With rockets aimed at Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, as well as Tel Aviv and surrounding suburban areas, violent riots engulfing the country and world leaders condemning both sides, conflict is beginning to escalate to American streets, where pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protests are being held across the United States.
Terrorist groups in Gaza launched hundreds of rockets at central and southern Israel since Yom Yerushalayim on Monday, May 10, killing several Israelis and an Indian national, and wounding dozens more. In response to the ongoing attacks, which have been accompanied by violent rioting inside Israel, including in the city of Lod and the Temple Mount, the IDF has struck hundreds of targets in the Gaza Strip.
“Hamas and terrorist organizations are committing a double war crime by indiscriminately firing at civilian population centers from within an incredibly dense civilian population,” said Acting Israel Consul General Israel Nitzan, in a press briefing. He added that the briefing was being held primarily to correct errors and lies being perpetrated by Hamas and reported in the international press, including an amplification and misrepresentation of the death toll.
“Hamas rockets have failed at a high rate, killing multiple children while launching from crowded neighborhoods in Gaza. Hamas continues to distort the numbers by counting these as Israeli casualties. The media must question Hamas’ reporting,” Nitzvan said.
Mickey Rosenfeld, spokesman for the IDF national police, said in the same press briefing that the city of Lod had been placed on a curfew to attempt to calm the “almost a pogrom” situation the IDF had encountered on its arrival. He reported that 500 police officers had been placed on patrol there to dispel violence, where Israeli Arabs were “pulling Jewish neighbors out of their homes,” in an attempt to kill them.
In a statement, OU President Mark (Moishe) Bane said: “Israel’s enemies are committed to her destruction. They do not seek peace; in their own words, they seek to wipe Israel off the map. As Israelis are forced to endure sleepless nights and uncertain days in bomb shelters, neither will we fully rest until these attacks have ceased and our brothers and sisters in Israel safely return to their homes. We pray for the families of those who were killed and for the speedy recovery of all the injured.”
The National Council of Young Israel made the following statement: “The utter disregard for human life exhibited by Hamas, a terrorist organization whose very existence is predicated upon the destruction of the State of Israel and murdering Jews, is repugnant and reprehensible.
“Condemnation from the international community in the face of this crisis is critical and we sincerely hope that our representatives in government will stand with Israel and support a key ally of the United States in the face of a brutal terrorist attack against its citizenry.”
On Tuesday, May 11, pro-Palestinian protesters held a demonstration outside the Israeli consulate in Manhattan. Hundreds gathered for the demonstration to voice their condemnation of Israel, blaming it for the recent escalations, in support of the Palestinian people.
The demonstration, dubbed the “Emergency Rally for Palestine,” featured a flyer that instructed pro-Palestinian protesters to report to the Israeli consulate in New York. The word “Israeli” was crossed out in the flyer, however. “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” it read. Embassy staff were sent home on Tuesday due to safety concerns.
A group of pro-Palestinian protesters ended up clashing with a contingent of counter pro-Israel demonstrators positioned along the marching route of the “Emergency Rally for Palestine” protest, which ran down 42nd Street. The protesters, who were each barricaded off from one another, attempted to lung past police officers to attack one another.
In another video, a man covered in blood was seen being escorted by police to safety after a chair was allegedly thrown at him for making distasteful comments toward pro-Palestinian protesters, according to social media reports. A subsequent video shows police arresting the alleged suspect on suspicion of throwing the chair at the pro-Israel protester.
Pro-Palestinian protests were scheduled to take place across the world, with protests to take place in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and across Europe. More pro-Israel protests were scheduled for Wednesday, May 12, in cities across the United States; Arizona, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Cleveland, Colorado, Florida, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando and Seattle.
As the violence in Israel worsened, the Israeli American Council issued an “emergency call to action.”
“We need to be there for Israel, and for our brothers and sisters, who are under brutal attack by terror organizations,” said IAC Co-founder and CEO Shoham Nicolet.