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Thousands protest for two-state peace solution in Israel Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Thousands protest for two-state peace solution in Israel

The rally was organised by the left-wing Zionist NGO, Peace Now [Twitter/Peace Now]

Date of publication: 29 May, 2017

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Huge crowds gathered to argue for a peace solution that saw the establishment of a Palestinian independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

Tens of thousands of people met in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv on Saturday night to protest against 50 years of Israeli occupation in Palestinian territories.

Israeli politicians and celebrities stood in front of a sea of placards conveying messages of peace in Hebrew, Arabic and English, calling for a two-state solution to the region's problems.

One of the loudest and longest chants of the evening was "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies."

The event was supported by the Palestinian Authority and a pre-prepared statement by the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, was read out at the event.

"The only way to end the conflict and the fight against terror in the region and the entire world is a solution of two states based on the 1967 borders, Palestine alongside Israel," Abbas said in his statement.

The event was organised by the left-wing Zionist NGO, Peace Now, with the strapline "two nations, one hope" and the hashtag #50isEnough, referencing the 50 years since the 1967 war.

"While a majority of Israelis support a two-state solution, they do not believe it is possible right now. To bring about a fundamental change, we need to restore hope," the organisers said in a statement.

The leader of Peace Now told the crowd of protesters that Prime Minister Netanyahu had "forgotten what it's like to be Zionist."

"Fifty years ago we turned from a democratic state for the Jewish people into a violent state that forcefully rules another people," said Avi Buskila.

"Today, we, the citizens of the democratic State of Israel rise up to protect our home. We hereby declare a battle to ensure our future in a Jewish and democratic state."

Israeli celebrities, including political opposition leader, Isaac Herzog and the Israeli-Arab MK, Ayman Odeh, delivered passionate speeches in favour of a two-state solution at the rally.

"The leadership in Israel today is driven first and foremost by fear," said Herzog.

"Fear of change; fear of daring; fear of initiative and fear of hope. Israel's prime minister is the chief fear-monger."

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