Some 400 left-wing activists demonstrated Saturday opposite the Erez Crossing in northern Gaza, calling for Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians.
The protest, organized by Peace Now, was held under the title, “Only negotiations will stop Qassams.”
Addressing the rally journalist Gideon Levi declared that there is no room for comparisons between Sderot
and Beit Hanoun.
“Sderot is weeping over one victim, while Beit Hanoun mourns 80,” Levi said.
Fatah leader Sufian Abu Zaida was barred from entering Israeli territory, and therefore spoke to the crowds with the aid of a cell phone and loudspeaker. Abu Zaida asserted that solutions were not bound up in military action.
“Whoever plans the next military operation, Defensive Shield 2 or 10, must be told, ‘You tried this a thousand times. It won’t stop the Qassams. The only solution is two nations for two peoples.’”
MK Haim Oron (Meretz) was present at the demonstration as well, and called on the IDF not to send its brigades into Gaza.
The protest’s organizers passed through Sderot on their way to the Erez Crossing and tried to recruit residents of the rocket-battered township, but few came to join.
Despite this, Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer said that he has information revealing that area residents are weary of the military operations, and do no believe that they will bring an end to the Qassam attacks.
"People who expressed support were hesitant to come to the protest, but we take into account that it's because of the ire it would raise among other residents."
Oppenheimer stated that the drive through Sderot was quite short, in order to respect those city residents who keep the Sabbath.
"We thought up the protest after the incidents in Beit Hanoun, but after the fatal rocket on Sderot, the residents of the city were foremost in our mind," Oppenheimer said.
"We'll keep going until residents of Sderot themselves will join us, because it's clear even now that this is a never-ending cycle. I hope the IDF isn't preparing another fruitless operation."