About 1,000 people attend pro-Israel rally in T.O.
Published Sunday, January 18, 2009 7:11PM EST
About 1,000 people crowded Yonge-Dundas Square Sunday afternoon to show their support for Israel.
The rally, organized by university and college students across the Greater Toronto Area, is one of several that have been held in the city since the conflict began in Gaza three weeks ago.
The rallies have been put on by sympathizers from both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Demonstrators at the rally said Israel is defending itself against Hamas, a militant group that has fired thousands of rockets into Israel over the last several years.
Israel has been accused of being heavy-handed in its response. Hundreds of Palestinian civilians have been killed in this latest round of violence.
One person at the rally said he's sad about the civilian casualties but wondered what Canada would do if it was put in a similar situation.
"Every single loss of life is a tragedy, but Israel has a right to defend itself," said Daniel Furman. "Canada, if it were in Israel's position, would do the same thing."
Dozens of police officers attended the scene to keep the peace as a small group of Palestinian supporters also showed up at the rally to voice their opinion.
"I am a Jew but I do not support the actions of any state that commits the kind of crimes Israel has committed," said Kathy Wazana.
The rally took place just as Hamas agreed to halt the violence for one week, a day after Israel agreed to a ceasefire.
Participants at the rally said they're eager for a long-term solution to the mideast conflict but said they are skeptical about any short-term plan for peace.
"I don't believe that it will last very long," said Marek Frodis. "That's because Hamas is ideologically and principally against the existence of Israel."
With a report from CTV Toronto's James MacDonald