Israeli Rally In Tel Aviv Calls For Ceasefire In Gaza Offensive

Thousands of Israelis have held a protest in Tel Aviv to call for an end to the country's offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Four demonstrators were arrested, Haaretz reported, citing the Tel Aviv police. Police had banned the protest from taking place because of the high risk of rocket attacks on the city from Gaza, but because of the proposed four-hour extension to Saturday's ceasefire, 3,000 people came to the city's Rabin Square to demonstrate, with dozens counter-demonstrators also present.

But the rally was cut short when Hamas rejected the terms of a longer ceasefire, and resumed rocket attacks in the vicinity. The group, which rules the Gaza Strip, has said it would only accept a more long-term peace, and an end to the Israeli blockade of the territory.

Rabin Square Demonstration

A Facebook event for the rally said: "The war is taking a heavy toll in lives and injuries on both sides, in destruction and horror, in bombings and rockets. We answer this by taking a stand and making a demand: end the war now!

"Instead be being drawn, again and again, into more wars and more military actions, it is now time to lead the way to dialogue and political settlement.

There is a political solution. What price must we pay – the people of the South and the other residents of Israel, and the people of Gaza and the West Bank – until we reach that solution?

"Together, Jews and Arabs, we will overcome occupation and war, hatred, incitement and racism – and offer a path to life and hope."

Rabin Square is famous as Israel's premier site for political demonstrations, renamed in 1995 after Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated there.

As many as 1,000 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed in the 18-day offensive. Israel has had two civilians killed and 37 IDF soldiers.