Pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian protesters brawled in New York City’s Times Square on Thursday just hours after a ceasefire was agreed upon by Israel and Hamas militants that would go into effect at 2 a.m. on Friday.
Numerous vehicles caravaned through Manhattan’s Diamond District waving Palestinian flags and shouting anti-Semitic slurs against Israel and Jews. The district has many Jewish-owned businesses operating there. The NYPD instructed people to avoid “the area of 6th Avenue and 47th Street in Manhattan” due to the escalating violence.
During the chaos, two explosive devices were reportedly pitched into the crowd from a pickup truck in the Diamond District on 47th Street, the New York Police Department told Fox News. Police and the bomb squad would later determine they were commercial fireworks. A 55-year-old woman sustained burns to her lower back. The NYPD’s Arson Investigation Squad is investigating the incident.
The groups were eventually separated by gates but protesters continued to throw bottles and projectiles. They pushed over planters and barriers to block traffic as well. According to the NYPD, multiple arrests were made during the protests and at least 19 people were taken into custody.
(Video Credit: CBS New York)
President Biden commended Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu for “the decision to bring the current hostilities to a close in less than 11 days.”
“The United States fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks from Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups,” Biden declared. “I believe the Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and democracy.”
Biden vowed to help rebuild Gaza and fortify Israel’s Iron Dome system during an address he gave at the White House on Thursday in which he appeared to try to take credit for helping to negotiate the ceasefire.
(Video Credit: Fox News)
Video footage taken by freelance reporter Oliya Scootercaster showed a pro-Israel demonstrator being punched in the stomach after attempting to catch a man who stole an Israeli flag from him.
Violent altercations broke out between the two sides as NYPD officers attempted to separate them. A pro-Palestine protester was also arrested after he tried to grab a man who had taken his Palestinian flag.
Brawl broken out in Times Square between Pro-Israel and Pro-Palestine protesters #HappeningNow
Desk@scootercaster.com for licensing pic.twitter.com/R94HY92PBp
— @SCOOTERCASTER (FNTV) (@ScooterCasterNY) May 20, 2021
— Yossi Gestetner (@YossiGestetner) May 20, 2021
Other videos taken by independent journalist Leeroy Johnson show multiple fights taking place in the middle of Times Square as police try to intervene. The skirmishes were mostly over by 7:30 p.m.
— Leeroy Johnson (@LeeroyPress) May 20, 2021
— Leeroy Johnson (@LeeroyPress) May 20, 2021
In a video that was posted to Twitter on Thursday, a group of men wearing the colors of the Palestinian flag started yelling “f**king Zionist” and other slurs while brandishing a Palestinian flag.
Warning: Graphic Language and Content
Earlier this afternoon on 47th St (the Diamond District), Palestinians attacking Jews pic.twitter.com/aJaJztdGyx
— Daniel Rubin (@DanielYRubin) May 20, 2021
Altercations with the pro-Palestinian protesters occurred in several locations around the city, including a mob that attacked diners at a restaurant.
These are not Palestinian terror supporters. These are actual terrorists on the streets of New York City. Attacking diners for one reason. They’re Jewish. pic.twitter.com/mVrhIh8mCc
— Avi Kaner (@AviKaner) May 21, 2021
The Israeli Consulate in New York stated on Friday: “The demonstrations are larger, more toxic, and unfortunately also more violent. There is a direct connection between Hamas’ stated agenda which is sworn to Israel’s destruction and the slogans of the demonstrators that undermine the legitimacy of Israel as the Jewish nation-state.”
Pro-Palestinian protesters have marched across America for the last ten days and violence has broken out in multiple cities in the U.S. and internationally. On Tuesday, thousands of protesters blocked traffic as they marched down 42nd Street in Manhattan.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitism has dramatically increased in the United States both online and in the streets during the Mideast conflict. As of Thursday, the ADL reported 193 incidents of anti-Semitic incidents during the week since hostilities broke out between Israel and Hamas, compared to 131 the previous week.
There were many reports of “frightening attacks against Jews,” according to the ADL, in New York City on Thursday evening and the organization was in contact with both the NYPD and the FBI.
Frightening attacks on Jews in Times Square of #NYC this evening. Many arrests made. Working with @NYPDHateCrimes and @NewYorkFBI, as well as elected officials and the local Jewish community. Violence is absolutely unacceptable. https://t.co/HbKGaETVBU
— ADL New York / New Jersey (@ADL_NYNJ) May 21, 2021
Today, New York City marched for Palestine. It was a gigantic march, extending down 42nd street, with thousands chanting for a Free Palestine. I’ll share photos and videos in this thread.
— Andy Ratto (@andyratto) May 12, 2021
Hamas has reportedly fired 4,000 rockets at Israel during the confrontation and the Israeli air force has launched airstrikes throughout the Gaza Strip taking out top Hamas leaders. The current ceasefire was brokered by Egypt.
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