Over 100,000 call on PM to hold pullout referendum (JERUSALEM POST) By TOVAH LAZAROFF AND JPOST STAFF 01/31/05)
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Over 100,000 people packed streets leading up to the Knesset on
Sunday evening in an anti-disengagement rally, said to be one of the
largest demonstrations ever held in the Capital, Israel Radio
Protesters are asking Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to "legitimize
disengagement" by either holding a national referendum or by calling
for new elections. Should there be a national referendum, the council
would respect the results, said Amrusy.
The rally began with a moment of silence in memory of all those who
were murdered in terrorist attacks.
One of the leaders of the anti-pullout Likud rebels, Uzi Landau, used
harsh words to describe the plan. According to Landua, "We will not
be dragged into provocations that are purposely created against us."
"Whoever wants to disengage us from the nation, whoever unleashes the
public against us, whoever plans to use the IDF to break our bones,
you will not prevail," Landau said.
Another speaker at the rally was NRP Chairman Effi Eitam. He chose to
point his arrows directly at Prime Minister Ariel Sharon: "We are
telling you Ariel Sharon – you have no mandate to expel Jews. There
is one man who refuses to listen to voices around him."
Eitam added, "We are telling you – you have no right to divide this
nation. There is one ´refuser´ who sits here at the government´s
headquarters and is dragging an entire nation towards a rift, a tear.
Look at those you are fighting against – Ariel Sharon – the heroes of
NRP MK Zvulun Orlev, considered the dovish element of the religious
party, was met with jeers, which disrupted his speech early on. He
was later able to complete it.
Near the stage, settlers´ council security guards confronted far
right-wing activists who carried signs equating Sharon with temple
destroyers Titus and Nebuchadnezzar.
Israel TV reported the council organized more than 1,000 buses to
bring demonstrators to Jerusalem, emptying out entire settlements in
the West Bank.
The demonstration, which began in the early evening, was to last 24
hours, until after sunset Monday. Many of the demonstrators were
expected to sleep in the park and carry the protest to nearby
government buildings in the morning.
Settler leader Pinhas Wallerstein said the highlight of the gathering
would be a mass pledge to go to Gaza to prevent the evacuation.
The council had turned to figures on the Left in hopes that they
would join them in the call for a democratic process, but got no
response, she said.
Film clips shown at the rally included statements by Sharon, showing
how he has "flip-flopped" on the issue.
At the start of January, settlers set up a protest camp outside the
Knesset. They plan to stay there until the government reverses the
About 2,000 Jerusalem Police officers are preparing to keep the peace
during the rally. The rally has caused some temporary traffic changes
as well, Israel Radio reported.
Until the end of the rally, Ruppin Street, between Ben Zvi Boulevard
and the Israel Museum, will be closed to traffic. However, starting
at 2:30 p.m., all of Ruppin Street and all of the streets leading to
it will be closed to traffic.
The Police advise those coming to the rally to use public
transportation and avoid traveling on Ben Zvi Boulevard, Haim Hazaz
Boulevard, and Herzl Boulevard. With AP (© 1995-2005, The Jerusalem
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