Protests in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Universities against Deadly Military Escalation in Gaza

Hundreds gathered outside the headquarters of the Likud in central Tel Aviv beginning at 6:30 pm on Tuesday evening, May 11, to rally against the escalation in Gaza and for a political solution to the occupation of the Palestinian territories. The demonstration was organized by Hadash (the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality – the Communist Party of Israel) under the slogans: “Two Jerusalems [Israeli and Palestinian], only one peace”; “Changing direction – towards peace, away from war”; and “Palestinian lives matter.” Many of the demonstrators carried red flags and signs proclaiming, “Israel-Palestine – Two states for two people,” “Stop apartheid,” and “Yes to democracy, no to fascism.”

Hundreds gathered opposite the headquarters of the Likud in central Tel Aviv on Tuesday evening, May 11, to rally against the military escalation in Gaza.

Hundreds gathered opposite the headquarters of the Likud in central Tel Aviv on Tuesday evening, May 11, to rally against the military escalation in Gaza. (Photo: Zo Haderech)

Demonstrations under the auspices of Hadash were also held at the same hour in Haifa and with one in Jerusalem starting at 8:00 pm. The demonstration in Haifa was brutally attacked by police and 27 protesters were arrested, one of whom is the coordinator or the Russian caucus in Hadash. In Jerusalem, two hundred people rallied in the center of the western part of the city near Zion Square. One young protester was arrested.

Police also attacked students who held a protest at the Ben-Gurion University in Be’er Sheva on Tuesday morning. Four students were injured. Another demonstration was held at Antin Square at the entrance of Tel Aviv University.

The organizers of the protests issued a statement ahead of the events saying, “We must end the war and start talking with the recognized Palestinian leadership of the West Bank and Gaza to end the occupation and the siege and to achieve independence and justice for both peoples – in Israel and Palestine.” The statement went on to say, “Instead be being drawn, again and again, into more wars and more military actions, it is now time to lead the way to dialogue and a political settlement. There is a political solution. What price must we pay – the people of the South and the other residents of Israel, and the people of Gaza and the West Bank – until we reach that solution? Together, Jews and Arabs, we will overcome occupation and war, hatred, incitement and racism – and offer a path to life and hope.”

In Lod, hundreds gathered on Tuesday for the funeral of 25-year old Moussa Hassouna who was mortally wounded by gunfire during a protest that was held in that city on the backdrop of the escalating tensions in Jerusalem, the night before the most serious recent clashes erupted there. Hassouna was taken to Shamir Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. Violent clashes between police and protesters broke out around the funeral site in the mixed Jewish-Arab city, with protesters hurling stones at police officers who attempted to block their route and torching police vehicles, a bus and other objects. The police responded with stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets. Other demonstration were held Tuesday night in Jaffa and Acre, and the Arab towns of Sakhnin, Tamra, Deir al-Assad and Baana.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the Palestinian territories, Lynn Hastings, said on Tuesday, “The escalation has already seen children and other civilians killed and injured; it must stop to avoid more deaths and injuries. The situation will likely increase humanitarian needs, in particular in the Gaza Strip, following years of the Israeli blockade, Palestinian political divisions and recurrent escalations. The health sector, already struggling, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, must be able to respond to those who are injured.”

“The movement of humanitarian personnel and the entry of goods to Gaza – including fuel — must be uninterrupted: without further provision, fuel for the Gaza Power Plant is due to run out this Saturday, causing a significant reduction in its ability to supply electricity, again affecting the availability of health, water and sanitation services. All parties have obligations under international humanitarian law; the principles of distinction, precaution and proportionality in the use of force must be adhered to. Airstrikes in densely populated areas risk violating these principles. Rockets are indiscriminate by nature and as such violate international law. Israeli security forces in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, must refrain from using force against those peacefully exercising their rights to freedoms of expression, religion, association and assembly,” the UN coordinator said.

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