Anti-Israeli Rallies Held in SF

Bay Area groups protesting the Israeli military's attacks on Gaza rallied Tuesday evening in front of the Israeli consulate in San Francisco, the third consecutive night of local demonstrations that have so far been peaceful.

Tuesday night's event was part of a national day of action organized by Palestinian and civil rights groups that are condemning Israel's offensive, now in its fourth day, as a massacre.

Nathalie Hrizi, a San Francisco elementary school teacher and organizer for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, one of the groups involved, said a large group was expected.

"The word's getting out and I think people are very angry about what is going on in Palestine," Hrizi said.

Groups marched and rallied in downtown San Francisco on Sunday and Monday, calling for an end to the Israeli attacks.

No arrests were made, according to San Francisco police spokeswoman Sgt. Lyn Tomioka. She said there would be a police presence outside the consulate as well.

Since Saturday, Israel has conducted a series of air strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza, following Hamas rocket attacks into Israel.

The Israeli response has left more than 300 dead, including some civilians, according to a United Nations report.

The U.N. report said hundreds more wounded in Gaza lacked proper medical care, and that blockades of Gaza have prevented essential humanitarian aid from getting to the area.

A statement released Tuesday by the regional Jewish Community Relations Council backed the Israeli action.

"Israel has exercised extraordinary restraint as Hamas, a terrorist organization that controls Gaza, has continued its attacks against Israelis living in cities and towns within range of its rockets," said Rabbi Doug Kahn, the council's executive director.

"No government, including Israel's, could be expected to refrain from responding to protect the lives of their citizens," Kahn said.

Hrizi said other local Jewish groups have expressed support for an end to the offensive.

She said the issue is not religious, but rather "an issue of the occupation of Palestine, and the resistance to that occupation."

Tuesday night's demonstration began in front of the consulate, located at 456 Montgomery St.

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