Canada
Israeli military prepares as violence, protests escalate

A soldier stands next to an Israeli flag as he prepares an armoured personnel carrier (APC) at an area near the border with the Gaza Strip November 16, 2012.

Credits: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

IAN ROBERTSON | QMI AGENCY

TORONTO - Pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel demonstrators waved flags and banners while yelling taunts and slogans Thursday across a busy mid-city street outside the Consulate General of Israel in Toronto.

"Stop the killing in Palestine" was repeated in a crowd of 300 on Bloor St.'s south side - including some with "Jews against Israel's war crimes" signs - while 50 Jewish Defence League and Jewish Defence League (JDL) members across the street cried: "Stop the bombing, stop the hate."

The pro-Palestinian rally, including Socialist and Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) members, was held one day after Israeli's military killed an Islamist leader, with Hamas firing reciprocal rockets.

Standing on a podium, a woman called for the "Israeli war machine" to end, adding the world "should not be slaves to the Holocaust."

Across the street, Jewish Defence League spokesman Meir Weinstein said "we're here to support Israel and we're hoping the Israeli government dismantles Hamas once and for all," calling many of the southside critics "the far left, who never miss an opportunity to defend Hamas."

Separated by rows of Toronto Police officers, there were no physical clashes.

Repeatedly stopping mid-intersection to raise her "I shall not hate" sign, Aseel Elbaba appealed for peace on both sides.

Elbaba, 23, a marketing sales manager of Lebanese descent, for innocent people on both sides to be heard and survive "they should be on the same side."

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