At a demonstration held on Tuesday, May 15, in the northern Arab city of Umm al-Faham, which was organized by the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, the head of the Joint List Knesset faction, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash), said: “The Arab population in Israel, along with Jewish democratic forces, is fighting against the slaughter in Gaza. We call for a peace agreement based on the 1967 lines.”
At the same event, Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen (Hadash) said: “It is our right and even our duty to express our identification with our people [the Palestinians], whom the army has been slaughtering for the past several weeks along the Gaza border. I condemn the provocation by the police forces and the special forces who came [to these demonstrations armed] with weapons and ammunition, despite the fact that they were democratic and non-violent.”
On Tuesday, mass protests were held in the Arab cities of Majdal Krum, Umm al-Fahm and Rahat. Additional demonstrations were held in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. In Haifa, five people were arrested on “suspicion of disturbing the peace.” Demonstrations were also held in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion and Haifa universities. In Beer-Sheva, near Ben-Gurion University, police arrested several students.
In Tel Aviv, hundreds demonstrated outside the Likud Party headquarters on the King George Street, holding signs and chanting slogans against the occupation. At one point, the demonstrators shut down King George Street, marching down and shutting down one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares. “The 60 people who were killed come from a place of immense pain — pain that has no hope, no water, no work, no future, nothing,” said Yeela Raanan, a prominent member of the Communist Party of Israel (CPI) and an activist with Another Voice, a movement of Israelis from communities near Gaza and Palestinians from inside Gaza. “As long as our neighbors suffer, so too will we suffer,” Raanan continued, adding that the Israeli government could end the siege if it wanted to.
In Jerusalem, hundreds of Israelis held a quiet demonstration outside the Prime Minister’s Residence and then marched to the newly opened US Embassy. There, too, the protesters blocked the road.
The Communist Party of Israel (CPI) issued a statement on Tuesday in which it “strongly condemned the crimes of the Israeli Occupation against unarmed Palestinian protesters in the March of Return rally in Gaza; crimes that killed more than 60 persons, including children and persons with disabilities. This terrible massacre will not stop the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people for its freedom, an ongoing struggle being waged for the last 70 years.”
The CPI statement went on to denounce the official opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, saying: “This is a provocative step, overruled by the majority of the world’s nations and states, as well as by the Palestinian people and all seekers of peace both locally and internationally. This move, along with the US withdrawal from the nuclear treaty with Iran, embodies the direction the Trump-Netanyahu-Reactionary Gulf regime pact is heading towards – blurring the conflict’s origin in the region and transforming it from a struggle against the Israeli occupation and the American hegemony into a religious conflict while ignoring the Palestinian Issue.”
“The CPI calls for broad mobilizations and participation in the activities organized by the Higher Follow-Up Committee for the Palestinian Population in Israel in the Arab villages and towns, including mass involvement of its cadres in the activities being organized across the country by the CPI, Hadash and the Young Communist League of Israel (YCLI). The CPI also calls upon all forces for peace in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beer Sheva and Jerusalem to protest against these war crimes and for a Just Peace, primarily one that brings about the establishment of a Palestinian State on the borders of 1967 with East Jerusalem as its Capital.”
“The CPI also calls upon all fraternal parties, Left and Progressive forces throughout the world, to strengthen their solidarity with the Palestinian people against the Israeli occupation and its crimes, and to fully-reject the American policies which are driving the entire region to an abyss.”