Anti-Israel protests held around the world amid Gaza violence

Anti-Israel protests are held around the world following dramatic escalation of violence with Hamas as air strikes continue to bombard Gaza Strip

  • Thousands have taken to the streets in New York, London, Istanbul, Johannesburg and other major cities
  • Pro-Palestinian supporters are calling on Israel to stop the bombardment which has seen dozens killed
  • Israel’s military responded after over 130 rockets were fired into their territory from Gaza 
  • Tensions throughout Ramadan exploded into a riot on Temple Mount on Monday that left hundreds injured 

Protests have broken out around the world in support of Palestinians amid the violent clashes with Israel in the Gaza Strip.

The disputed area is under the most intense bombardment since 2014, with Israel unleashing a huge firestorm on the territory in response to Hamas missiles.

Thousands in New York, Washington DC, London, Istanbul and other major cities across the globe have taken to the streets to show their support for Palestine, often directing their protests at Israeli embassies and buildings.

The renewed confrontation, following weeks of tensions and clashes in contested Jerusalem, was sparked on Monday evening when Hamas fired a barrage of missiles towards Jerusalem. 

It continued into the early hours of Wednesday morning, with more rockets being fired by the Islamist group into Tel Aviv, and by Israel into Gaza.

The Palestinian death toll was at 36 on Wednesday morning, with ten children among the dead, while five Israelis are believed to have been killed in the conflict so far.

LONDON, UK: Supporters of Palestine attend an emergency ‘Rally for Jerusalem’ outside 10 Downing street in London as protests broke out around the world against Israel

NEW YORK, US: Almost a thousand of people gathered in front of the consulate general of Israel to protest attacks on the Gaza Strip

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA: Demonstrators gather outside the Israel Trade office in South Africa on Tuesday as violence escalated between the rival powers

ISTANBUL, TURKEY: Protesters set fire to an Israeli flag during a demonstration in front of the Israeli Consulate in Turkey as people around the world took to the streets

WASHINGTON DC, US: Pro-Palestine demonstrators wave a large flag in front of the White House as they called on Joe Biden and Antony Blinken to stop Israel’s eviction of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in east Jerusalem

BERLIN, GERMANY: A group of Palestinians gathered by the Brandenburg Gate in the German capital to stage a protest against attacks by Israeli forces

LOS ANGELES, US: People hold up signs and wave Palestinian flags during a protest against Israel and in support of Palestinians outside the Israeli Consulate in LA

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS: People holding banners and Palestinian flags stage a demonstration to protest Israeli attacks on Palestinians at Masjid al-Aqsa in Jerusalem

KARACHI, PAKISTAN: The West Bank is under the most intense bombardment since 2014, with Israel unleashing a huge firestorm on the territory in response to Hamas missiles

BEIRUT, LEBANON: A protest led by refugees in Lebanon saw many take to the streets to criticise the latest escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip

KUWAIT CITY, KUWAIT: Banners, flags and placards were held aloft by protesters outside the National Assembly Building on Tuesday

MADRID, SPAIN: Protests throughout the world have broken out in response to the renewed escalation of conflict between the rivals in the Middle East

RABAT, MOROCCO: Police try to hold back protesters holding up a peace sign as they staged a demonstration in support of Palestine

KHARTOUM, SUDAN: Many waved Palestinian flags to show their support amid the violence which has seen dozens killed in the West Bank

TUNIS, TUNISIA: People holding Palestinian and Tunisian flags stage a demonstration to protest attacks by Israeli police in Gaza

HEBRON, WEST BANK: Palestinians respond to Israeli intervention during clashes in the West Bank on Wednesday amid the violence

GAZA CITY: Smoke and flames rise on Wednesday after Israeli warplanes conducted airstrikes amid the renewed conflict in the disputed zone

In New York City, Israeli and Palestinian supporters clashed during the demonstrations as police struggle to keep the two groups apart.

Footage taken outside the Israeli consulate in Manhattan shows protesters fighting over barricades after workers had been sent home over safety fears. 

Other video clips show fights breaking out in the streets of New York City as punches are thrown. One man was pictured covered in blood after he was hit with a chair during the bitter confrontations. 

Elsewhere, demonstrations took place in Washington DC and Los Angeles as hostilities between Israel and Hamas escalated overnight.

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. 

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. 

