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The new left-wing party spearheaded by Meretz is launching a campaign against the Israel Defense Forces' operation in the Gaza Strip. This reverses the party's decision to suspend its election campaign until the fighting ends.

The new drive makes it clear that Israel must negotiate with the Palestinians, particularly in light of the recent fighting against Hamas in Gaza. "No compromises - we need a political solution," is the slogan chosen by the party's campaign strategist, Dror Sternschuss.

Days before the operation started in late December, Meretz called for military action against Palestinian militants firing rockets and mortar shells at Israel. This stance was unusual for the party - its officials supported air strikes on Gaza, but they opposed the army's ground offensive.

"The time has come to act without compromise and without narrow political considerations to protect the residents of Gaza-area communities and Sderot," the party said.

Many party members criticized the initial support for the operation, and the 12th candidate on its list quit in protest.

The party had originally planned to focus on issues not related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict such as education and the environment. Former television reporter and environmentalist Nitzan Horowitz, who is third on the party roster, was intended to lead a campaign aimed at drawing young voters.