Rally in Tel Aviv
Photo: Yaron Brenner
Protesters pray in Tel Aviv
Photo: Yaron Brenner
Photo: Yaron Brenner
Pullout objector in Tel Aviv
Photo: Yaron Brenner

'Stop pullout, go to polls'

Settler leaders call on Prime Minister Sharon to go to polls, vow to head for settlements to prevent disengagement. About 150,000 pullout objectors gathered in Tel Aviv to demonstrate against evacuation

(VIDEO) Protest at the square: 150,000 protesters gathered in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv Thursday evening to protest against the disengagement, in what was the last large protest of its kind planned before the official pullout start date, August 15.


Before the rally, police officials said they do not intend to estimate the number of protesters at the event. Protest organizers, however, said about 300,000 people demonstrated at the square and around it.


The demonstration began with the sayings of psalms by Binyamin Regional Council head Pinchas Wallerstein.


Pullout foes flock to Tel Aviv (Video: Yaron Brenner)


“We came here today to say: Gush Katif, I swear allegiance to you forever, north Samaria, I swear allegiance to you forever. We came here to say that we will do everything to fight and stop the expulsion machine,” said Wallerstein.


Yesha Council Chairman Bentzi Lieberman addressed Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in his speech at the protest, saying, “We’ve already said that this program is destructive and must be put to a national referendum, or general elections. Its impossible to take such a harsh step, which no other country in the world has ever initiated, this way. We said that we would accept the will of the people. And we are saying now, after the resignation of the finance minister (Netanyahu) that we know that elections are coming up close behind your program of destruction.”


“Go to the polls now and we will accept the will of the people. We said that if you don’t do that, we will be there (in Gush Katif). The phenomenon of people crying out against the expulsion program, day after day, week after week, is unprecedented in the history of Israeli democracy,” said Lieberman


Lieberman claimed that in the past six months, two million people have taken part in the fight against disengagement. He added that “the day of the order has, to our sorrow, arrived, and we will be in Gush Katif and northern Samaria. I call on all of you to whom democracy is important, and everyone who values the Land of Israel and its residents.


Sderot mayor Eli Moyal told the rally “We will repeat this until those in Jerusalem hear us – there won’t be a disengagement. This move cannot be taken in the face of the love on display here.”


Moyal also addressed Sharon, saying, “In another three to four months, there will be elections. Where are you hurrying to – go to the polls or hold a national referendum and we will accept the democratic decision.”


Rabin Square fills with protesters (Photo: Yaron Brenner)


Demonstrators protested under the banner: “Gush Katif, I swear we will be there.” The police have said that they are not planning on estimating the number of protesters who will take part.


Police to change gear


At the same time, a situation analysis by police chiefs and Minister for Internal Security Gideon Ezra concluded with a decision to bring police to an emergency status from Sunday onwards across the country, in preparation for the disengagement.


Settler leaders for their part have also made contingency plans, and the Yesha Council has prepared an ‘alternative leadership’ which will replace the current settler leadership in case current leaders are arrested in the coming days. Some Knesset Members are thought to be part of the standby leadership team.


Earlier in Tel Aviv, many signs have been put up in Rabin Square, featuring some of the slogans often used in recent months to protest the pullout, including: “The Disengagement will bring terror,” “Fact: Sharon is expelling Jews under fire,” and “We love the IDF.”


Stalls have been set up in the area selling books, and orange flyers are being widely distributed.


Around 2,000 police are securing the event, and a heavy police presence been placed around the memorial to murdered prime minister Yizhak Rabin, who’s assassin cited plans to divide Israel as the reason for the murder.


Meanwhile, coffee drinkers sitting around the square in Tel Aviv were preparing for a “performance” which will see mostly secular Tel Aviv locals meet with visitors not usually seen in great numbers in their city.



פרסום ראשון: 08.11.05, 22:03
 new comment
This will delete your current comment