Two separate rallies were held outside the Israeli Consulate in New York Tuesday – with a police barricade separating pro-Israeli demonstrators from an anti-war rally condemning Israel for its four-day bombardment of Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.
Hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators waved Palestinian flags and called on the international community to help Palestinian civilians caught in the crossfire.
Just across a police barricade on 42nd Street, a smaller, pro-Israeli demonstration was held. It came on the heels of a larger rally Monday in which pro-Israel groups handed out leaflets blaming the current violence squarely on Hamas. Meantime, the consulate set up a Twitter account and took live questions about the conflict.
For a second day, Mayor Michael Bloomberg expressed support for the Israeli campagin.
"There's no such thing as a measured response to terrorism," he said.
At the United Nations headquarters just blocks away, world leaders urged Israel and Hamas to immediately end the fighting.
Israel said its punishing, four-day air campaign on Hamas strongholds is aimed at ending the barrage of militant-fired rockets launched from Gaza into the country's south. Even as the air attacks continued, rockets also continued to land in southern Israel Tuesday. Hamas said rocket attacks won't end until Israel lifts a crippling blockade of Gaza.
More than 370 Palestinians have been killed since the Israeli air onslaught began Saturday, including at least 60 civilians, the United Nations said. At least four Israelis have been killed in the past several days by the rocket attacks, and many others have fled to bomb shelters.