More than 2,000 people arrived Saturday night at Rabin Square to 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."
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."