verhindert auch die Aktionen der Friedensbewegung:
After hearing the news about the incident at
Kvish Haminharot today, it has been decided by the coordinators of the
action, scheduled for tomorrow, to cancell or postpone it to another
time. (The way to El-Khader passes through the exact location of the
SHALOM - pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033
Against The Odds - A String Of Actions, Tel-Aviv
1) Introduction - a shaky cease-fire
This Sunday morning we woke up with the news that in the Gaza Strip three
Palestinian Bedouin women got killed by tank fire. As we were composing this
message, an urgent call came from the village of Abud, where settlers and
soldiers are systematically destroying hundreds of olive trees. This was not at
all mentioned on the radio news. The anguish of the villagers concerned, already
in dire economic straights, remains unremarked.
The fragile week-old cease-fire does seem to have put a halt to bombing attacks
within Israel, but in the occupied territories the unequal struggle continues.
On the one side, elusive guerrillas setting deadly ambushes to settler cars, on
roads cut trough confiscated Palestinian land and from which Palestinian traffic
is excluded; on the other, the mightiest army in the Middle East subjecting the
entire Palestinian population under a strangling closure which cuts the
West Bank into isolated enclaves, while rampaging militias of settler vigilantes
(enjoying IDF protection) find easy targets in Palestinian villages, burning
fields and sometimes houses.
Sure, it is not easy to be a settler these days. Today's Ha'aretz reported on an
opinion poll conducted settler youth, finding that that 87% believe that a
Palestinian state will be created, 82% that settlements will be evacuated, and
31% wishing to go away right now. Life is harsh for these youngsters, who did
not choose to grow up at armed enclaves in occupied territory which has now
burst out in rebellion.
In the meantime the highly unlikely peace emissary - CIA Chief George Tenet -
seeks to stabilize the cease-fire. With Sharon unwilling to accept a
straightforward freeze to settlement activities - without which Palestinians
will consider cease-fire to be surrender - Tenet's job seems not an easy one.
All too often, we feel inadeqate, if not completely helpless to affect
the situation. Still, in the past few days we have exerted what
resources we have in a string of actions, the best we could do also when
it isn't much, and which we would like to report to you.
2) Women in Black's mega-vigil.
Last Friday, the Women in Black succeeded in bringing together a whole spectrum
of peace organizations. To mark the 34th anniversary of the occupation, the
weekly Friday vigil at France Square, Jerusalem, was expanded with black-
wearing women and men of all other groups (or of no group) invited to take part.
The result was that demonstrators crowded not only the centre of the square -
where the women stand every Friday - but also lined the corners and side-streets
in all directions (except for one corner reserved by the police for a handful
from the extreme right).
Israelis - Jews and Arabs - had come in buses from different parts of the
country. Also came Palestinians from the Occupied Territories, some
distinguished by traditional headdress - women in scarves, men in kafeeyas. East
Jerusalemites could get to this point without crossing physical barriers; but
there were also participants from the besieged West Bank, whose arrival
in spite of the multiplied road-blocks and checkpoints involved much ingenuity
and more than a little risk.
There was a moment of silence for all victims of the occupation, Israeli and
Palestinian; a thousand black, helium-filled balloons scattered throughout the
crowd were simultaneously released into the sky, each bearing the
inscription"End the Occupation / End the Closure"; and many speakers, Israeli
and Palestinian, of which in this limited space we quote Nurit
Peled-Elhanan whose daughter was killed in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem
three years ago: "Last week we saw many pictures of dead children.
Children who went out to have a good time, who barely had a chance to figure out
the complexity of living in this country, and one child who killed all of them
and himself as well....Save the children; don't let the merchants of blood
continue to trade in them, because they will never be sated."
The crowd dispersed only slowly, as if unwilling to return to the grim routine
of radio and TV news and talk shows which all too often turn into thinly
disguised war propaganda. Some teens from Hashomer Hatza'ir Youth Movement
stayed behind and began to sing songs of peace - the kids who in a year or two
will receive their call-up orders and be called upon to kill or be killed.
Concurrently with the Jerusalem rally, there were solidarity vigils at no less
than 150 locations throughout the world - ranging from Egypt to Australia and
from Turkey to Brazil and even to a Peace Boat off the Maldive Islands - not to
mention most countries of Europe (the record being 17 places in Italy) and no
less than 45 cities in the US. Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Centre in
Philadelphia (Awaskow@aol.com) reported two
seperate vigils in his city, one at the Liberty Bell and the other at the
Israeli consulate, with some well-known rabbis taking part; and in Brazil there
were reportedly about 300 people taking part, among them prominent members of
the local Jewish Community shoulder to shoulder with Palestinians. For more
information: Women's Coalition for a Just Peace <email@example.com>;
Bat Shalom <firstname.lastname@example.org>
3) Gush Shalom revisits El-Khader
The Gush Shalom contingent at the Jerusalem event, several dozen in number, left
early. Instead of going back to Tel-Aviv, as was originally planned, the
chartered bus turned southwards to the Palestinian village of El-Khader, near
Bethlehem - not far from Jerusalem in physical distance, but still worlds away.
