Thousands of people gathered in central Tel Aviv Saturday evening to attend a rally protesting Israel's continued occupation of the Palestinian territories. The event was organized by left-wing groups including Meretz, Peace Now and Anarchists Against the Wall.
The protesters marched from Rabin Square to the Tel Aviv Museum, where they held a big rally.
Rallying in Tel Aviv (Photo: Niv Calderon)
During the colorful march, participants shouted slogans against the occupation and raised signs saying, "The occupation corrupts," "The settlements – Israel's catastrophe," and "The occupation – a disgrace."
Two bereaved parents, a Palestinian father and an Israeli mother whose children were killed as a result of the ongoing conflict, spoke at the rally.
Bassam Aramin, one of the founders of Combatants for Peace and whose daughter Abir was killed by IDF fire about six months ago, said that violence could not resolve the conflict, and that only negotiations could end this terrible situation.
"The reason Israelis are not allowed to enter the territories is that your politicians are afraid that the people would find out the truth about what's going on there. and the truth is that your children have become bad children, without any red lines, who are making the Palestinians' life unbearable."
Nurit Peled-Elhanan, whose daughter was killed 10 years ago in a terror attack in Jerusalem, said that her and Bassam were "two victims of the cruel occupation, which has been corrupting this country for 40 years… what unites us is not just the death that the occupation has imposed on us, but the desire to raise our other children in a peaceful way, not in a way of violence and wars."
Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer said that it was time to act quickly before the opportunity for peace is lost.
“The past 40 years have been years of loss, during which we could have used the victory in ’67 in order to reach a diplomatic agreement and make peace. It may almost be too late, both countries’ trains are about to leave the station.
“The occupation is the destruction of Zionism. The extreme price we are paying, in all aspects, for remaining in the territories, is an existential threat,” Oppenheimer said.
Yonatan Pollack and fellow members of "Anarchists against the Wall" made sure they were heard throughout the protest by yelling with the accompaniment of drums.
Pollack accused Israel of practicing apartheid in the territories and called on the international civilian population to act in order to force Israel to stop the occupation.
“The State of Israel is creating a reality of separation in the territories, with strategic and ideological motives, not security ones. The civilian population of the world should boycott Israel in various ways,” Pollack said.