Thousands of rightist Israelis rallied in Jerusalem against the Annapolis peace conference.
As many as 15,000 demonstrators, answering a call by the Yesha settler council, converged on the Western Wall on Monday afternoon to pray for the failure of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s U.S.-hosted talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Another, possibly larger right-wing rally was expected Monday evening in Jerusalem’s Paris Square.
Demonstrators included nationalists who oppose ceding any biblical land to the Palestinians and conservative opponents who believe that Israel, by dealing with a weak Abbas, risks bolstering Hamas.
In the Gaza Strip, Hamas held an “alternative” conference to Annapolis in which it vowed never to forego its claim on “all of Palestine” — Gaza, the West Bank and Israel — and jihad against the Jewish state.
Israel’s left-wing group Peace Now seized on the two anti-Annapolis events, suggesting that Hamas and rightist Zionists share a common intransigence.
“They both use religion to preach against the possibility to reach a peace accord between the parties,” Peace Now head Yariv Oppenheimer was quoted as saying by Ynet.