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Renewed Fighting in Gaza Sparks More Protests

Renewed Fighting in Gaza Sparks More Protests
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Renewed fighting between Gaza's Hamas fighters and Israeli government forces has claimed new casualties, including a Palestinian boy. In Washington and elsewhere, it has sparked fresh protests against civilian deaths.

Demonstrators from all over the United States and other parts of the world gathered outside the White House Friday to protest violence in the Middle East. The rally drew supporters for both sides in the conflict, as did one last Saturday that brought thousands of protesters to Washington.

"We are with pro-Palestine [movement], but we don't want Israeli civilian deaths either," said Roza Tawil, an organizer of the pro-Palestinian protest. "We are against civilian deaths. ... Hospitals have been attacked, schools have been attacked, children are being killed, and we think that's a tragedy in itself, and we are here to stand against that."

Another demonstrator, Marleen May said she came “to show my support for Israel and hopefully so people realize that Hamas is the one that's at fault here, not the civilians in Gaza, but Hamas."

Samir Hineidi of Fairfax, Virginia, left, and an unidentified man demonstrate outside the White House in Washington, Aug. 8, 2014.
Samir Hineidi of Fairfax, Virginia, left, and an unidentified man demonstrate outside the White House in Washington, Aug. 8, 2014.

While some protesters objected to attacks on civilians on both sides, others blamed Israel and the United States.

"They are destroying that city," said Samir Hineidi, a Syrian man now living in the Washington suburb of Fairfax, Virginia, said of Gaza. "That part of the world is being destroyed, demolished."

West Bank shows support

Hundreds of Palestinians across the West Bank demonstrated Friday in support of their brethren in Gaza, clashing with Israeli security forces who tried to disperse them.

In Jordan's capital, Amman, some 20,000 Muslim Brotherhood activists and supporters staged a pro-Hamas rally. The group’s members have been incensed since losing power in Egypt last year.

Zaki bin Rashid, a senior leader, said negotiations and compromises have failed.

"Only resistance will stay, which has achieved victory in Gaza, and it is capable of achieving victory from Jordan, Egypt and Syria," Rashid said. "The people who are leading nations today must listen to these protesters."

Toll on children escalates

Violence between Israel and Hamas erupted again on Friday after a 72-hour cease-fire expired without extension. A 10-year-old boy was killed in Gaza City.

Chris Tidey, a spokesman for UNICEF in Geneva, said at least 447 Palestinian children had been killed in four weeks of fighting – more than in the two most recent conflicts combined. Three weeks of fighting in 2008-2009 killed 350 youngsters; a weeklong battle in 2012 killed at least 34.

The current conflict has claimed 277 boys and 170 girls between the ages of 10 days and 17 years, Tidey said. Two-thirds of these children were 12 or younger.

The White House on Friday urged Israel and the Palestinians to resume talks and do what they can to protect civilians.