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CNN Today

Thousands Gather in Tel Aviv to Protest Possible Israeli Withdrawal from Golan Heights

Aired January 10, 2000 - 1:42 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Israeli and Syrian peace talks are coming to a close in Shepherdstown, West Virginia without a tentative agreement. Leaders talked well into the night on the main sticking points of the proposal, one of which: the future Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights.

CNN's Jerrold Kessel joins us live from Tel Aviv where thousands of Israelis are gathered in protest -- Jerrold.

JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This square has certainly known bigger demonstrations, bigger crowds both for and against peace, in these peace deals that Israel has been trying to strike with the Arab neighbors. But it certainly is a big demonstration, make no doubt about that, a big crowd here, a crowd that is interesting in the kind and make up of this crowd. That is perhaps the most interesting thing about it, people from all over Israel, that is not the usual anti-peace camp that one find. People from the Golan Heights, itself, people from the West Bank, settlers, and people from all over, all over Israel, many, many young people, many Russian immigrants here.

Their message is, one, Israel will not go down from the Golan Heights, Israel should not go down from the Golan Heights. It is an integral part of Israel. They say that this should be a peace, but a peace is not a surrender, and that they say what is happening in those talks in Shepherdstown. Ehud Barak, they say, is giving in to a dictate, and it is not what Israel needs.

They say Hafez al-Assad, the Syrian president, does not want peace, he wants only the Golan Heights.

I'm Jerrold Kessel, CNN, reporting live from Tel Aviv.

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