NEW YORK: A police officer tries to separate pro-Palestinian from pro-Israel demonstrators during a rally near the Consulate General of Israel in New York on Tuesday

NEW YORK: A pro-Palestinian protestor, right, scuffles with pro-Israel demonstrators, left

NEW YORK: A Pro-Palestinian supporter argues with Israeli supporters during a protest near the Israeli Consulate following a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence

NEW YORK: A pro-Palestinian protestor (R) is pulled back by police officers during a scuffle with pro-Israel demonstrators (L) during a rally near the Consulate General of Israel in New York, New York

NEW YORK: A man is covered in blood and led away by police after being hit with a chair by protestors as people attend an Emergency Rally For Palestine in Manhattan

Violence also erupted in London as pro-Palestine protesters clashed with police during a demonstration against the continued conflict in the Middle East.

Activists waving flags, banners and placards, featuring messages including ‘Hands Off Jerusalem’, took to the streets of the English capital on Tuesday to call for an end to the growing unrest.

Former Labour Jeremy Corbyn was also in attendance, addressing thousands of demonstrators who gathered in the city.

But it is understood tensions flared when police attempted to escort away a small group of pro-Israel counter-protesters.

At one point, footage appears to show a demonstrator seemingly deliberately landing on top of two counter-protesters.

Apparently jumping down from above the activist plants both feet on the back and neck of the two counter-protesters before being accosted by officers. 

The demonstration in London, held opposite Downing Street, attracted thousands following recent protests in Jerusalem against the eviction of Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah.

LONDON: Supporters of Palestine attend an emergency ‘Rally for Jerusalem’ outside 10 Downing Street on Tuesday

LONDON: At one point, footage appears to show a demonstrator seemingly deliberately landing on top of two counter-protesters

LONDON: Former Labour Jeremy Corbyn was also in attendance, addressing thousands of demonstrators who gathered in the city

LONDON: Police officers escort a small group of pro-Israeli counter-demonstrators during a pro-Palestinian protest outside Downing Street

LONDON: A group of people holding a Palestinian flag climbed over a London red bus during a pro-Palestinian demonstration

LONDON: A small group of pro-Israeli people holding banners and placards gather outside Boris Johnson’s office in Downing Street

The global protests come as Hassan Kaogi, head of the Hamas military intelligence security department, and his deputy, Wail Issa, head of the military intelligence counterespionage department, were killed by Israeli fighter jets, the IDF said.

Yair Revivo, mayor of the Israeli city of Lod, called for army back-up to help secure the area, saying ‘civil war’ was breaking out as residents clashed following the funeral of an Arab man killed by a Jewish local. 

Greta Thunberg sparks anger with Israel posts 

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has been criticised on both sides for her Twitter posts about the conflict in Gaza.

The 18-year-old retweeted messages by Malala and Naomi Klein which accused Israel of committing ‘war crimes’ 

After she was criticised by pro-Israeli supporters, the activist backtracked and said: ‘To be crystal clear: I am not “against” Israel or Palestine. Needless to say I’m against any form of violence or oppression from anyone or any part. 

‘And again – it is devastating to follow the developments in Israel and Palestine.’

This prompted a backlash by pro-Palestinian supporters who slammed her for trying to remain neutral on such a divisive issue.

One response, liked 20,000 times, read: ‘I understand you weren’t alive in the last 70 years, but if you don’t fully understand the matter and just wanted to express your neutrality about this injustice, it’s better to not have spoken about it.’

Another wrote: ‘If you’re still neutral, then you’re part of illegal occupation and oppression. By that means, you’re also endorsing the killing of innocent Palestinians. Shame on you.’

‘This is Kristallnacht in Lod,’ said Revivo, in reference to the Nazi pogrom against German Jews in 1938.

‘I have called on the prime minister to declare a state of emergency in Lod. To call in the IDF. To impose a curfew. To restore quiet.

‘There is a failure of governance. 

‘This is a giant incident – an Intifada of Arab Israelis. All the work we have done here for years [on coexistence] has gone down the drain.’ 

Revivo said his city was spiraling out of control.

‘All of Israel should know, this is a complete loss of control,’ he said, according to The Times of Israel.

‘This is unthinkable. Synagogues are being burned. Hundreds of cars set alight. Hundreds of Arab thugs are roaming the streets. 

‘Civil war has erupted in Lod. 

‘The Orthodox-nationalist community here has guns. I’m imploring them to go back home but they understandably want to protect their homes. Petrol bombs are being thrown into [Jewish] homes. The situation is incendiary.’

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared declared a state of emergency in Lod, and reinforcements were sent to the area after clashes broke out.

Netanyahu on Tuesday said he ‘deplored’ the deaths in Israel, adding that the country’s military would ‘further increase both the intensity and the rate’ of its own air strikes against Gaza.

‘Hamas will be hit in ways that it does not expect,’ Netanyahu said, before the announcement of the third woman’s death in Israel. 

‘We have eliminated commanders, hit many important targets and we have decided to attack harder and increase the pace of attacks.’ 

The homes of three Hamas commanders were destroyed overnight on Wednesday.

