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`The Blockade is Terrorism!` the Tel-Aviv demo reported
Remove the siege of the Gaza Strip
By Rafi Jerbi
Israel Post

Israelis protest Gaza blockade

“The Blockade is Terrorism!”
Jan. 2, 2010

On the first day of the Gaza War, one year ago, activists of Gush Shalom and other peace organizations demonstrated against it. Today (2.1.10), many of them took part in a large demonstration, whose main demand was to lift the siege of Gaza.

Some 3000 demonstrators gathered in Tel-Aviv’s Rabin Square and marched to Museum Square, where a protest rally was held. The demonstrators, activists of a wide range of peace organizations and other citizens, chanted in unison (in Hebrew) “Gaza, do not despair / We shall put and end to the occupation!”, “Israel, we are ashamed – the blockade is inhuman!” and more.

The demonstration was accompanied by large police forces, including a helicopter which from time to time lit up the area with a huge projector. However, there were no incidents.

Apart from the Gush Shalom posters “The Blockade is Terrorism”, there were the posters of the “Women’s Coalition” which said “Women cross borders – Freedom and Justice for Gaza”. One demonstrator brought a personal poster: “Mubarak is a War Criminal” – as a protest against the steel wall now being built by the Egyptians along the Rafah border. Many carried the Gush Shalom flag, which combines the flags of Israel and Palestine. A band of drummers, some of them women, enlivened the march.

Nurit Peled-Elchanan, a bereaved mother (and the daughter of the late general and peace activist Matti Peled), said at the rally: “I wonder about the astonishment voiced by the media at the violence in the schools, the clubs and the street. Our children are just absorbing the message conveyed by parents, elder brothers, the media and the war criminals in uniform who come to the schools and make speeches about the heroism of the army in Gaza.” Full text:

Uri Avnery called upon President Obama, the European Union and the peoples of the world: “Help us to end the cancerous occupation. For peace and reconciliation between the free State of Israel and the free State of Palestine!” Full text:

Eilat Maoz of the Women’s Coalition said: “All around us in this city we see war criminals who have committed these acts in Gaza. They live their lives in peace, without fear of investigation and punishment.”

Special applause greeted Nasser Rawi, the father of one of the families that were evicted from their homes in Jerusalem’s Sheik Jarrach quarter, who called upon the government in pure Hebrew “to stop the Judaization of Jerusalem and stop sending us the settler who beat people up and drive them out of their homes.”

Other speakers included MK Hanin Zuabi (Balad): “Denial of flour and sugar is a method of blackmail, but the Palestinian people is not broken”; Yael Ben-Yaphet (The Mizrachi Rainbow): “Sderot was the excuse for war, but who now remembers the poor in Sderot?”; Abir Kopti (Hadash): “I congratulate the British government for marking products of settlements – this is part of what gives hope.”

The high point of the evening was the band of “Raging Grannies”, five elderly women who – on the model of the Canadian original – sang “modified” children’s songs. They concluded the evening with the slightly modified text of a popular Hebrew children’s song: “Mother said to Ahmed / My son is hero / My son never cries / like a little stupid boy. // He had a house in Gaza / And a father, a mother and a brother / Gaza was bombed / And the house is not there anymore. // I do never cry / I am not a cry-baby / But why, mother, why / Do the tears come by themselves?”

Ahoti * Indymedia * Anarchists Against The Wall * Balad * Banki * Bat Shalom
* Coalition of Women for Peace * Gush Shalom *
The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions * Social TV * The Alternative Information Center * The Campus is Not Silent * The Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow * Hitahabrut-Tarabut *Zochrot * Hadash * Yesh Gvul * Combatants for Peace * The Highscool Refusers` Letter * Israeli Communist Party * Women In Black * Sadaka-Re`ut * New Profile * Student Coalition – Tel Aviv University * Ra`am-Ta`al * Movement of Democratic Women* Ta`ayush

Remove the siege of the Gaza Strip
By Rafi Jerbi
Israel Post
January 3, 2010
[Translated by Adam Keller]

About a thousand left wing activists demonstrated yesterday in a Tel Aviv protest march to mark a year since the `Cast lead` operation.

The demonstrators demanded the prosecution of those responsible for war crimes according to the Goldstone Report, and removal of the siege over the Gaza Strip.

The demonstrators set out on a concentrated march from the Rabin Square to the Museum Plaza, where a rally took place - addressed by KM Hanin Zu`abi of Balad and the former KM, jounalist Uri Avnery. KM Dov Henin (Hadash) also took part in the event.

Israelis protest Gaza blockade
Jan. 3, 2010

Hundreds of Israelis have rallied in central Tel Aviv to protest against the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Arab and Jewish activists marched on Saturday in the city`s Rabin square, chanting slogans and waving signs calling for `Freedom and Justice in Gaza`.

The protesters demanded Israel end the blockade, deeming its continuation a `war crime`, the AFP news agency reported.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007 when Hamas seized power in the territory.

String of demonstrations

Hundreds of international protesters held a similar demonstration on Thursday on both sides of an Israeli border crossing to the Palestinian territory.

The Erez crossing is the main entry and exit point to and from Gaza used by medical patients, journalists, diplomats and aid groups.

The events coincide with the one-year anniversary of Israel`s 22-day war on Gaza which left about 1,400 Palestinians dead. Thirteen Israelis also died in the clashes.

A further 100,000 Gazan residents were left homeless in the wake of the Israeli onslaught.

A UN-sponsored report, known as the Goldstone report, has called on both Israel and Hamas to investigate accusations of human-rights violations committed during the conflict in Gaza.

Most of the criticism in the Goldstone report was directed towards Israel.

It concluded that Israel had used disproportionate force and had deliberately targeted Gaza civilians, using them as human shields, while destroying civilian infrastructure.
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