Monday, June 5, 2017 was the 50th anniversary of the start of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, which culminated in the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. On Monday evening, a Jewish-Arab demonstration against the occupation was held in Haifa to mark half a century of Israel’s military rule of the Palestinian territories captured during the 1967 war. The demonstration began at 21:30 at Paris Square, and from there hundreds of participants marched to Ben-Gurion Boulevard where a rally was held. Among the demonstrators were Hadash MKs Ayman Odeh, Dov Khenin, Youssef Jabareen and Abdullah Abu-Ma’aruf; and leading activists of the Communist Party of Israel (CPI).
At the rally held following the march, Orly Nathan from Women in Black said: “Fifty years are far too many! Israel is currently commemorating 50 years since the Six-Day War, a war in which it conquered Gaza, the Golan Heights and the West Bank, and established military control over millions of Palestinians. We, activists for Peace, are working to resolve the conflict by ending the occupation and all forms of violence between the two peoples. We believe that 50 years is long enough. Don’t say ‘A day will come’ – bring the day! During the past few weeks, we have held various events to call for a solution to the conflict through dialogue and an end to the occupation.”
In his words to those assembled, Issam Makhoul, former Hadash MK and one of the leaders of the CPI, said: “Remember how we felt during the last war in Gaza; with the missiles that landed in Sderot, in Beersheba, in the Gaza border area and in Tel Aviv? With the fear? The anxiety? The enormous worry? The unnecessary death? We know that you remember, as the residents of Gaza remember the bombs that fell on them from the air, the distress, the terror, the children who simply died. Neither they nor we want all this to return. Both they and we know that another war is never the solution. In order to put an end to wars, we must put an end to the occupation and reach a peaceful solution between two independent states. Israelis and Palestinians living here deserve a peaceful life and justice. Let’s embark on a struggle against those who want to perpetuate the present situation and shape our future ourselves.”
Makhoul added: “The occupation that began with the June 1967 war continues to be the political and ideological watershed for Israeli society. In light of the crimes of the occupation and the frequent wars that exact such heavy human and social price, advocates of peace and democracy continue their campaign to end the occupation and to transform the lines of June 4, 1967, into a border of peace between two independent states – Israel and Palestine – with two capitals in Jerusalem.”