Friday, January 02, 2009

Israeli demonstrations against the Gaza War

Update. Peace Now is also calling for an immediate halt to the bombing and finding a political solution.

Gush Shalom is organizing a rally for tomorrow. A statement of demands:

The killing in Gaza continues. Hundreds have been killed, thousands injured, air-strikes have caused utter devastation and entire families are left homeless.

Civilians in the south of Israel are being held captive by a government which lies to them and abuses them. Destruction and death in Gaza will not ensure their future, but rather lead to more violence and killings.

Join us in protest this coming Saturday, 3.1.2009, in Tel Aviv. Together we will call out:

Stop the Killing! No to the Siege! Yes to life for both peoples!

In these dark days, let us stick to our message:

Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies!

Our demand: A full truce and the lifting of the siege on Gaza NOW!

Please note: For the past week mass arrests have been carried out amongst Palestinian citizens of Israel who are exercising their democratic right to protest. On Saturday, at 13:00, before the Tel Aviv demonstration, a mass protest rally will be held in Sakhnin by the High Committee of Arab Israelis against the killing in Gaza. Please make an effort to join – your presence is of the essence!

Demonstrations this week in Israel against the Gaza War

21 activists protesting Gaza op detained. "Left-wing activists arrested after attempting to block entrance to Sde Dov military airfield in bid to prevent pilots from 'taking off to bombard Gaza civilians.'" This demonstration was held today. The group was from "Anarchists Against the Wall." The sign they're carrying reads "The blood of children is on your hands." [See their website for a detailed report on a variety of Israeli left-wing demonstrations against the Gaza war - War on Gaza met with dissent].

Protesters call on PM to talk with Hamas.

Left-wing activists from across Israel demonstrated Thursday evening in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in protest of the IDF's continued military operation in Gaza, and called for an immediate ceasefire.

Some 200 people assembled outside the official residence of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem, and urged him to order the military to halt the fighting. "Our main message is – 'Children in Gaza and Sderot want to live'," said Ofer Neiman, one of the rally's organizers.

[The Hebrew signs at this rally read "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies" and "The IDF and Hamas are fighting on our account"].

Neiman explained that he and his friends sought to draw attention to the suffering of civilians on both sides. "We call not only for a ceasefire with Hamas, but for a comprehensive truce with our neighbors in order to resolve the core issues and find a way out of the cycle of bloodshed.

"The notion that Israel is completely right and the Palestinians are completely wrong is false and gives legitimacy to anti-humanitarian acts in the Gaza Strip," he stated.

According to Neiman, among the rally's participants were several Sderot residents who are members of the "Different Voice" organization, which calls for dialogue with the Palestinians in Gaza.

Meanwhile in Tel Aviv locals went out on their bikes to protest the operation in Gaza and the rocket fire on Israel. Hagai Matar told Ynet: "Some 40 bike riders gathered at the Rabin Square. This is a routine activity to protest the occupation, but we took this opportunity to call for an end to the fighting."

Matar said that "disproportionate" police forces attempted to forcefully disperse the protest.

"We left the place and reassembled somewhere else, rode through Rothschild Boulevards and Allenby Street and spoke to the passersby," he said. "We wanted to help people become aware of the complexity of the situation and of the fact that there are alternatives to the fighting, that dialogue is possible."

Matar noted that the group did not only sympathize with one side of the conflict. "We believe that the solution is dialogue. This is the only way to stop the suffering. The fact that we have been able to spread the message is very important to us, and it is important to keep that up," he concluded.

Police allow anti-war protesters to raise Palestinian flags "Following pressure exerted by High Court, police decide to reverse decision not to okay march against Gaza op if participants wave PA flags. The police announced Friday during a High Court hearing that it would allow left-wing protesters to raise Palestinian flags during a rally calling to end the military operation in Gaza."

Violent riots in Jerusalem; officer hurt. "Hundreds of Arabs clashed with police forces Friday throughout Jerusalem after religious services concluded in the Temple Mount and the capital's mosques."

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