Palestinians protest in US after violence escalates in Israel and Gaza

Scuffles break out between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine groups in New York City

Follow the latest updates as violence escalates in Israel and Palestine

Pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli protesters clashed in the streets of New York City on Tuesday evening as tension continued to escalate in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

About 1,000 protesters expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people demonstrated outside the Israeli consulate in midtown Manhattan.

Their protest was met by a counter protest by supporters of Israel. The situation grew tense as small scuffles broke out between the two groups. Several people were knocked to the ground during the altercation.

"If you want peace, leave Al Aqsa alone, leave the West Bank alone, leave the Palestinians alone, leave the Middle East alone," one protester told The National.

It was one of several protests in support of the Palestinians across the US on Tuesday.

In Washington, dozens of people gathered outside the US State Department building to express their outrage over the US government's support of Israel as well as its response to the unrest in Jerusalem.

“As US tax payers and residents in the United States, we are funding the Israeli apartheid, we are funding ongoing settler colonialism and the removal of these families,” said Noura Erakat, a prominent Palestinian American and human rights lawyer. “Israel could not maintain its domination, could not maintain its impunity, without the support of the United States.”

Violence broke out in Jerusalem last week after an Israeli court ruled to evict several Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.

Over the past two days, Israeli air strikes in Gaza killed at least 32 people, including 10 children, according to Palestinian health officials.

Rockets launched by Hamas peppered the sky over Israel throughout the day, although the vast majority were intercepted by Israel’s state-of-the-art Iron Dome missile defence system.

According to the Israeli military, three people were killed by rocket fire and dozens more injured in what is one of the most significant escalations of violence in the region since 2014.

In Washington, Roula Malki, 51, who was born in Jerusalem but has lived in the US since 1979, said she felt let down by the Biden administration's silence in the face of what was happening in her home town.

“[There are] just horrific things going on, especially the children, innocent people, going through what they go through every single day. It's just a shame. Nobody should have to go through that. It's very inhumane,” she said.

Ms Malki said US citizens had a duty to hold their government accountable for what it did abroad.

Rashida Tlaib, a US congresswoman who is Palestinian American, spoke to the crowd of protesters in Washington.

Earlier in the day, the representative from Michigan condemned the State Department on Twitter for its response to questions about Palestinians’ right to self-defence.

Updated: May 12, 2021 11:12 PM

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