Thousands of #Israelis
have staged a #protest
rally in #TelAviv
to express their support for an independent #Palestinian
state, condemning 50 years of #Israelioccupation
of the Palestinian territories.
Peace Now, one of the organizers of the demonstration, said the event was meant to denounce the lack of hope being offered by a regime "perpetuating #occupation #violence
". "The time has come to prove to the Israelis, the Palestinians and the entire world that an important segment of the Israeli population is opposed to occupation," said #Peace
Now head Avi Buskila.
The demonstrators also waved Palestinian flags while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sent a message of support which was read out at the protest. "There isn't a voice stronger than the voice of just and inclusive peace, just like there isn't a voice stronger than the right of people for self-determination and freedom from the burden of occupation," the message read.
Israeli opposition Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog also addressed the event and backed the idea of an #independent
Palestinian state as a solution to the decades-long conflict.
accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin #Netanyahu
of having missed the opportunity to move forward with a "peace" process. "The leadership in Israel today is driven first and foremost by fear. #Fear
of change; fear of daring; fear of initiative and fear of hope. Israel's prime minister is the chief fear-monger," he said.
Israel occupied the #WestBank
and East Jerusalem al-Quds during the 1967 war. It later annexed East #Jerusalem
al-Quds in a move not recognized by the international community.
Over half a million Israelis live in over 230 settlements built illegally since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian lands.
The continued expansion of Israeli #settlements
is a major #obstacle
to the establishment of peace in the #MiddleEast
and violates anti-settlement United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334.