Saturday, June 5, 2017 was the 54th anniversary of the outbreak of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, which culminated in the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula (returned in full to Egypt in 1982).
Under the slogan: “Jewish-Arab Partnership to Fight Occupation,” On Saturday evening, June 5, a Jewish-Arab demonstration against the occupation was held in Tel Aviv to mark more than half a century of Israel’s military rule of the Palestinian territories captured during the 1967 war. The demonstration began at 20:30 at Habima Square, and from there thousands of participants marched to the Tel Aviv Museum where a rally was held. Among the demonstrators were Joint List MKs Ayman Odeh, Aida Touma-Sliman, Ofer Cassif, Ahmad Tibi, Osama Saadi, Meretz MK Mossi Raz and leading activists of Hadash and the Communist Party of Israel (CPI).
In a joint communiqué released by the bodies participating in the demonstration the organizers wrote, “We, Jews and Arabs, will march together for a different future for Israelis and Palestinians; a future without occupation and bloodshed in which we all live in safety. We will march in Tel Aviv against the occupation and for peace and hope, against racism and for partnership.” Among the signatories of the above declaration: Hadash, CPI, Young Communist League of Israel, Meretz Forum against Occupation, Rabbis for Human Rights, Democratic Women Movement of Israel – TANDI, Breaking the Silence, Standing Together, Sikkuy, Yesh Gvul, Mesarvot, Gush Shalom, Combatants for Peace, Parents Circle – Families Forum, Zazim, Democratic Party, Abraham Initiatives and Arab Movement for Change.
At the rally held following the march, MK Touma Sliman said, “Fifty-four years are far too many! 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.”
Touma-Sliman also slammed the new proposed government that far-right MK Naftali Bennett would lead as “a dangerous right-wing government,” one that would “remove Netanyahu and preserve his path.” She 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.” Salah Diab, a Palestinian from Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem, called the crowd to reinforce the solidarity with the neighborhood’s residents
The Deputy Director of Breaking the Silence, Yael Lotan, who served as a soldier on the border of the Gaza Strip at the height of the Second Intifada. Now, 18 years later, she is working to end the occupation and said at the rally, “I was 18 when I enlisted. It has been 18 years since I looked the child from the hut in Gaza in the eye. In another 18 years, my son is supposed to take part in the same reality. All nations deserve a place under the sun. I refuse to accept that this reality is the only option for both Israeli and Palestinian peoples.”