The villagers had contacted Sergio Yahni of the Alternative Information Centre,
urgently asking for the help of Israeli activists to protest a new settler
incursion on their land. Since there were activists already mobilised and a bus
available, Gush Shalom was able to make a rapid response.
In 1995, the settlers of the nearby, ever-expanding settlement of Efrat
already targeted a particular part of El-Khader, a hill several kilometres away
from the last Efrat houses. Ignoring the Palestinians' title deeds dating back
to Ottoman times, it was declared "government land", and the settlers came to
set up their housing. Gush Shalom had been there day after day to protest
together with the Palestinians. After several non-violent confrontations on the
hill, a very violent confrontation erupted below it, shots were fired by
the army and many activists were arrested. In the end, the Rabin government gave
up the plan to build a settlement on this particular hill.
Now, under cover of the ongoing confrontation, the settlers have
come back, set up mobile homes on top, and immediately a whole company of
soldiers was stationed to protect them, in spite of their unauthorized
settlement being illegal even under occupation law. "This is how Peres'
formula works: if settlements are allowed to be extended 'within the built-up
area' - the Efrat settlers are just making sure of creating a huge new tract to
be filled up later", remarked Uri Avnery.
It was quite a steep climb, under the hot sun. When we reached the top, panting,
there was a line of soldiers. Fifty metres before us we saw the mobile homes of
the new settlement. The settlers were not in evidence; the soldiers were
protecting them quite effectively, even from the need to argue their case
directly to us.
The demonstrators started to argue with the soldiers, a reservist unit, mostly
men in their thirties. A polite but completely futile conversation, both sides
speaking totally different languages even though the words were all Hebrew. "You
must turn back, you are creating a provocation here". "Not us. It is the
settlers who are creating the provocation". "I have my orders. You must turn
back." "Their presence is illegal. You are protecting land robbers." "I don't
care about politics. My orders are to protect Israeli citizens who might be
attacked by Arabs. I leave legality to my superiors". "Settlements are against
International Law. Did you hear of the International Court in the Hague." "I
don't care. I am a soldier and I obey orders".
Did he know of how ominous these words are in Twentieth Century history? Perhaps
not, or perhaps he did not think the precedent applicable to himself. After all,
he was not actually ordered to kill anybody. Just to defend a particular group
of people who happen to occupy a particular piece of land, to shoot at anybody
who may try to approach them, and not to worry his head about why other people
may object to their presence.
Back at the Palestinian protest tent at the bottom of the hill, we heard the
villagers' grievances. The soldiers, in their zeal to protect the settlers, are
denying the villagers access to a large part of their lands - a large distance
on sides of the encampment. This comes on top of the prohibition to work in
Israel, which already made life very difficult, since earlier land confiscations
and a growing population made it impossible for El-Khader to live from
agriculture alone, And there is the the tightened closure of the past week which
makes it hardly possible to travel even to neighbouring villages. N.B.:
Further action at El-Khader is planned, possibly on Friday this week. Stay tuned
for further announcements from Gush Shalom <email@example.com>
4) Yesh Gvul supports imprisoned
CO Gabi Wolf
Some Israeli soldiers ARE disobedient. Conscript Gabi Wolf is serving a third
consecutive jail sentence for his refusal to enlist "in an army of occupation",
which he expressed in a series of strongly-worded letters to the military
authorities. Yesterday (Saturday) there were some sixty sympathizers and
activists at the Yesh Gvul solidarity vigil at the gates of the great military
complex of Tzrifin, built by the British back during the Second World War. The
jail is well inside the base, out of sight of the gateway where the vigil was
held, but Yesh Gvul managed to contact Gabby by phone, to convey support
and give him an opportunity to speak with his mother Barbara, who joined the
protest. All participants joined in writing a dedication in the flyleaf of the
book "Democracy and Obedience", a collection of still highly-relevant articles
published by Yesh Gvul some ten years ago; the book will be given to Gabi on the
next family visit.
