“The War Belongs to Olmert – The Victims Belong to Us!”
Here they were again - the “first nighters, those who are ready to get out and demonstrate against a new war in its first hours, when war propaganda pours out of all the media and all the parties, from the extreme Right to Meretz, support the war.
No organization called for the demonstration – but more than a thousand men and women gathered spontaneously in order to protest in front of the Ministry of Defense in Tel-Aviv, only a few hours after the murderous Air Force attack on the Gaza strip started.
They were members of the divers peace organizations, from “Gush shalom” and the “Women’s Coalition for Peace” to the “Anarchists Against the Wall” and Hadash. The police, apparently afraid that the protesters would storm the building in which the Minister and the Army High Command were conducting the war, took special precautions: the elite police commando unit was backed by mounted police. Reserves were hidden in side streets. At the beginning of the demonstration, some of the police confronted the crowd with loaded and pointed guns.
“Barak,Barak, Minister of Defense – How many children have you murdered today?” shouted the protesters, whose slogans were backed up by drums. They were especially incensed by the Meretz Party statement the day before, which justified an attack on Gaza, and shouted: “Meretz, Meretz Party – Again for a War?” In the conversations among the protesters, the latest article of the writer Amos Oz, who has been awarded several peace and literature prizes, was mentioned. The article, which justified the military attack, was published at the head of the first page of the mass-circulation daily Yediot Aharonot.
The protesters marched from the Cinemateque Square to the ministry. On the way, the marchers were attacked by the police elite unit and the mounted policemen. During the demonstration, five protesters were arrested.
A day before the war, Gush Shalom activists took part in a smaller demonstration which took place in the heart of Tel-Aviv, in order to warn against the attack. This action was not reported in any of the Israeli media, except Haaretz, who devoted to it three lines hidden in another news story.