Leftists in Tel Aviv protest Gaza op. (file)
Leftists in Tel Aviv protest Gaza op. (file)Flash 90

Several thousand showed up at a far-left rally in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on Saturday night against Operation Protective Edge, after 10,000 gathered in the same venue last Thursday to call for decisive military action in Gaza to return the security to Israel's south.

The rally on Saturday was organized by the extreme leftist Meretz party headed by MK Zehava Galon, the Arab-Jewish communist Hadash party, as well as the far-left organization Peace Now and others.

Speaking in front of the assembled crowd, Galon called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to step down, saying: "Bibi (Netanyahu), you failed. You need to hand in the keys and go home. Your failure is so deep because of five years of refusal and national failure; refusal to adopt the Arab peace initiatives, and refusal to recognize the Palestinian unity government."

The unity government mentioned by Galon was formed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas, whose unending war against Israel lead to the current operation.

Galon continued by blaming Netanyahu for "destroying the ties with the United State and obsessive building in the territories (Judea and Samaria)."

The criticism comes after reports last Wednesday revealed the American administration blocked a weapons transfer and ordered closer scrutiny on future shipments, and despite Netanyahu's occasional building freezes in Judea and Samaria.

The Meretz chairperson went on to argue that the outlines being proposed in negotiations in Cairo between Israel and Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PA, which she said Netanyahu is ready to accept now, could have been reached without the operation.

Indeed, Netanyahu reportedly held "softening talks" with ministers last Tuesday to gather support for Israeli concessions in the talks.

Polls have revealed an overwhelming majority of Israelis support the operation and oppose a ceasefire until Hamas's weapons and terror tunnels are destroyed.

The far-left groups represented at the Saturday rally have been expressing open concern over being isolated, as public sentiment supporting the operation has unified the usually fractured Israeli political spectrum, including the moderate left.