On Eve of Eurovision Competition, Tel Aviv Protest against Gaza Siege

A protest demonstration against Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip will be held in Tel Aviv on the eve of 2019’s Eurovision Song Contest. The competition is scheduled to take place at Tel Aviv’s municipal convention center with two semi-finals on May 14th and 16th, and the finals on May 18th. The demonstration will be held Tuesday evening, May 14, starting at 7 pm, at the Habima Square in Central Tel Aviv.

In a statement issued towards the protest the organizers of the demonstration wrote: “One year ago, as hospitals in Gaza were overflowing with wounded protesters, the masses in Tel Aviv celebrated Netta Barzilai’s Eurovision victory. This year we will not take part in this absurd and cynical performance. We refuse to continue “business as usual,” while less than 100km away, millions of people on both sides of the fence pay the price of our apathy. On May 14, one year after the shooting deaths of 64 protestors during the Great March of Return Protests in Gaza, we will take to the streets to demand an end to the siege of Gaza and a better future for all of us.”

“The consequences of the past year’s events are devastating: over 250 Palestinians are dead and tens of thousands wounded; the entire region is under constant threat of escalation; and residents of southern Israel are subject to frequent attacks. The pressing need for a courageous decision is clear – we must put an end to the cycle of violence. Sporadic “relief efforts” are not a solution. A life of dignity for all the people in the region is not optional – it is a demand that cannot be ignored.”

“Israel’s new government must change its policy concerning Gaza. It must recognize its responsibility and obligations towards the civilian population remove the blockade and respect the rights of the people of Gaza: freedom of movement, freedom of profession, the right to protest, the right to health and above all, the right to live in dignity.”

“The hackneyed claims that the Great March of Return Protests are a threat initiated by Hamas overlooks the democratic character of the demonstrations and the greater context they are taking place in: the ongoing Israeli blockade and the ensuing humanitarian crisis, within a history of over fifty years of military occupation and over seventy years of displacement and exile.

The crisis in Gaza as well as the price paid by citizens of southern Israel is neither decreed by fate nor a natural phenomenon. It is time to end the siege on Gaza. It is time to bring back the hope that a just solution can and must be reached – for all our sakes.”

Among the organizers of the protest: Hadash, the Communist Party of Israel, Young Communist League of Israel (Banki-Shabiba), Mesarvot, Academy for Equality, Another Voice, Meretz Fight the Occupation Forum, Amnesty International – Israel, Ta’ayush, Parents Circle Families Forum, Coalition of Women for Peace, All That’s Left: Anti-Occupation Collective and Combatants for Peace.

The Facebook page for the upcoming May 14th demonstration in Tel Aviv: