By +972 BlogPublished August 16, 2014
10,000 protest in Tel Aviv for a just peace, end to occupationUnder a coalition of Israeli left-wing political parties and organizations, thousands gathered in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square in the largest anti-war demonstration since the outbreak of violence in Gaza.Some 10,000 Israelis flooded Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square under the slogan “Changing direction: toward peace, away from war” in the largest anti-Gaza war demonstration in Israel since the outbreak of hostilities more than one month ago.Thousands gather at a pro-peace rally in Tel Aviv, calling for a just peace and an end to violence in Gaza, Tel Aviv, August 16, 2014. (photo: Activestills)The protest was scheduled to take place last week, but was postponed after the police and Home Front Command revoked its permit, ostensibly to stop large gatherings during a time when missiles were being fired at Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities. Roughly 500 non-aligned activists flooded Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square anyway, in defiance of the ban.At tonight’s demonstration the major left-wing parties, including Meretz and Hadash, as well as Peace Now and other left-wing organizations, joined tonight’s demonstration, calling for a wide range of demands, from continuing negotiations between Israel and Hamas to an end to the occupation and Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Many who have demonstrated throughout the past weeks of hostilities expressed disappointment at Meretz and Peace Now for their refusal to support anti-war demonstrations until now.Meretz MK Zehava Gal’on addressed the protest, affirming that her party was against the Israeli military operation in Gaza all along. She lashed out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for not immediately recognizing the Palestinian unity deal and instead choosing war.To large applause, Hadash MK Mohammad Barakeh stated in Hebrew and Arabic, “We are building a partnership against the occupation, for a free Palestine.” He continued, “We are here for a two-state solution, for life and a future for people in Gaza and the South.”Famed Israeli author David Grossman addressed the large crowd, saying, “We won’t be able to breathe deeply in Israel as long as people in Gaza feel choked,” adding, “We will always be neighbors with people in Gaza. We must live together.”Israel author David Grossman speaks to a crowd of 10,000 anti-war protesters in Tel Aviv, August 16, 2014 (photo: Activestills)Naomi Tzion, a resident of Sderot, called on the crowd to think of those in Gaza who have now been made refugees twice or thrice, adding, ”The true spitting in the face of the residents of Sderot? The attempts to paint us all as a single stereotyped collective.” Gaza is “the biggest jail in the world,” she continued.Along with anti-war sentiment, protesters expressed their anger at the Israeli government for its lack of leadership, chanting “Bibi, go home!”According to the protest organizers, the demonstration was organized to send the following message to Israel’s political leaders:“The next round of fighting can be prevented. No to the way of wars – we must have a political solution! After an agonizing month of war and death, in the face of mounting waves of incitement and hatred, which increasingly tear up the Israeli society, we stand up to demonstrate for peace and for democracy.”The rally at Rabin Square came two days after another demonstration was held to express solidarity with the residents of communities along the Gaza border.
