“Standing Together toward a Common Future”
Hundreds of Jews and Arabs Demonstrate Together in Haifa: “Standing Together toward a Common Future”
Standing under the banner: “Haifa stands together for a common future” ,about three hundred Jews and Arabs, from all over Israel, demonstrated on Sunday (1 November) in Haifa against racism, with a firm call for equality between Jews and Arabs and for an end to the occupation. Two weeks after the demonstration of thousands in Jerusalem, this was the second protest organized by Standing Together –a new united front formed – in response to the present wave of violence – by Jews and Arabs who believe that now, in these most difficult times of gloom, we must stand together and surmount the various organizations and parties, and bring to the forefront an alternative of hope in the face of despair and bloodshed.
The demonstration took place in Haifa’s Cinematheque Plaza, and the protesters chanted slogans such as: “Standing together without despair and fear”, “Enough killing, enough bereavement – peace is worth everything”, “No to escalation – we don’t want another war.” During the demonstration speeches were presented by Gilad Moolean representing the kindergarten of the bilingual school “Hand in Hand” in Haifa, Ahmed Hilo from Jericho, a Palestinian activist from “Combatants for Peace”; Guy Elhanan, from the Parents Circle Families Forum who lost his sister in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem.
Uri Weltman, a resident of Haifa and one of the organizers of the demonstration, said today: “Given the worrying rise in the level of incitements and violence, it is especially important that Jews and Arabs stand together right here in Haifa – against racism and in favor of coexistence and full equality. We are demonstrating because we see a direct connection between the deterioration of Israeli society and a dangerous escalation in the occupied territories. To have true security for all of us here , we must advance a peace based upon justice and independence for the two peoples.”
Ahmed Hilo, a Palestinian activist in Combatants for Peace and a resident of Jericho, stated: “We have been exposed in recent weeks to serious acts of violence. We have seen killing and murdering in cold blood in the streets, and we have been exposed to incitement calling for the murder children, women and young people. We have seen how the border police beat women and the elderly, and how settlers rampage through the streets of villages and our towns, burn our olive groves, and all this under the protection of the army and the Netanyahu government. We understand yours anxieties, but we are also afraid. We are aware that we are not angels, but neither are you. Let’s stop the bloodshed by ending the occupation and dismantling the settlements, the establishment of a Palestinian state, and building a brighter future, without murder and killing, without fences. Let’s build bridges of mutual respect and bridges of hope and brotherhood.”
About Standing Together
Standing Together is a new united front formed in response to the present wave of violence by Jews and Arabs who believe that now, in these most difficult times of gloom, we must stand together and surmount the various organizations and parties, and put forward an alternative of hope in the face of despair and bloodshed.
We choose to stand together against hatred, despair, and bloodshed, and call for a halt to violence and to an end to the occupation on the basis of peace, independence and justice for two peoples, so people will be able to live in peace, security and prosperity, rather than in the current atmosphere of fear, racism and hatred.
We choose to stand together facing desperation, because we know very well that hatred and bloodshed are not an act of fate devoid of context, but a reality that can be changed.
We stand together and want to build a different future in this country, a future based on equality, justice and equal rights, where the two peoples will be free.