Tens of Thousands Protest Olmert Government

In-depth Report:

Tens of thousands of Israelis joined a protest against the Olmert government in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square Saturday night. The protest was under the banner of “State Commission of Inquiry Now!”  

The protest was organized by IDF reservists as well as the Movement for Quality Government (MQG), a private group that has been running a separate protest alongside the reservists in Jerusalem’s Rose Garden. The reservists have been calling for the resignation of the top government officials for their management of the recent war in Lebanon, while the MQG is calling for a state commission to examine the government’s actions.

“The Prime Minister must open his eyes and realize that a state commission of inquiry is needed,” the group’s chairman, Eliad Shraga, said.

Also speaking at the protest were former Defense Minister Moshe Arens of the Likud, retired Meretz Party chairman Yossi Sarid, senior reserves officers and relatives of soldiers who fell during the war.

“It is unacceptable that those under investigation appoint the investigators,” Arens told the crowd. “Only a state commission of inquiry will examine in a thorough manner the decision of the government in the last war in Lebanon. Never have there been such confusing and contradictory orders issued in the handling of a war.”

“If we continue to remain silent, we will be hit with another bomb,” Movement For Quality Government spokesman Shuki Levanon said. He added that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had been invited to the protest, “to declare from this podium that he has heard the will of the people and will establish a state commission – but the chicken didn’t even answer.”

Though most protestors held signs accusing the government of not allowing the IDF to act strongly enough, some Meretz members joined as well – protesting the decision to go to war in the first place.

Though the rally’s organizers number the participants at 40,000, police said 25,000 attended.

Musicians and composers took part in the demonstration as well. Nimrod Lev, Danny Linti, Miki Gavrielov, Pablo Rosenberg, Etti Ankari and Yankele Rotblitt, the composer of Shir HaShalom, the Song of Peace embraced by Israel’s left-wing and sung publicly by Yitzchak Rabin just prior to his murder.

Shraga closed the rally by calling on those present to join the struggle more actively. “The struggle is not over. Don’t go home and think you have done enough – speak out and join us at our protest vigil in Jerusalem,” he said.

Articles by: Global Research

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