Defenders of Israel, Palestinians hold rallies

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Thousands of supporters of Israel rallied near the United Nations on Sunday to declare that the Jewish state's two-week-long military action in the Gaza Strip is an act of self-defense.

"For the last three and a half years, Israel's been bombarded daily by a number of rockets coming from Gaza," said Gov. David Paterson, one of a dozen elected officials who addressed the crowd that filled a block of 42nd Street. "The founding charter of Hamas calls for the obliteration of the State of Israel."

In Thornwood, the Upper Westchester Muslim Society held an event to show solidarity for Palestinians in Gaza.

More than 800 Palestinians have died in the Israeli offensive, which began Dec. 27 in an attempt to halt years of Palestinian rocket attacks. Militants from Hamas, the elected leadership in Gaza, launched barrages of rockets Sunday at the Israeli city of Beersheba and at the town of Sderot.

AP wire services were used in this report.

Muslim society sponsors event to show solidarity with Palestinians

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