Thousands of people, Arabs and Jews, marched in Tel Aviv in a protest against the house demolitions in Israeli towns and villages in recent weeks, and against further steps to demolish more homes, a media reported on Sunday.

Organisers said some 5,000 protestors participated in the march on Saturday evening, which began at the intersection of King George and Allenby Streets and ended in Dizengoff Square, Haaretz news reported.

A number of Jewish and Arab organisations participated in the demonstration, which the organisers termed a new stage in the civil struggle of Jews and Arabs. The speeches were given in Arabic and Hebrew, and marchers waved both Israeli and Palestinian flags.

Amal Abu Sa'ad, the widow of Yakub Abu al-Kiyan, who was killed during the operation to demolish illegal homes in the unrecognised Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in January, said: "It is important to pass on the message to the Prime Minister (Benjamin Netanyahu) and ministers that despite your wild incitement, the racism and discrimination in legislation, enforcement, infrastructure and government services — you will not succeed in dividing between the country's citizens."

"All of you who are standing here today, you are proof that Jews and Arabs can and want to live together and with equality," she added.

She called on the government to establish an independent commission to investigate the evacuation of Umm al-Hiran. Al-Kiyan was killed by the police when he ran over and killed a police man and injured another officer with his car.

The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee said it had decided to step up its appeal to Israeli and international public opinion.

Since the establishment of the Joint List, more politicians in the Arab community see strategic importance in building bridges for dialogue and cooperation with the democratic forces in Israeli society, said Raja Za'atra of Hadash party, who chairs its subcommittee responsible for contact with the public.

This is especially true in light of the ramping up of racism and the harsh attacks by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government against the Arab public and democracy, he added.