About 150 demonstrators attended a rally in central Tel Aviv Friday to protest the expected Israeli response to Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza. The rally was organized by the Coalition against the Gaza Siege and by the Hadash movement.
"I suggest that we go the other direction," said Hadash Knesset Member Dov Khenin. "Our power is our tragedy. One powerful blow will not bring the end. They will respond with rockets and eventually we'll embark on an all-out war. Going in the other direction means reinforcing the lull, securing a ceasefire, and lifting the siege that only serves to unite the population around Hamas."
MK Khenin addresses the crowd (Photo: Adam Levinson)
"A genuine peace process will be engaged in vis-à-vis the Palestinian Authority, led by Abbas," he said. "What's tragic here is that it's possible. We just need the desire."
Khenin added that it is "essential to secure a prisoner swap that would include Gilad Shalit." When asked why fewer Israelis object the war in Gaza, he said: "People lost their hope. They realize that what's happening is bad, yet they think there's no other option. Yet we are not destined to be the victim of history."
Another rally participant, 80-year-old Hava Keller, said that she has been demonstrating at the same street corner for the past 21 years.
"I understand that the demonstrations don't help, but it's better than not demonstrating," she said.
Meanwhile, Jaffa resident Yuval Ben-Ami said: "Two years ago I protested at the same site, before the Second Lebanon War. We were ostracized and referred to as traitors. Yet several months later, all the people who made fun of us carried their own signs to Rabin Square and protested against Olmert's policy. I really hope that we won't have yet another reason to say: 'We told you so.'"
Sharon Roffe-Ofir and Amnon Meranda contributed to the story