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Europe

Taking to the Streets

As tensions in the Middle East flare, Europeans are taking to the streets in both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

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Israel has stepped up its military offensive

Protests have been held all over the world demanding the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank and pledging support to the Palestinian people.

In Morocco, an estimated one million people gathered in the capital Rabat in an officially-sanctioned demonstration on Sunday.

In Rome, around 50, 000 people took to the streets – the largest demonstration in Europe realated to the current crisis in the Middle East.

But there were also pro-Israel demonstrations.

Demonstrators took to the streets of Paris and other French cities on Sunday to express their solidarity with Israel, expressing their outrage at the recent wave of anti-Jewish violence.

Waving Israeli flags, protesters marched from the Place de la Republique to the Place de la Bastille in Paris, chanting in French and Hebrew and carrying signs that read "Yesterday New York, today Jerusalem, tomorrow Paris".

The demonstrations are occurring against a backdrop of escalating tensions in the Middle East during an Israeli military offensive into the West Bank.

Violence in the West Bank has stirred strong emotions in France, which has both large Arab and Jewish communities, and coincided with a series of attacks on Jewish targets within the country. France is home to 600,000 Jews, the largest Jewish comunity.

On Saturday, arsonists threw petrol-filled bottles into a Jewish sports club in the southern city of Toulouse, a day after a unexploded bomb was found in a Jewish cemetery in Strasbourg which was attacked by arsonists last week. And attacks on synagogues have also occurred in Montpellier, Marseille and Paris in recent weeks.

The pro-Israel demonstrations took place a day after pro-Palestinian marches in cities across France, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy and Switzerland.

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