Paris Flash 90

Hundreds of riot police in Paris deployed near the Israeli Embassy on Thursday for the first major pro-Israel rally since the start of the latest Gaza war, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

Several thousand people turned out for the rally, waving signs with slogans like "Gaza hostage of Hamas" and "We protest for peace," according to the report.

According to Reuters, the protesters numbered around 4,500, who came out in response to a call made by the Jewish community's umbrella group CRIF.

Parisian protester Esther Azoulay told Reuters she was demonstrating to call for peace in the Middle East.

"Israelis have a right to live, we are a peaceful people, we do not want war, we want peace, let us have peace please, we want peace, we do not want to kill people, we are sad, really unhappy to see all these poor Palestinians die. It's unnecessary. They must live as well, but we want peace, tell Hamas: 'stop'," she said.

Thursday’s pro-Israel protest came after several anti-Israel protests took place in Paris and other cities in France, some of them turning violent.

Protests in Paris and a suburb that had initially been banned descended into chaos. Similar earlier demonstrations saw hundreds of Muslim extremists attacked a major synagogue in Paris, provoking clashes with Jewish youths who rushed to defend the site and worshippers trapped inside.

There have been anti-Israel protests throughout Europe, including many which have descended into anti-Semitism. In Berlin, footage of one such protest showed hundreds of demonstrators chanting in German, “Jew, Jew, cowardly pig, come on out and fight on your own”.