Protesters carried signs bearing various slogans, such as “There’s another way”, “Stop the gunfire”, and “Two peoples, one hope” while some Palestinian flags were hung.
Violence broke out on Friday after tens of thousands of people in the Gaza Strip marched near the Israeli border in the “March of Return” during which the IDF killed 16 people in Gaza—among them at least 10 Hamas terrorists—and wounded over 1,400.
The protesters in Tel Aviv were comprised of activists from Standing Together, Another Voice, Combatants for Peace, Peace Now, The Forum for Bereaved Israeli-Palestinian Families, Hope Instead of War, Meretz, Breaking the Silence, Hadash, Zazim and Gush Shalom.
“During the festival of liberation, Gazans came to search for their freedom and came under live fire,” said Hadash activist and MK Aida Touma-Suleiman from the Joint List.
“The Bibi-Lieberman government prepared the ground for the slaughter and fired without blinking at the civilians, at the children and women who were looking for their freedom,” she added. “We stand here in the heart of Tel Aviv to say not in our name. Enough with the wars, enough with the killing.”
“We came here this evening to protest against what happened in Gaza—a march to the fence that ended in a terrible tragedy with the death of victims and thousands of wounded,” said MK Dov Khenin, also from the Joint List.
“We demand that these incidents are investigated … but an investigation is not enough,” he continued. “We must change direction. We cannot continue to ignore the turmoil and threats in Gaza. We demand that the government stop this escalation and the incitement.”
One member of the Stand Together movement said: “On this day we have a choice. We either go in the direction of hope or the direction of despair. We either choose another needless war that will bring about additional bereavements on both sides, destroy the Gaza Strip and collapse the residents of Gaza, or choose to go for hope for all of us, Israelis and Palestinians,” he declared.
This was the way, he added, that would fix the Israeli southern city of Sderot and Gaza. “The way that will remove the blockade and bring back growth for Sderot. The way that will bring back girls and boys to Rafah,” a city in Gaza, “and to Kissufim,” in the Negev.
Ofer Klaffah, a Sderot resident and activist for Hope Instead of War said that people’s heads must be buried in the sand “to think that the siege on Gaza and the humanitarian crisis won’t explode on all our faces.
“The argument of who is more guilty—Hamas, the right-wing government or the Egyptians—won’t help the problem and serves to increase conflict and quarrel between us,” he added. “Security has to be protected, but you can’t shoot on people who don’t constitute a threat to your life.”