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As Middle East Tensions Continue, NYers On Both Sides Debate

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Word of a cease fire in the Middle East hostilities proved premature Tuesday as fighting continued. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in the region, in New York, supporters on both sides of the conflict continued to speak out. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

There was talk of a cease fire Tuesday, but no evidence of it. As the Israelis continued their air assault on Gaza, killing scores of Palestinians and mobilizing troops along the border, Hamas continued launching rockets into Israel. Amid the fighting, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Jerusalem, hoping to help defuse the crisis.

"President Obama asked me to come to Israel with a very clear message: America’s commitment to Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering," Clinton said. "That is why we believe it is essential to de-escalate the situation in Gaza.”

Clinton called for the end to rocket attacks from terrorist organizations, a sentiment echoed in New York, where dozens of elected officials turned out Tuesday to stand behind Israel.

"What are the Israelis to do? Sit back and allow the reign of terror? Allow their people to be shelled?" said Rep. Eliot Engel. "No country would do that."

"You cannot negotiate with someone who’s already taken an oath to kill and extinguish you," said Rep. Charles Rangel.

Many, of course, see things differently. Raja Abdulhaq of American Muslims for Palestine said that if anyone should invoke a right to self-defense, it’s those in Gaza.

"Gaza is still under occupation, and in international law and Geneva conventions, people that live under occupation can use any necessary means, all kind of resistance, to actually resist the occupation," Abdulhaq said.

For now, prospects for peace are uncertain.

"Now, if there is a possibility of achieving a long-term solution to this problem through diplomatic means, we prefer that," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "But if not, I’m sure you understand that Israel will have to take whatever action is necessary to defend its people."

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