Refugee Ships Should Not Be Allowed to Enter Israel

Published: June 7th 2010
in News » Israel

Protesters at June 5 rally in Tel Aviv
Pic: WikiMedia Commons

Approximately 15,000 leftist activists participated in an anti-government protest in Tel Aviv Saturday evening marking “43 years of occupation.” During the protest activists slammed the recent IDF raids on Gaza-bound ships.


The leftist protesters walked from Rabin Square to the Tel Aviv Museum and were holding up signs, some of which read: “The government is sinking all of us – we must aspire for peace” (in the spirit of the flotilla events of last week).


The rally was organized by a coalition of leftist movements, including Meretz, Peace Now, Gush Shalom, Hadash, and Physicians for Human Rights. MKs Muhammad Barakeh, Dov Khenin, and Haim Oron led the protesters.


At one point during the protest, which was secured by hundreds of police officers assisted by a police chopper, a smoke grenade was hurled at the marchers. Later, leftist activist Uri Avneri was attacked by right-wing activists who snatched the signs he was holding.


Prior to the rally, Peace Now Secretary General Yariv Oppenheimer spoke with Jonathan Dahoah Halevi of Israeli website News1. During the conversation, Oppenheimer criticized the Israeli government’s decision to raid the ships in the Gaza flotilla, saying that the activists on the ships should have been allowed to enter the Gaza Strip since, as he said, it was well known that the ships did not carry arms or explosives.


When asked by Dahoah Halevi if Israel should inspect ships that try to enter the Gaza Strip, Oppenheimer responded that this should only occur when there is intelligence information that a ship is carrying weapons. He emphasized that in the case of the flotilla shops there was no such intelligence.


Oppenheimer was also asked how Israel should act should ships carrying refugees from Lebanon arrive. He said that this is not an issue at the moment but it should such a thing ever occur, the ships should not be allowed to enter Israel and must be stopped.


Oppenheimer also addressed the current political situation and said that Israel must reach an agreement with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which, as he said, should happen before it becomes too late. According to Oppenheimer the agreement should more or less include the 1967 borders.


He also said that an agreement could be reached with Hamas in Gaza and added that the Palestinian refugees are not an obstacle, since even Abbas understands that the Palestinian refugees would have to live in a future Palestinian state.

Related articles: (peace now, protest, yariv oppenheimer)
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