New York – The largest rally ever held outside the Knesset was held Sunday in Jerusalem. An estimated 200,000 Israelis came from all over Israel via 1200 buses and untold numbers of private cars to protest Sharon’s Gaza withdrawal/expulsion plan, i.e. the forced transfer of 9,000 Israeli citizens, and the giving of more land to Palestinian leader and Holocaust denier Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA).
The rally featured both political and rabbinical leaders. Former Minister and Knesset member Uzi Landau condemned PM Sharon’s bringing a left-wing Labor party into the government. “They call this a unity government? It’s a lie. Sharon threw out the parties who didn’t agree with him. This government has no mandate for a one-sided withdrawal; it is a Likud government without the Likud, advancing Gaza withdrawal by fraud,” proclaimed Landau.
David Levy, another former Minister and Knesset member, asked “How can the Likud members sleep at night knowing that the plan they narrowly approved is pitting brother against brother and that this plan will endanger the whole country, as terrorists will be emboldened and have closer access to Israel’s population centers.”
The head of the Golan Regional Council, Eli Malka, stated that the residents of the Golan Heights will fight against the withdrawal plan. Rami Alush, head of the Prime Minister’s Bureau’s northern chapter, publicly resigned from his post saying, “I, who fought against the Barak government and the Oslo agreements, cannot be part of this withdrawal plan, Likud has lost its way. Surrender to terrorism does not stop it, but rather increases it.”
It was also announced at the rally that mayors, army officers, rabbis and others are planning to begin a hunger strike this Sunday against the withdrawal plan.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “This is the second 200,000 plus rally to take place in Israel against the forced transfer of 9,000 Jews from Gaza. The people of Israel are sending a clear message to Prime Minister Sharon to either end his transfer policy or hold a referendum to let the people decide this controversial issue. This is especially appropriate since the vote last May by all Likud members in Israel defeated the Gaza withdrawal plan by a landslide of 60%-40%.
Those who oppose the plan on the basis of its rewarding and encouraging more terrorism against Jews received support from Danny Rubenstein, a prominent left-wing journalist from the Israeli daily Ha’aretz. He wrote yesterday, ‘The disengagement is perceived in Gaza and the West Bank as a great victory. The Israeli explanations that it is a “disengagement” and not a withdrawal, and certainly not a retreat, do not interest the Palestinians.
All the summits and all the diplomatic talks never achieved for the Palestinians what the armed struggle and resistance achieved: a disengagement, say senior PA leaders like Mohammad Dahlan and Hamas leaders like Mahmound Zahar. The pictures of the Palestinian police deploying throughout Gaza are being displayed in the Palestinian press as victory photos.'”
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The Zionist Organization of America, founded in 1897, is the oldest pro-Israel organization in the United States. The ZOA works to strengthen U.S.-Israel relations, educates the American public and Congress about the dangers that Israel faces, and combats anti-Israel bias in the media and on college campuses. Its past presidents have included Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis and Rabbi Dr. Abba Hillel Silver.