Pro-peace rally held in Tel Aviv amid Gaza truce talks
Right-wing activists plan counter-demonstration; police forces deployed in city.By Ilan Lior | Aug. 16, 2014 | 9:46 PMThousands gather at a pro-peace rally in Tel Aviv, on day 40 of Operation Protective Edge, Aug. 16, 2014.Photo by Moti MilrodAuthor David Grossman speaks at a pro-peace rally in Tel Aviv, Aug. 16, 2014.Photo by Moti MilrodThousands of demonstrators gathered Saturday evening for a pro-peace rally in Tel Aviv under the slogan, “Changing direction: toward peace, away from war.”The rally at Rabin Square comes two days after another demonstration expressing solidarity with residents of communities along the Gaza border.Right-wing activists planned a counter-demonstration, which will be held nearby at the same time. The Israel Police is planning to keep the two camps apart.At the main rally, which began at 8 P.M., speeches were slated to be made by author David Grossman, journalist Zuheir Bahloul, Meretz chairwoman Zahava Gal-On, Hadash chairman Mohammed Barakeh, a resident of Sderot, a representative of bereaved families and other left-wing activists.The rally was originally due to take place last week, but was postponed at the request of the police and the Home Front Command, which prohibited gatherings of more than1,000 people at the time in the Tel Aviv area.The event's Facebook page states that, “following a painful month of war and death, in view of waves of incitement and hatred that are tearing apart Israeli society, we call for a demonstration for peace and democracy. The next round (of violence) can be avoided. We don’t have to sink into an abyss of ever-crueler wars, of extreme hatred and a destruction of our neighbors and ourselves."Only an agreement will ensure long-term security and quiet for residents of the south and of the entire country. There is another way – immediate dialogue with Palestinians to ensure a fair peace, the opening of Gaza and a determined stand of Arabs and Jews against racism and for life. Only a two-state political solution will guarantee independence, justice, security and hope for all people living in this land.”Speaking at the demonstration, Meretz chairperson Zahava Gal-On lashed out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying, he has failed miserably, not as a result of this operation, but of refusing for five years to take the diplomatic path to peace.Gal-On accused the prime minister of a "diplomatic freeze: refusing to adopt the Arab Peace Initiative; the so-called blowup of the talks with (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) Abu Mazen after 9 months, the breakdown of U.S.-Israel relations, the refusal to recognize the Palestinian unity government, and the widely authorized building in the settlements, which destroyed any chances of a peace agreement with the Palestinians.”She continued, “You could have achieved the framework you’re willing to accept now without paying the price of 64 dead soldiers and civilians, the death of 2,000 Palestinians, and the horrible destruction in Gaza, including almost half a million people uprooted from their homes.”During his speech, author David Grossman, said “Neither side in this war has a victory picture. There are only indescribable images of death and destruction. Every image depicts defeat for both peoples."There is no military solution for the conflict between Israel and Hamas. There is no military solution that will end the suffering of Israelis in the south and the inhumane suffering of people in Gaza. People in Israel won’t be able to breathe freely either, until the stranglehold on Gaza is lifted."Many streets in the area were closed during the rally.==================================
Gal-On calls for Netanyahu's resignation at Rabin Square rallyOn Saturday night at Rabin Square, in a rally for a political solution to the Palestinian conflict, many carried signs proclaiming "Whoever doesn't want peace is making excuses" and "Yes to democracy, no to incitement." Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On called for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to tender his resignation at the rally. "Bibi, you failed. You need to leave the keys and go home. You failed this badly because of five years of refusing diplomacy, of refusing to adopt the Arab Peace Initiative."Gilad Morag
Published: 08.16.14, 21:18 / Israel News
Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On at Rabin Square rally (Photo: Motti Kimchi)Gal-On harshly criticized the prime minister. "You failed because of your refusal to recognize the Palestinian unity government, the destruction of our relations with the United States and the obsessive building in the territories."The demonstration was organized by two left-wing parties, Meretz and Hadash (the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality), as well as Peace Now and the forum for bereaved families.
Leftwing protest in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square (Photo: Motti Kimchi)Gal-on also said: "We had enough of the silencing and the incitement. Two days ago we came out here to support Gaza-border residents. The agreement which you are now ready for could have been reached without paying the ultimate price of 64 fallen soldiers and 2,000 Palestinians."Gal-On further criticized Netanyahu's inaction during Operation Protective Edge. "What did you do Mr. Prime Minister? You dragged us into a war of choice in Gaza. You threw Hamas a lifeline and provided them achievements for no reason. You proved to the extremists that you only understand force."Hadash MK Mohammad Barakeh, and noted Israeli author David Grossman also spoke at the demonstration.Yona, a protester from Kfar Saba, said she came to "protest because, unfortunately, the Left has been silent too long and all you hear is the Right. That's why we came to show we exist. The solution we should have adopted long ago is to return the territories for peace; it will be much harder to achieve today."Tali, another demonstrator, said that "we better protest while we still can, because I have a feeling they don't want us to talk."The protest is being held under the banner of "Taking a turn towards peace."Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz, one of the rally's organizers, said: "It is our right and our obligation to call for a political solution which is the only solution that will assure peace and security. No one will silence us or scare us."From BLOG 972