Israel’s assault on Hamas militants in the Gaza Stip has spurred cries of support and protest in New York City, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made clear he stands behind the Jewish state’s offensive.
The Palestinian death toll topped 360 by Tuesday morning with most of the dead Hamas militants, the Israeli army said.
Israeli jets continued to strike targets in Gaza, while about 40 rockets were fired into southern Israel from the Palestinian territory.
At home, Mayor Bloomberg spoke Monday in support of Israel’s assault on Gaza.
“New Yorkers certainly know what its like to be targeted by terrorists and the importance of fighting back. I really do want to strongly condemn repeated attacks on Israel and Hamas' decision to break last summer's cease fire," he said.
Pro-Israel groups organized a rally of support outside the Israeli consulate in Midtown on Monday night and dropped leaflets calling on Hamas to adhere to a cease-fire. The group "Stand With Us" said "Hamas and its supporters bear sole responsibility for any harm to Gaza's civilians."
Meanwhile, human rights organizations and pro-Arab groups around New York have decried the violence, saying Palestinian civilians – and not Hamas leaders and institutions – are suffering the most.
The US-based anti-war organization, A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now To Stop War and End Terrorism) has organized demonstrations in several American cities Tuesday to protest the Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip.
Rallies in New York are planned outside of Rockefeller Center and the Israeli Consulate, the organization’s website said.