The pedestrian bridge over the old Jaffa-Jerusalem highway, traversed on
weekdays by numerous soldiers on their way back to camp, proved a highly
convenient vantage point from which to demonstrate. The big signs "Free Gabi
Wolf! - Don't imprison conscience! - There is a limit! " were highly visible to
the motorists passing below. Further demonstrators lined both sides of the
highway, pleasantly surprised by displays of enthusiastic support from quite a
few of the motorists.
The hotline of Yesh Gvul continues to receive a stream of calls from reservists
telling they have refused to take part in the campaign of repression against the
Palestinian population. One of the demonstrators, Reserve Captain Dan Tamir,
"After the letter I wrote about my refusal to serve in the Territories, the
Regiment Commander told me there was no question of my staying the regiment's
Intelligence Officer and that the road I chose would lead to imprisonment. I
told him I was quite ready to accept the consequences of my actions. Then I was
called by the Division Commander - same story. But in the end, I was just taken
out of this unit and told to await re-assignment, so it seems I am not going to
prison after all." (Contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org). It seems the higher echelons are apprehensive of the
publicity which the imprisonment of an intelligence officer would get.
Yesh Gvul has now taken the step of openly and explicitly calling upon soldiers
to refuse to take part in such acts as "liquidation" (extra-judicial execution)
of Palestinians, shooting or bombing of unarmed civilians, denial of food,
medicines or medical treatment, destruction of homes or of livelihood. An ad
published in Ha'aretz on June 1 told soldiers that all of these are defined as
war crimes by International Law, quoting Transportation Minister Sneh's remark
"Sharon will have to go without me to the International Court in the Hague".
(Yediot Aharonot on April 20 - and later retracted by Sneh himself.) Contact:
Yesh Gvul <email@example.com>
Another petition - independent of, but coordinated with Yesh Gvul - calls upon
soldiers to refuse all service in the Occupied Territories. The organizers aim
to get a thousand signatories of Israeli citizens and present the petition to
Army Chief Of Staff Mofaz, Defence Minster Ben Eliezer and PM Sharon, and
to hold a televised protest of reserve soldiers in uniform. (Full text from
firstname.lastname@example.org,, Amir Terkel
5) Bir-Zeit students hand flyers to soldiers
It so happened, that at the time of the Tzrifin demo there was another protest
of Palestinian students of the Bir-Zeit University. The blocking by the Israeli
army of the road between Bir-Zeit and Ramallah seriously disrupts academic life
in the university - and it cuts off some thirty Palestinian towns and
villages from their nearby city.
Yesterday morning, about a thousand Birzeit students and lecturers marched right
up to the soldiers and handed them copies of the following document:
"Your acts of aggression and humiliation against the people using this
road is a violation to Articles 3 , 27 and 33 of the Fourth Geneva
Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.
Your country is both a signatory and acceding State to this convention and
is bound by the articles of this convention. You are thus ordered to remove this
road-block and to terminate your aggression immediately.
Failing to do so, will make you a criminal of war, and legal
action will be taken against your government and
against you personally."
The soldiers responded by firing tear-gas canisters and
rubber-coated steel. Nevertheless, the protesters succeeded in
driving back the Israeli army vehicles and opening the
road for almost an hour, allowing numerous cars to break
the road-block. However, once the march ended, the soldiers re-closed the
road, and this time imposed three checkpoints rather than one. The
only Israeli media reports of the event were terse references to
"Palestinians rioting again". (Source:
6) Solidarity action on Israeli campuses.
Israeli students plan actions in solidarity with their Bir Zeit colleagues, and
in protest of the occupation in general. At the Hebrew University of Jerusalem,
the student group "Ta Campus" (email@example.com)
is holding a regular anti-occupation vigil, every Tuesday at 12:00, in front of
the Social Sciences Gate (Sha'ar Hevra) of the Mount Scopus Campus. They
specifically ask anyone who can to come an join them this Tuesday, June 12.
At the Tel Aviv University students, Arab and Jewish, will march from Naftali
Building to the Gilman Building under the slogan "The Occupation Kills Us All".
The march will start at 1:45 PM on Wednsday, June 13. Contact:
We conclude with the more lighthearted call from the Weitzman Insitute's
junction in Rehovot, where on Tuesdays, from 17:00-19:00 anarchist youngsters
will stand with slogans, which (as they state themselves) are "variations upon
the good old 60's, such as "Teach Sex, Not Hate" and "Grass, Not Guns". For more
information: Danie'l the 1st Keleti <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Other Israel - bi-monthly peace movement magazine (hardcopy) pob 2542, Holon
58125, Israel; ph/fx: +972-3-5565804;
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Selected articles at the website