NEW YORK (PIX11) — A pro-Palestine rally was held in Times Square on Sunday after Hamas attacked Israel in the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, organizers said.

Hundreds of demonstrators with pro-Palestinian flags and signs descended on 42nd Street and Broadway at around 1 p.m. The protesters were met by another group supporting Israel, forcing the NYPD to create barriers between the crowds.

“It’s 75 years an Israeli regime founded on violence on the displacement,” the event organizer said at the rally.

The Israel supporters sang the country’s national anthem and waved the nation’s blue and white flag. For them, it was a terrorist attack.

“What are you protesting for, you barbarians,” a woman said.

The fighting was still underway on Sunday, more than 24 hours after the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched an unprecedented incursion into Israel. The fighters took captives back into the coastal enclave, including women, children, and the elderly, who they will likely try to trade for thousands of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. 

Israeli media reported least 700 people were killed and 2,000 wounded in the attack. Hamas fighters took an unknown number of civilians and soldiers captive in Gaza. A line of Israelis with missing relatives snaked outside a police station in central Israel to supply investigators with DNA samples and other means that could help identify their family members.

Gov. Kathy Hochul spoke out against the rally, calling it “morally repugnant.”

“The people of Israel are facing violent terrorist attacks and civilian kidnappings. I condemn plans to rally in Times Square in support of the perpetrators of these horrific actions. The planned rally is abhorrent and morally repugnant,” Hochul said on social media.

The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting on Sunday afternoon to discuss the conflict, officials said.

New York City has the largest Jewish population outside of Israel, leading many local officials to condemn the surprise attacks against Israel.

“We extend our sincerest condolences for all the innocent lives lost in these attacks, and hope that not another family has to experience the pain of losing a loved one,” Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement Saturday.

–Associated Press material was used in this report.

Mira Wassef is a digital reporter who has covered news and sports in the New York City area for more than a decade. She joined PIX11 News in 2022. See more of her work here.