The late evening peace rally in central Jerusalem was attended by hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians in a show of solidarity towards peace.
Offering a rare glimmer of hope amidst the spate of violent attacks that have left many innocent dead on both the sides, hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians marched through the streets of central Jerusalem in a joint peace rally. While the Israeli authorities have claimed that five separate attacks by Palestinians have raised tensions in the region, Palestinian officials claim over 40 Palestinians have been killed in violent attacks.
Hundreds of people gathering now at a peace rally in Gan Hasus in Jerusalem pic.twitter.com/FLrudYw6x7
— Hunter Stuart (@Hoont) October 17, 2015
However, instead of resorting to violence to settle the never-ending dispute, demonstrators from the communities took to the streets to call for a peaceful dialogue. Amidst the backdrop of violence and the escalating tensions, it is was a rare sight to see hundreds of Palestinians, Arabs, and Israelis come out Saturday to rally in Jerusalem with the sole intention of peace. Those who attended the peace rally estimated a crowd of 2,000 people and they were there to emphasize they won’t “surrender to despair.” Interestingly though, many in the rally were also protesting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and calling for an end to the recent wave of attacks, reported International Business Times.
The peace rally was organized by “Standing Together,” a new group formed in response to the current violence. The group hopes the peace rallies like this would offer Israelis and Palestinians an alternative to violence and weed out the differences. The group organized the marchers at the Gan Hasus and led them through the streets, calling for a peaceful dialogue amidst the violence that has left many innocent and some children dead.
— D Roth (@adanielroth) October 17, 2015
The marchers were chanting for an end to the violence and urging talks toward a two-state solution in the region, reported CNN. Speaking about the rally, Alon-Lee Green, a left-wing activist and one of the event’s organizers, said the following.
“It’s really something quite big for Jerusalem, especially in these days when fear rules the streets. Everything we hear in the news, in the street, in politics, is one voice — a voice that says the answer to the situation is more arrests of young Palestinians, or more demolition of houses. We decided that is not the answer… The answer is to stand together, Jews and Arabs.”
The peace rally saw left-wing activist groups, marching under the “Standing Together” banners, beating drums and chanting slogans. Many carried placards that read “Jews and Arabs standing together against racism.” As expected, hundreds within the peace rally live-tweeted about the march and trended the hashtag “#NoToDespairJLM.”
— D Roth (@adanielroth) October 17, 2015
One of the participants, MK Zahava Gal-On, left wing Meretz party head, said the following.
“With the constant tension and volatile situation as the conflict is about to become a religious one, the government should take steps and back international initiatives to restore calm.”
His statement was aimed at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is being urged accept the French proposal to deploy international observers to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. A Facebook page created for the event read as follows.
“Arabs and Jews want to live in security — real security, without occupation and without killing. Neither the terrible violence in the streets nor the fear was created in a vacuum. We must struggle against the root of this bloody cycle: a regime of control and separation that denies millions of Palestinians their right to freedom and equality.”
Many felt that the peace rally was a welcome change to recent events. To support the peace rally, bout 150 Arab and Jewish activists in Beersheba formed a human chain, reported HNGN. The aim of the peace rally in Jerusalem was to “demand freedom for both sides, equal rights and equality before the law,” reported the Jerusalem Post.
[Image by Andrew Burton / Getty Images]