Thousands of pro-peace demonstrators gather in Tel Aviv


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Tel Aviv to call for peace with the Palestinians.

Signs at Saturday night’s rally in Rabin Square read “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies,” “When there is no peace war comes,” and “Yes to a diplomatic solution.”

Israeli media reported the number of demonstrators ranged from 2,000 to the 10,000 estimated by rally organizers.

The demonstration, which was organized by Peace Now and the Meretz and Hadash parties, was postponed from last week, when Israel’s Home Front Command refused to give organizers a permit due to safety concerns as rockets fired from Gaza continued to fall on the area.

Zahava Gal-On, leader of the left-wing Meretz, called for the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he failed to bring quiet to Israel’s southern communities. She said Netanyahu must return to peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

“You could have achieved the framework you are willing to accept now without paying the price of 64 dead soldiers and the deaths of civilians,” Gal-On said.

Author David Grossman said many Israelis still want peace.

“There is no military solution for the conflict between Israel and Hamas. There is no military solution that will end the suffering of Israelis in the south and the inhumane suffering of people in Gaza,” he said. “People in Israel won’t be able to breathe freely either until the stranglehold on Gaza is lifted.”

There was no significant counter-demonstration, according to reports.

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