Stimmen der Friedensbewegung
Friends, the cycle has begun again.
Gila Svirsky, Jerusalem
After a month of quiet between Israel and
Palestine, Prime Minister Sharon began to worry that he would have to
sit down and actually negotiate with the Palestinians, so he ordered yet
another assassination and then awaited the reprisals that would get him
off the hook. It didn't take long. It began with the shooting of
Israelis in the territories, and then last night's horrifying scene -- a
Palestinian who emptied an M-16 into an Israeli crowd celebrating a
bat-mitzva. "In response", Israeli warplanes fired missiles into Tulkarm
while tanks reoccupied large parts of Ramallah. And so it goes.
Whose turn is it?
The senseless and tragic blood-letting
still fresh in everyone's mind, it was with some trepidation that the
Coalition of Women for a Just Peace came together this morning to
demonstrate against the occupation. Why trepidation? Because Palestinian
acts of terrorism somehow give legitimacy to attacks on Israeli peace
activists by rightwing war-mongers. It's a tradition that did not even
begin in the Mideast.
Thus, we were surprised and pleased to have
some 40 women and men, despite the tradition, who came out to
demonstrate today under the banner "Money for the disabled, not for
settlers". This is a reference to the month-long strike of the severely
disabled in Israel, whose government stipend is shamefully low, keeping
them in poverty. We were even nervous about whether the disabled
themselves would accept our presence near their strike location, but
several approached our group and voiced support. I think it helped that
Pnina Fierstone, a veteran peace activist who is severely disabled
herself, was holding up one end of our banner.
After an hour in the crisp winter air of
Jerusalem, we put away our signs and went indoors to talk to the
strikers and express our solidarity with them. I had a good conversation
with Alex, a lovely guy who agreed that the government should help the
down-and-outers, but not at the expense of the settlers. Finally he
mentioned that his son, too, lives in a settlement. Every government
since the Occupation began 34 years ago, Labor and Likud alike, has
given Israelis economic
incentives to move into the territories. By now, ideology follows vested
From the striking disabled we drove to the
regular Women in Black vigil, and were about 75 today in Jerusalem. Last
week we had been joined by contingents from Michigan, France, and India.
This week we were just us. There were the usual driveby
shooting-off-at-the-mouth passersby, but nothing exploded. That is a
victory of sorts.
So it was an efficient, 2-demonstration day
for us, besides the other Women in Black vigils all over Israel. I hope
there will be a big turnout tomorrow for Peace Now's demonstration
called , "Sharon is Assassinating the Peace" (19 January, 7 p.m. at
Hagar Square, Jerusalem). What are weekends for, anyway? Let's hope it's
a quiet one.
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haGalil onLine 20-01-2002