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Protesters Take To NYC Streets As Israelis, Palestinians Move Closer To War

NYPD Blocks Off Area Around Israeli Consulate, Boosts Security At Synagogues
A plume of smoke rises over Gaza during an Israeli air strike, as seen from Sderot on November 15, 2012 in Israel. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

A plume of smoke rises over Gaza during an Israeli air strike, as seen from Sderot on November 15, 2012 in Israel. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It appears Israel is on the brink of war.

Rockets were launched at Tel Aviv on Thursday, marking the first time such an attack has happened since 1991. Israel appeared poised to move ground troops into Gaza.

While violence escalating in the Middle East, tensions were flaring on the streets of New York City, too.

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The NYPD had the entire area around the Israeli consulate blocked off Thursday night. There was also increased security at Israeli government facilities and synagogues all over the city, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported.

There were also plenty of protesters. They stood on opposite sides of Second Avenue near the consulate. Israeli and Palestinian supporters shouted and waved signs, protesting each other and the violence thousands of miles away.

“Today the Israeli people and the Israeli government are saying enough is enough,” Israeli Consul General Shahar Azani said.

“I think Israel is using a disproportionate amount of force in a small urban area,” Palestine supporter Niccolo Moretti said.

The emotions ran high in the city as Israel began moving troops toward the Gaza Strip and authorized the call of reservists for a possible ground invasion.

A family of three was killed when a rocket was fired into an Israeli apartment building on Thursday.  Later, Palestinian rockets hit Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest city. No one was killed.

“It doesn’t just frustrate me, it pains me. There are innocent men women and children being killed,” pro-Israel protester Hillary Barr said.

Palestinian militants fired more than 200 rockets into Israel on Thursday, the violence escalating just a day after Israel assassinated the chief of the militant group Hamas.

“The most important thing is to stop those rockets from hurting and possibly murdering, which it already has, millions of people in Israel. The international community has to come forward and do something to stop it,” Israel supporter Sarri Singer said.

The White House stood behind Israel on Thursday.

“Since the beginning of 2012, more than 768 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza,” State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said. “They have a right to self-defense.”

People on the streets of New York City said they were fearing for their families.

“My mother was running from side to side in her house today. She didn’t know what to do with herself,” pro-Israel protester Jacob Kimchy said.

“To watch and see at home, to see all those innocent children and what’s happened to them, it’s just not right,” pro-Palestine protester Randa Abdullah said.

“It’s enough. There should be no more. This has been way too much,” Ayah Bazin added.

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