Hundreds of peace activists from numerous organizations marched in Jerusalem on Saturday night, May 30, calling for an end to 48 years occupation of the Palestinian Territories which began in June, 1967. Among the organizers were Hadash (the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality) and the Communist Party of Israel. “Usually we hold this march every year in Tel Aviv, but it was was important to march this year in Jerusalem, as the city is facing a new wave of house demolitions, violence, and racism towards Palestinians,” a communist activist said. Among the organizations participating in the march and rally which followed were TANDI – the Movement of Democratic Women; AIC – the Alternative Information Center; Coalition of Women for Peace; Combatants for Peace; Gush Shalom; Israel Social TV; Machsom Watch; New Profile; Ta’ayush; Tarabut-Hithabrut; Yesh Gvul, and Women In Black.
The demonstrators marched from Zion Square to the Old City’s New Gate. Among them were three MKs from Hadash: the head of the Joint List, Ayman Odeh, Dov Khenin, and Aida Touma-Sliman. MK Odeh, one of the speakers at the rally held next to the New Gate said: “You cannot find one Palestinian family who hasn’t been subjected to violence; not one family, who hasn’t yearned for their imprisoned loved ones. Occupation is brutal, even to those who impose it. I am asking the fathers of soldiers to think about their sons and daughters. Think of how they might enter the bedroom of a little boy tonight and arrest him just for being Palestinian.” The crowd chanted slogans like “Settlers and soldiers, get out of Palestine!” “Israel and Palestine: Two states for two peoples!” and “Jews and Arabs together against racism!”
The statement in the invitation to the rally read: “The lives and destinies of over four million men and women in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem are shaped by the occupation and separation: arrests of minors; house demolitions; political persecution and the suppression of the right to protest; over 400 administrative detainees; military violence against women; restrictions to freedom of movement; land theft; cutting off of the water supply; sexual harassment at checkpoints; revocation of residency; collective punishment.”
“Especially now, after a new and more racist government has been elected, we must all protest. As we mark 48 year to the occupation which began in 1967, we call to put an end to the occupation. We will stand together to remind the residents of Jerusalem, who face daily threats of eviction, demolition, or arrest, that there is a different voice and a different way. We will stand together, because there is no social justice without ending the occupation.”