Thousands Rally in Tel Aviv against Occupation & for a Common Future

A pro-peace and anti-occupation rally held in central Tel Aviv on Saturday evening, May 22, drew several thousand participants calling for Jewish-Arab partnership and urging Israel to work toward resolving its decades-long conflict with the Palestinians, which flared up over the past two weeks with deadly fighting in the Gaza Strip. The rally was also a show of support for peace and coexistence between Jews and Arabs in the wake of two weeks of intense internecine riots that broke out around the country.

Hadash MK Ayman Odeh addresses the mass rally held at Habima Square in Central Tel Aviv, Saturday evening, May 22.

Hadash MK Ayman Odeh addresses the mass rally held at Habima Square in Central Tel Aviv, Saturday evening, May 22. (Photo: Zo Haderech)

Standing Together, Peace Now, Breaking the Silence, Hadash, Meretz and other peace movements, organized the mass march. It left Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, headed south along Ibn Gavirol Street and made its way toward Habima Square.

Speakers included well-known Israeli novelist David Grossman, Joint List leader MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) and MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz).

“I hear politicians and security officials speak about another round of fighting in a few months or years, while being blind to the 7 million Palestinians living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea,” Odeh said. “There are two peoples living here and both deserve the right for self-determination… We must form a public democratic camp around our common principles — with a clear call for the end of the occupation, for equality, democracy and social justice for all citizens.”

Israeli author Grossman said that, “The battle today is not between Arabs and Jews, but between those on both sides who strive to live in peace and in a fair partnership, and those on both sides who are fed by hatred and violence.”

A similar protest took place last Saturday at Habima Square, which was one of several protests attended by Jews and Arabs across the country that called for peace and coexistence amidst the racist anti-Arab riots and the deadly military operation in Gaza Strip. Jews and Arabs gathered daily during Operation Guardians of the Walls on bridges and at intersections throughout Israel protesting against the ongoing violence and occupation. Hadash and the Communist Party of Israel will hold another mass demonstration against Israel’s 54-year-long occupation of the Palestinian territories on Saturday night, June 5, in Tel-Aviv.

Also on Saturday night, May 22, hundreds gathered outside the prime minister’s official residence in Jerusalem, calling on far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign and blaming him for the escalation in Gaza and claiming that he deliberately extended the operation for personal interests. Earlier Saturday, about 200 people marched along the streets of Jaffa, voicing support for coexistence between Arabs and Jews in the mixed city and throughout Israel.