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Massive Rally in Tel Aviv Kicks off Campaign for Public Support of PLO Pact

September 7, 1993
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A massive rally held here Saturday night kicked off what promised to be an all-out campaign to mobilize public opinion by both supporters and opponents of the tentative agreement on Palestinian self-rule in the territories.

Tens of thousands of Israelis filled Tel Aviv’s Malchei Yisrael Square on Saturday, for what observers are calling one of the largest public rallies ever held in Israel.

Organizers, which included the Labor Party, the Meretz bloc and Peace Now, said the rally had drawn between 150,000-200,000 people. Police estimates, however, put the number at closer to 40,000.

Whatever the figure, participants agreed that the Tel Aviv rally was certainly the happiest and most good-natured of all the many mass meetings that have been held in this central square. Strangers stood packed together with smiles on their faces, nodding to each in acknowledgement of a joint presence at a significant event.

Among those addressing the crowd were Housing Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and writer Amos Oz, both of whom gave their strong support to the proposed agreement, which calls for Palestinian self-rule in Gaza and Jericho as a first step toward a gradual transfer of authority to the Palestinians in the territories.

“We are not going to sign this agreement out of weakness, but out of strength,” said Ben-Eliezer. “Today we are heading into the hardest battle, the battle for peace.”

The opposition Likud Party meanwhile scheduled a mass counterdemonstration on Tuesday which the event’s sponsors promise will be even larger than Saturday’s event.

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