On the first Saturday of 2010 roughly 1,500 demonstrators marched in Tel Aviv in the closing event of the action week against the siege on Gaza.
Demonstrators from the multi-member Coalition against the Siege marched from Rabin Square to the Tel Aviv Museum, holding a rally opposite the Ministry of Defense. There, calling for both the lifting of the siege and the prosecution of Israeli war criminals, they heard speeches from Member of Knesset Hanin Zuabi (Balad), former MK Uri Avneri, and members of the Nazareth and the Tel Aviv municipalities Abir Copty (Hadash) and Yael Ben-Yeffet (City for All). The demonstration and the march, which blocked off some of Tel Aviv's main streets for more than an hour, were widely covered by mainstream media.
Activists in the Coalition promise that although the week of action is over they will not cease in their fight for the end of the siege and the occupation as a whole.
More than a thousand Palestinian and Jewish Israeli citizens from all over the country participated Thursday in a demonstration at the Erez checkpoint on the Gaza border. The demonstration, organized by the High Committee of Israeli Palestinians and joined by the Coalition against the Siege, was part of the international week of action against the siege, marking one year to the Israeli attack on Gaza, and was coordinated with a similar demonstration on the other side of the wall – in Gaza itself.
The demonstrators, surrounded by massive forces of Israeli army and police, chanted slogans against the siege and heard speeches by several Israeli Members of Knesset as well as amplified phone speeches from within Gaza.
After about two hours the demonstration ended peacefully.
As part of the events marking the first anniversary to Israel's brutal attack on Gaza, a small demonstration was held Tuesday in Be'er-Sheva, near the Ben-Gurion University. The demonstration called for the end of Israel's occupation and the prolonged siege on Gaza and held some 20 Palestinian and Jewish participants.
About 30 minutes before the time scheduled for the demonstration, early comers were shocked to see that vast numbers of police forces where already setting up near the university gates. There were 4 large 'Transits', 2 of them riot police, 2-3 regular police cars and about 20 police officers and 15 border policemen. The chief of police on the scene informed protestors that the vigil was illegal (which was of course untrue) and that he was already authorized to disperse the event and make arrests. Eventually demonstrators managed to carry their protest – with the police promising that next time they will surely arrest anyone demonstrating.
Meanwhile, both the Jerusalem (Hebrew) University and the Haifa University have canceled the permit given to students to hold memorial and protest events within university grounds, commemorating the attack on Gaza one year ago. These attacks on voices of dissent are in their own right a reminder of the days of the Gaza war, when 800 Israeli (mainly Palestinian) were arrested for demonstrating against the brutal attack.
Earlier this week, launching the one week long international campaign against the siege on Gaza, on the occasion of the first anniversary to Israel's war on Gaza, 500 Palestinian and Jewish demonstrators marched the streets of Jaffa Saturday night. Demonstrators were calling to end the siege on Gaza and the occupation as a whole, linked the local struggle of Palestinians inside Israel against policies of ethnic cleansing to the broader Palestinian struggle, and called for the prosecution of Israeli war criminals.
The demonstration ended with a remembrance rally near a local mosque.
On the very next morning, Sunday, 25 Israeli activists tried to directly breech the siege by marching south towards the Gaza Strip on the Israeli beach of Zikim. As the activists were getting closer to an army barrier they were stopped by soldiers and police. A high ranking officer present told the demonstrators that he could not promise that he and his men will avoid opening fire at them if they proceed.
Challenging the legality of the siege, activists tried to cross the line of soldiers, and some even got into the sea, trying to swim around the barrier. The activists were soon stopped by the police, using motored water vessels and horses. 16 were arrested in suspicion of violating a military order, later to be released at the Sderot police station, but barred from returning to the area near Gaza for two weeks.