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Mideast Conflict Tensions Felt at City Hall Rally

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At City Hall Monday, police had to separate protesters on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian debate—not long after White House-brokered peace talks in the region broke down. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.

Pro-Israel elected officials on the City Hall steps, behind the gates and even crashing the news conference.

Pro-Palestinian activists wielding heated charges.

"I do feel that what is happening to the Palestinian people has been a long period of genocide," says Pro-Palestinian activist Chelsea Gregory.

Israel says it's doing nothing of the sort.

It's after missiles deep into Israel, many intercepted by an Israeli defense system.

Hamas launches them from dense neighborhoods in the Gaza Strip.

More than 170 Gazans have been killed in airstrikes, mostly civilians.

Israel and its backers say Islamist terrorists use them use as human shields.

"Hamas has killed many innocent men, women and children. They have a disregard for human life," says Rep. Eliot Engel of the Bronx and Westchester.

Numerous elected officials attended, though they were hard to hear over pro-Palestine shouts.

"I don't even understand why the councilman would be here—standing with Israel. You're standing on the side that's killing people, standing on the side of murder," says Sayel Kayed of American Muslims for Palestine.

White House-brokered peace talks recently broke down. The press secretary was asked if Secretary of State John Kerry plans another visit.

"His dance card has been pretty full for the last few days, but in terms of additional visits, I don't have anything to announce from here," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

Closer to home, Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city's large Jewish population requires him to take a side.

"We all hope and pray for a resumption of the talks that can lead to a long-term solution, but the bottom line here is Israel came under unprovoked attacks by rockets from Gaza, and it has a right to defend itself," says Mayor de Blasio.

Outside City Hall, there were no arrests.

It was tense, however, especially when pro-Israel protesters lined up near pro-Palestinians.

Police separated them.

Within about an hour and a half, both sides had left—for now. With this conflict still raging, the expectation is they will return.

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