Some 850 demonstrators, who came from all over the country in 15 full buses and a fleet of private cars, demonstrated Friday near the Gaza Strip and tried to march on Rafah. They were stopped by the Border Police and a number of violent confrontations ensued. Five demonstrators were arrested.
The demonstration was called by "Gush Shalom", "The Committee against House Demolitions", "The Campus is not Silent", "Pilots Refuse", "Yesh Gvul", "The Forum of Refusers' Parents", "The Women's Coalition for Peace" and "Ta'ayush for Arab-Jewish Partnership", which was responsible for the organization of the action.
The demonstrators announced in advance that they were going to the Sufa checkpoint near Rafah, but changed course and stopped near the Kissufim checkpoint, surprising the police and the army. They reached the checkpoint on foot, marching for four kilometers in the blazing sun.
For an hour, they listened to the shocking testimonies of the Israeli reporter Amira Hass and the chief of the local hospital in Rafah, conveyed by telephone, and to the words of a British woman whose son was shot dead by the Israeli army. Then they broke through the police line and started to march in the direction of Rafah. However, they were stopped by the Border Police. A series of violent confrontation occurred. There were also several confrontations with settlers.
The posters included: "Stop the Killing in Rafah!", "Sharon, Man of Blood", "Tanks Get Out!", "They Shoot at Demonstrators, Too!", "Bring the Soldiers Home!", "Remaining Silent Makes You an Accomplice!", "Not in My Name!", "Stop! Black Flag!", "Release the Prisoners of Conscience!"
The demonstrators shouted: "Refuse! Refuse!", "Soldier, Listen - You Can Refuse!", "All the Ministers are War Criminals!", "Mofaz, Minister of Defense - How Many Children Did You Kill Today?" One of the buses carried a big slogan: "Soldiers, Get Out! Don't Take Part in War Crimes!"
After the confrontations, the demonstrators refused to disperse unless their arrested comrades were released. The police conceded to this demand.