Hamas rally 298.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Left-wing groups plan to demonstrate in Tel Aviv on Saturday night to urge Israel to talk with the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority.
Israel has refused to speak with Hamas until it recognizes Israel's right to exist, stops terrorism and accepts previous agreements. The US and a number of other countries have followed suit.
But on Saturday night in Rabin Square, members of at least 13 left-wing groups will demand that Israel negotiate with Hamas to try and break the diplomatic stalemate. The Hadash and Balad parties are also set to participate in the rally.
Gush Shalom head Adam Keller said that if Hamas agreed to talk with Israel, it would constitute a form of recognition. "We call on both sides to talk without preconditions and without assumptions," said Keller. Gush Shalom advocates a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 borders, said Keller. And the only way to get there is to start talking with Hamas, he said.
The rally will also calls for an end to the occupation and to economic sanctions against the PA.
The list of the rally's sponsors does not include Peace Now. "The rally's message is not our message," said Peace Now spokesman Yaariv Oppenheimer. He said the rally should also call on Hamas to recognize Israel.
On Saturday, Palestinian will demonstrate in Ramallah, also calling on Israel to talk with the PA and withdraw from the West Bank.
Former MK Uri Avnery met on Wednesday with Sheikh Muhammad Abu-Tir, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative council from Jerusalem.
Avnery said one reason for the meeting was to show opposition to the police's demand that Abu-Tir resign from his position or risk deportation.