Monday, July 31, 2006
DEMONSTRATION AGAINST THE WAR IN TEL AVIV
Sunday's bombing in Qana sparked an immediate surge in opposition within Israel to the fighting in Lebanon. Spontaneous demonstrations and petitions were organized within hours, and drew more people than the organized demonstrations of the previous two weeks.
One petition, which collected more than 200 signatures within a few hours Sunday, was organized by Haifa resident Orit Ben Artzi. It calls for a cease-fire and the opening of negotiations.
In addition, Haaretz reports more than 600 people, including Israeli professors and senior Meretz party officials, have signed an international petition calling for an immediate, unconditional cease-fire in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank. Among the signatories to this petition are former Meretz MKs Naomi Chazan and Mussi Raz - though the latter has meanwhile obeyed an emergency call-up order for army reserve duty
The following comes from the web site of Gush Shalom (Israel).
"THE KANA MASSACRE -- A WAR CRIME!"
Immediately after the news about the Kana Massacre became known today (July 30), spontaneous protest demonstrations started near the Ministry of Defense compound in Tel-Aviv. In the evening, a larger demonstration was held. In spite of the fact that there was hardly any prior notice, more then 200 demonstrators gathered, including activists of Gush Shalom, Hadash, Anarchists Against Walls, Ta'ayush and other organizations.
This time, a group of Meretz member, who rebelled against their party leadership, was also present. They included former Meretz MKs Ya'el Dayan and Naomi Hazan. Also present were Hadash MK Dov Hinin and former MK Tamar Gojansky.
Conspicuous by its absence was Peace Now. The director of this organization, which has ceased to exist as an active peace movement years ago, appears now in the Media as one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the war. When a journalist wrote by mistake that Peace Now had taken part in a demonstration, the director denied it vigorously.
Meretz leaders Yossi Beilin, Haim Oron and the others, except MK Zahava Galon, also publicly supported the war.
"Peretz, Peretz, don't worry / Bush will meet you at The Hague!" shouted the demonstrators through their megaphones, which could be clearly heard in the ministry compound. The Hague, of course, is the seat of the International Criminal Court. "Peretz, you have promised education and pensions / all you gave us is tanks and dead bodies!" - "Children want to live / both in Beirut and in Haifa!" - "Killing Children is a war crime!" - "Labor in government / brings only war!" - "Olmert's agreement with Bush: / War and occupation!" (All these rhyme in Hebrew.)
"It is rank hypocrisy to assert that the Kana inhabitants have been warned to leave their homes," former MK Uri Avnery said. "From the first day of the war, our army has bombed the roads and whole families were killed on the way. They have concluded that it is safer to stay in a shelter at home than to move on the roads." Avnery added that a commander who bombs and shells an inhabited area must know such disasters are bound to happen."
"The criminal returns to the scene of the crime," commented Gush Shalom spokesman Adam Keller, referring to the massacre that happened in Kana in 1996, when Shimon Peres started a war in Lebanon. "That massacre compelled Peres to break off his war. The conclusion is that we must stop this war at once, before it is too late."
Opposite, a small counter-demonstration took place. Usually, the fascists of the Kahane group play this role, but this time they were Labor Party members, who support the war completely.
In the course of the demonstration, a special unit of the riot police appeared and for a moment it seemed that they were about to attack the protesters, but they only drove them off the road.
After two and a half weeks of suppressing every voice against the war, this demonstration was covered on TV and the radio.
At the same time, demonstrations were held around the country, mostly by of Arab citizens.