Hundreds of protesters chanting "Free Palestine" gathered in downtown Dallas on Tuesday to demand an end to what they called terrorism against Gaza.
A spokesman for a local Jewish organization denounced the protesters' claims of terrorism and defended Israel's recent strikes as a defensive measure against Hamas, which the U.S. has designated a terrorist organization.
In a peaceful demonstration at Dealey Plaza, men, women and young children held signs with a variety of slogans including "Stop the Holocaust in Gaza" and "Israel is the Real Terrorist."
In response to rocket attacks on southern Israel, the government began air assaults Saturday on Hamas-ruled Gaza. Four Israelis have died, and more than 370 Palestinians have been killed.
In a speech to the crowd, Mustafaa Carroll, executive director of the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called for an end to the "bombardment" of Gaza. He said residents have been denied food, water and other necessities.
"Palestine must be given some hope of freedom from Israeli occupation," he said.
The Rev. Charles Stovall, senior pastor of Munger Place United Methodist Church, also appealed for Israel to stop the strikes.
"This is not a Muslim issue. This is not a Jewish issue," he said. "This is an issue of humanitarian rights."
The crowd cheered at his words and chanted: "Occupation is a crime." (MORE)