Thousands of Israelis demonstrate in central Tel Aviv against the government’s unwillingness to reach an agreement with the Palestinians.
Photos by Yotam Ronen, Oren Ziv / Activestills.org
Thousands of Israelis participated in a protest march in central Tel Aviv Saturday night against the Netanyahu government’s policies in the West Bank and the continuing violence.
The demonstrators, many of them from Peace Now — which organized the event — and the left-wing Meretz party, along with several members from the Arab-Jewish Hadash party and Da’am Workers Party, marched from Habima Square to the IDF headquarters on Kaplan Street, waving Israeli flags and holding signs that read “Intifada government, go home” and “There is no security without a solution.”
Among the speakers was Peace Now head Yariv Oppenheimer, who accused the government of “taking an entire country hostage in an unnecessary religious war, and we are all paying the price. You have turned the state into a violent, racist, and hopeless place. We have come here to call for an end to the hatred and the incitement, for a struggle against racism, and to demand a political solution — two states for two people.”
The mayor of the Bedouin city Rahat, Talal Al-Qarinawi, also spoke, saying that although he has a state, he does “not have a prime minister.”
“I do not believe in this prime minister,” he continued, “anyone who incites against Palestinians is an idiot. An idiot who does not understand history. A year ago the police killed two of our young men, innocent men. Did anyone among us incite and call for revenge?”
Zehava Galon, who heads the left-wing Meretz party, also spoke during the protest, telling the crowd that the only thing that has changed since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin is that “now you are the main inciter and you are the prime minister.”
Galon also mentioned the attack on Rabbi Arik Asherman of the human rights group Rabbis for Human Rights by a masked settler, during the olive harvest in a Palestinian village in the West Bank. “This attack is a result of incitement by right-wing ministers and members of Knesset, who are asking the public to carry weapons and “shoot a bullet in the head” of anyone who looks like a terrorist, while also inciting against the Left,” Galon said.
“This kind of messaging creates a bloody reality that is turning the territories into the Wild West. The settlers do as they please, and there is no one to stop them. This incident joins a number of hate crimes against Arabs, the lynch against an innocent Eritrean man who lay bleeding on the floor, in cases of “mistaken identity.”