Thousands of pro-peace demonstrators gather in Tel Aviv

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Tel Aviv to call for peace with the Palestinians.

Signs at Saturday night’s rally in Rabin Square read: “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies,” “When there is no peace war comes,” and “Yes to a diplomatic solution.”

Israeli media reported the number of demonstrators ranged from 2,000 to the 10,000 estimated by organizers of the rally. The demonstration, organized by Peace Now and the Meretz and Hadash parties, was postponed from last week, when Israel’s Home Front Command refused to give organizers a permit due to safety concerns as rockets fired from Gaza continued to fall on the area.

Zahava Gal-On, leader of the left-wing Meretz Party, called for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s resignation, saying he failed to bring quiet to Israel’s southern communities.  She called for Netanyahu to return to peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

“You could have achieved the framework you are willing to accept now without paying the price of 64 dead soldiers and the deaths of civilians,” she said.

Author David Grossman said there are many Israelis who still want peace and that there is no military solution to the current conflict.

“There is no military solution for the conflict between Israel and Hamas. There is no military solution that will end the suffering of Israelis in the south and the inhumane suffering of people in Gaza. People in Israel won’t be able to breathe freely either, until the stranglehold on Gaza is lifted,” Grossman said.

There was no significant counter-demonstration, according to reports.