NYC reaction to conflict in Middle East - New York News

NYC reaction to conflict in Middle East

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MYFOXNY.COM -

New Yorkers on both sides of the Mideast conflict are voicing their concerns Sunday as police intensify protecting Jewish temples during the strife. 

"Free Gaza, free Gaza!" 

Sunday, there was support for Gaza on one side of 42nd Street and on the other side of the street. 

"We're not here to fight against Israel or Palestine, we're here for the children of Palestine, for humanity itself," said Faten Simri, who supports Palestinians. 

"Hamas wants war, we want peace," by a pro-Israel group protesting on 42nd Street. 

A slightly smaller, but no less vocal pro-Israel group offered their opinion. 

"It has gotten in a point in the last two days over 800 rockets have been fired and Israel is defending itself," said Israel supporter Raquel Amram. 

Today marked the deadliest of the five days of fighting between the Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza after an Israeli drone strike intended to take out a Palestinian militant killed 11 – including woman and children. 

As the conflict escalates on both sides of the Israeli-Gaza border, tensions are also mounting in New York. 

Majdi Jaber brought his family to the pro-Gaza rally because he is frustrated with the United States support for Israel. 

"If the U.S. doesn't get involved and deal with the core issues of what's going on, there's always going to be this -- nobody wants to see innocents getting killed," said Jaber. 

Across the street, Shiri Betzalel says she fears for the safety of her Israeli family. 

"I'm a mother of three, I'm sure in Gaza there are mothers sitting, hugging their children that didn't do anything, and I'm feeling really, really bad for them -- but on the other side my friends' kids are sitting in fear, afraid to go to school, afraid to go out," said Betzalel. 

The situation overseas is on the mind of not just those who turned out to rally in Times Square but of everyone with ties to the region, including the Jews and Muslims who came together as a part of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding's Twinning project to feed the homeless in Harlem Sunday afternoon. 

"It really shows that despite that there are a large number of Muslims and Jews here in New York and in other parts of the world who are saying we have to work together, we're not going to let what's happening there prevent us from being together, connecting with each other, building ties and working for the good of the larger society," said Walter Ruby, Muslim Jewish Program Director, Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. 

"We're giving the message that Muslims and Jews are not fated to be enemies but that we can build ties with friendship and trust, and that's a very important message for our brothers and sisters in Israel and Palestine to hear," said Ruby.

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