Thousands of Israelis marched in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening in a show of support for peace and coexistence between Jews and Arabs amid two long weeks of intense violent riots waging across the country. Protesters also voiced support for the recent ceasefire between Israel and Hamas that came into effect early Friday, calling on the government to take immediate action to end Israeli occupation in the West Bank and to reach peace with the Palestinians. The mass march was organized by the "Standing Together" and "Breaking the Silence" movements. It left Rabin Square in Tel Aviv and made its way toward Habima Square.Speakers included well-known Israeli novelist and left-wing activist David Grossman, author ʻAwdah Bishārāt, Joint List leader Ayman Odeh and MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz)."I hear politicians and security officials speak about another round of fighting in a few months or years, while being blind to the 7 million Palestinians living between the [Jordan] river and the [Mediterranean] sea," Odeh said. "There are two peoples living here and both deserve the right for self-determination."
"These past few days have shown us how life in this country can look like - a nightmare," Zandberg added. "We don't want to start waiting for the next war, but to change direction toward peace - to live together in true partnership." A similar protest took place last Saturday at Habima Square, which was one of several protests attended by Jews and Arabs across the country that called for peace and for coexistence amid the nationwide riots and the military operation in Gaza. Jews and Arabs gathered daily during Operation Guardians of the Walls on bridges and intersections along the country and protested against the ongoing violence. Also on Saturday, hundreds gathered outside the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem, calling on Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu to resign and blaming him for the escalation in Gaza and claiming that he deliberately extended the operation for no reason but personal interest. Earlier Saturday, about 200 people marched along the streets of the mixed city of Jaffa, voicing support for coexistence between Arabs and Jews while visiting small local businesses.