a federal building to show support for Israel and to call for an end to rocket launching by the Islamist group Hamas, Los Angeles Daily News reported.
Roz Rothstein, chief executive officer of international Israeli education program StandWithUs and organizer of the protest, spoke up in defense of Israel.
‘Israel wants peace,’ Rothstein said. ‘We are calling for an immediate end to rocket attacks and, ultimately, peace.’
In Cleveland, over 500 people gathered and marched to show their support for Israel during the Jewish Federation of Cleveland and the Israeli-American Council’s pro-Israel rally and march.
Rabbi Stephen Weiss of B’nai Jeshurun Congregation in Pepper Pike was among the speakers at the rally, in which participants marched a half mile, Cleveland Jewish News reported.
Weiss told rally attendees to remind others that the conflict has also severely impacted Israelis as well.
‘Do not let your friends and others say, do not stand for the media saying, “Oh Israel, they’re the powerful one. They have the Iron Dome, they aren’t suffering,” Weiss said at the rally. ‘These families suffered unimaginable loss. Our hearts are filled with grief and anguish over the loss of life on both sides. But we affirm strongly that we continue to stand tall alongside Israel, to defend her, to defend Israel’s right to exist in peace and Israel’s right to defend itself.’
In Oklahoma, around 60 University of Oklahoma students (pictured) gathered on campus on Wednesday to protest the escalating violence in Jerusalem and on the Gaza strip
A pro-Palestine protestor (pictured) holds up a sign that reads’ Anti-Semitism is a crime, Anti-Zionism is a duty’ at a pro-Palestine rally in Downtown Chicago on Wednesday
In New York City thousands gathered on Wednesday in support of Israel in Times Square.
The rally, organized by the Israel American Council, drew thousands of impassioned pro-Israel supporters, many with flags in hand, the Times of Israel reported.
‘We need to be there for Israel, and for our brothers and sisters, who are under brutal attack by terror organizations,’ IAC Co-founder and CEO Shoham Nicolet said at the rally.
The pro-Israel rally came one day after Tuesday’s violent pro- Palestine rally in Midtown Manhattan where Israeli and Palestinian supporters clashed, fist fighting just outside the Consulate General of Israel.