By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As Israel’s prime minister says he will not cave in to international pressure to stop a military offensive in the Gaza Strip (see related story), Israel supporters in Philadelphia were rallying outside the Israeli consulate in center city.

Yaron Sideman, the consul general of Israel in Philadelphia, told the crowd at 19th and JFK Boulevard that Hamas has been indiscriminately firing rockets and missiles into Israel.

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“Over one million people in Israel have been living the better part of their time in bomb shelters,” he said.

He said that more than six million people — 75 percent of Israel’s population — are within range of those rockets being launched from Gaza.

Sideman (below) says that unlike Hamas, Israel is not targeting civilians.  He says Israeli Defense Forces make phone calls to specific areas they are about to strike.

(Yaron Sideman, Israel consul-general, speaks to rally.  Photo by Steve Tawa)

(Yaron Sideman, Israel consul-general, speaks to rally. Photo by Steve Tawa)

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“Show me an army in the world that does that — urging them to leave before the bombing takes place!” Sideman noted.

But the UN’s top human rights official says the Israeli air campaign may violate international laws prohibiting the targeting of civilians.

Sideman also said that Israel is treating, in Israeli hospitals, civilians from Gaza in need of medical treatment, and border crossings are open to Gaza to allow supplies in.

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