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Thousands March in Tel Aviv to Protest Israel Staying in Lebanon

June 11, 1984
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Tens of thousands of people marched through the main thoroughfares of Tel Aviv last night and assembled in Malchei Israel Square, opposite the town hall, to protest Israel’s continued presence in Lebanon and the Jewish terrorist underground on the West Bank, currently being investigated for acts of violence against Arabs.

The Peace Now movement, which organized the demonstration, claimed a turn-out of 100,000. Opponents of Peace Now said there were no more than 30,000. Most observers estimated the crowd at between 70-80,000. The rally, heavily guarded by police, was peaceful and unmarred by incidents. Speakers noted that “Two years have passed since the start of what was supposed to be a 24-48 hour cleans ing operation (in Lebanon) and there are now nearly 600 deaths with casualties continuing.” Whatever impact the demonstration may have, the Israel Defense Force will not be pulled out of south Lebanon in the near future. Chief of Staff Gen. Moshe Levy made that clear when he briefed military correspondents and appeared on radio interviews over the weekend.

He said the IDF’s stay in Lebanon may be a long one and while he would not rule out further redeployments, he stressed that the decision to stay in Lebanon or bring the IDF home would be made on the political level, not by the military high command.

Levy also said that every effort was being made to keep casualtied at a minimum. But he emphasized that there is no alternative force in south Lebanon that could guarantee the safety of Israel’s northern border. Levy did not think there was any immediate danger of a confrontation with Syria in Lebanon or on the Golan Heights. He blamed the press for exaggerating the dangers posed by Egyptian military preparations in Sinai.

The Peace Now rally in Tel Aviv was not televised. The Central Elections Committee and the State-owned Broadcast Authority decided that television coverage would amount to electioneering because advance advertisements for the rally had an anti-Likud tone. The Supreme Court rejected a Peace Now appeal against that decision.

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