From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Related Categories: Palestine | International
Antiwar protests in Israel
by wsws (reposted)
Tuesday Jul 18th, 2006 7:02 AM
If one were to judge by the international media, the Israeli government’s assault on Lebanon and Gaza enjoys the virtually unanimous support of the Israeli population. In so far as Israeli citizens have been interviewed, they have been invariably in favour of war, insisting that it provides the only means of protecting the Israeli people.
Despite a barrage of pro-war propaganda in the Israeli media, however, visible opposition has begun to appear. Some 2,000 people marched in Israel’s commercial capital of Tel Aviv on Sunday to demand prisoner exchange negotiations with the Palestinian Hamas and the Lebanese Hezbollah, and an end to the offensive against Lebanon.

“Yes to Peace,” “Stop the War Monstrosity,” “Say No to the Brutal Bombardments on Gaza” and “Our Children Want to Live” were among the calls from the mixed crowd of Jewish and Arab demonstrators organised by several Israeli anti-war groups.

They also accused Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defence Minister Amir Peretz of murdering children and carrying out war crimes in complicity with American policy. The slogans included “Olmert Agreed With Bush: War and Occupation” and “Peretz, Don’t Worry, We’ll be Seeing You at The Hague.”

For all the claims of democracy in Israel, the rally received almost no coverage in the local and international media and was dispersed by police within two hours. Police arrested three protesters, claiming they were holding a demonstration without a permit.

Some of the marchers interviewed for Ynet, an Israeli web site, expressed their horror at the outrages being committed in their names. Eitan Lerner said: “Israel is entering another cycle of fighting and continues the foolishness of exaggerated aggression. I came here to protest because there’s a link between starving and oppressing the Palestinians and the bombings in Lebanon.”

Manal Amuri, from Jerusalem, said: “What Israel is doing now has resulted in the deaths of civilians, innocent children, and it serves no purpose except for the government’s vindictiveness. I think it’s good we’re showing that there are Arab and Jewish citizens in Israel who oppose the war.”

Abeer Kopty referred to the intensive efforts being made to stampede public opinion. “They keep telling us that there is a consensus in support of the war, and that’s not true. They keep telling the citizens that this is the only way, and I think that there is another way.”

A women’s protest was also held on Sunday, next to the central Haifa train depot where a Hezbollah rocket landed earlier that day, killing eight people. The women said that in the coming days, they would be assembling a new group of Arab and Jewish women against the war.

Several days earlier, only a few hours after the start of the attack on Lebanon, 200 people picketed the Defence Ministry in Jerusalem. According to Adam Keller of the peace movement Gush Shalom, writing on Al Jazeerah on July 15, the demonstrators responded to an e-mail sent by a group of young people.


Comments  (Hide Comments)

by gush shalom
Wednesday Jul 19th, 2006 1:43 PM

Wed 13 July, Tel Aviv: Only a few hours after the start of the attack on Lebanon, 200 peace activists gathered in front of the Ministry of Defense to protest against it.

"One - Two - Three - Four / We do not want this war!" shouted the demonstrators, members of several organizations, youngsters side by side with veterans. Other slogans (roughly translated from Hebrew) were:
"Artillery and Qassams / The occupation is bad for everybody!"
"Peretz - you promised education and pensions / And all we got is tanks and dead bodies!"
"Peretz, Peretz, for the sake of the North / Get out of Lebanon!"
"Jews and Arabs / Refuse to be enemies!"
"Exchange prisoners-of-war / Bring the soldiers home!"
"Peretz, Peretz, Minister of Defense / You have killed seven children today!"

The reaction of passers-by was much less hostile then anticipated. Some drivers shouted curses at the activists, but quite a number honked in agreement. Most drivers seemed to be fatalistic.

The police brought a much larger force than usual, including a special unit for riot control. It seems that they feared a blocking of the traffic by the demonstrators.

The veterans among the demonstrators were reminded of the first demonstration not far from there which took place on the first day of Ariel Sharon's invasion of Lebanon in 1982. That time, also about 200 activists gathered - but their number grew within a few weeks to ten thousand, until the 400 thousand gathered to protest the Sabra and Shatila massacre.


On Sunday (16.7.06), the fifth day of the war, the largest demonstration yet against it took place in Tel-Aviv. More than 600 people came to protest against the war, which is still very popular amongst most Israelis.

Among the demonstrators were veterans, whose hair has turned white since they first demonstrated against wars, side by side with youngsters, who have started to be active not long ago. Many of the soldiers who have refused to serve in the occupied territories were also there. Together with Gush Shalom, members of all the consistent peace organizations took part, including Yesh Gvul, Anarchists Against Walls, Ta'ayush, Women's Coalition for Peace, Courage to Refuse, Hadash, Balad, The Committee Against House Demolitions and The Center for Alternative Information. They shouted in unison: "Return to the Negotiation Table!", "All the Ministers are War Criminals!", "We shall Neither Kill Nor Die for the Settlements!" and more.

The demonstrators marched through the streets of Tel-Aviv until they were stopped by the riot police. Some of the demonstrators broke out and continued their protest in the neighboring streets, but there was no violence from either side.

"That's exactly how it happened after Ariel Sharon's invasion of Lebanon," an old-timer reminisced, "On the first day of the war we were a hundred, after a week we were a thousand, after three weeks we were 10 thousands and after two months, following the Sabra and Shatila massacre, we were 400 thousand."