Tens of thousands of Israeli peace activists gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday night for a Peace Coalition rally. Opposition leader Yossi Sarid and former Justice Minister Yossi Beilin spoke at the rally.
The Peace Now movement said that more than 100,000 people had attended the rally, while police estimates put the number at 60,000. The
demonstrators held up signs calling for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and "two states for two peoples."
In his speech, Sarid said, "The economic crisis is threatening the entire country. Only the settlements and the government are big and fat... withdraw from the settlements and return to ourselves. The settlements are a burden, there is no concession and no prize." "If Israel attacks Gaza, they will do it without us," he added.
Beilin accused Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon of leading the nation into a tragedy. "We are told Sharon is a man of peace but it is not true: he doesn't want
go to the negotiating table because he has nothing to say," he said. "Sharon is dragging us into a catastrophe."
"The main thing that killed the peace process happened here seven years ago when Yitzak Rabin was killed," Beilin said, his voice breaking with
emotion. "I promise Yitzak Rabin that we will finish the job."
"This is the first time since the Intifada that we have had such a massive demonstration with people in clear opposition to the government," Peace Now spokesman Arye Arnon told AFP. "This is radical. This turnout is on the basis that one day we will return to the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as the capital of two states and the elimination of the settlements," Arnon said. (Albawaba.com)