A significant barrage begun at 3am local time, with Israel firing into the Gaza Strip.

‘In response to HUNDREDS of rockets in the last 24 hours, the IDF has struck a number of significant terror targets and terror operatives across the Gaza Strip, marking our largest strike since 2014,’ the IDF confirmed. 

‘We are currently striking more terror targets in Gaza.’  

AMMAN, JORDAN: The global protests come as Hassan Kaogi, head of the Hamas military intelligence security department, and his deputy, Wail Issa, head of the military intelligence counterespionage department, were killed by Israeli fighter jets, the IDF said

WASHINGTON DC: Demonstrators hold signs backing Palestine and opposing Israeli aggression gather outside the US State Department 

ISTANBUL: Pro-Palestinian demonstrators, waving Syrian opposition flags, shout slogans during a protest against Israel near the Israeli Consulate in Istanbul

JOHANNESBURG: Demonstrators gather outside of the Israel Trade office in Sandton during a protest against Israeli attacks on Palestinians

WASHINGTON DC: A woman standing on a mock wooden tank speaks to pro-Palestine protesters near the White House

ISTANBUL: Protesters set an Israeli flag on fire during a demonstration against Israel in front of the Israeli Consulate in Istanbul

WASHINGTON DC: U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib speaks in support of Palestine at a demonstration outside the State Department

ISTANBUL: Thousands gathered in a show of support for Palestine in Turkey as the worst violence since 2014 broke out between the rivals

JOHANNESBURG: A group of South Africans hold banners during a demonstration to protest Israeli attacks on Palestinians

On Tuesday afternoon, Trump posted to his website, saying that America ‘will always strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself’ as he criticised Biden over the growing crisis. 

Earlier, the White House had said Biden was being briefed on the escalating situation.    

Israel’s Iron Dome defence system continued to struggle with the volume of rockets being fired from Gaza on Tuesday evening, after an Israeli air strike caused a 13-storey residential building to collapse in Gaza City. 

The cross-border violence has been fuelled by Israel’s evictions of Muslim communities living in east Jerusalem which led to angry riots breaking out on Temple Mount over the weekend, with hundreds left injured on Monday as riot police shot rubber bullets and fired tear gas at protesters.

Why are violent clashes taking place in Jerusalem?

When did the protests start?

From the beginning of Ramadan in mid-April, Palestinians clashed nightly with Israeli police, who put up barriers to stop evening gatherings at the walled Old City’s Damascus Gate after iftar, the breaking of the daytime fast.

Palestinians saw the barriers as a restriction on their freedom to assemble. Police said they were there to maintain order.

Why did the violence flare up again?

An Israeli Supreme Court hearing was due on May 10 in a long-running legal case about whether several Palestinian families would be evicted and their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood near Damascus Gate that was given to Israeli settlers.

Some settlers have already moved into the street affected – living next door to the Palestinians facing possible removal.   

As the court hearing neared, Palestinians and left-wing Israelis began holding larger demonstrations, saying more evictions could cause a domino effect throughout the overwhelmingly Palestinian neighbourhood.

Sheikh Jarrah also contains a site revered by religious Jews as the tomb of an ancient high priest, Simon the Just, leading to frequent tensions between Palestinian living there and religious Jews visiting it.

International attention

The case, in which a lower court ruled that the land in question belonged to Jews in East Jerusalem before the 1948 War, has gathered domestic and international attention, amid criticism of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem.

On Sunday U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan spoke to his Israeli counterpart to express ‘serious concerns about the potential evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood,’ the White House said. read more

And United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed ‘his deep concern over the continuing violence in occupied East Jerusalem, as well as the possible evictions of Palestinian families from their homes,’ U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Sunday.

What next?

On Sunday the Supreme Court hearing on the evictions was postponed, pushing at least one flashpoint past the end of Ramadan and allowing more time for a resolution. A new session will be scheduled within 30 days. read more

Monday is Jerusalem Day, Israel’s annual commemoration of its capture of East Jerusalem during the 1967 war. The event usually sees a march through the walled Old City by Jewish pilgrims, including ultra-nationalists, which could be another flashpoint.

Why is Jerusalem so sensitive?

Politics, history and religion.

At the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City is the hill known to Jews across the world as Temple Mount – the holiest site in Judaism – and to Muslims internationally as The Noble Sanctuary. It was home to the Jewish temples of antiquity. Two Muslim holy places now stand there, the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest place in Islam.

Christians also revere the city as the place where they believe that Jesus preached, died and was resurrected.

Israel sees all of Jerusalem as its eternal and indivisible capital, while the Palestinians want the eastern section as a capital of a future state. Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem is unrecognized internationally.

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