Forwarded from the Other Israel

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Wed Mar 7 10:33:21 MST 2001


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Ominous beginning Sharon-Peres government - first protests scheduled
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Tel-Aviv - March 7, 2001.

As the Knesset meets to approve Ariel Sharon's new cabinet, the news came
that military forces on the West Bank had dug a deep trench, completely
cutting off Bir Zeit University and the villages around it, depriving some
70,000 people of telephone lines and electricity and denying them the
possibility of travelling to the city of Ramallah of which Bir Zeit is a
suburb.

Was this act of gratuitious oppression Barak's parting gift or rather the
act of generals already divining the wishes of the new boss? The new
government will be, at least in its initial stages, very powerful; it will
command a solid parliamentary majority, and its byword of "national unity"
corresponds to a mood prevalent in a weary and discouraged Israeli society.
It is a government quite capable of escalating the six-month old conflict
with the Palestinians into an all-out war. It would be, in fact, exactly
the war of which the Labour Party made a shrill warning in the elections
campaign of but a month ago, but it would now be conducted by a Labour
Defence Minister, and given diplomatic justification by the internationally
celebrated Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shimon Peres, now Sharon's foreign
minister. An all-out war, since this new government has little positive to
offer to the rebellious Palestinians, and since virtually all "lesser
methods" of oppressing their rebellion were already tried by the outgoing
Barak.

All-out war is clearly what the settlers and the intransigent extreme right
want; and the IDF high command, grown dangerously independent and assertive
in the twilight of Barak's downfall, also seems to push in this direction.
It is not necessarily what the majority of Sharon's voters want - those to
whom the promise was solemnly made that "Only Sharon can bring peace";
certainly, it is not the wish of those who voted for Barak, whose elections
propaganda focused on the danger of war, nor of the 40% of Israel's
citizens who altogether abstained from voting, feeling a quite
understandable disgust of both candidates. But there had been countries
before where a confused and discouraged majority was dragged into a war
they did not really want...

We have now gotten the message that Hadash activists will hold a protest
vigil outside the Knesset, today at 3.00 PM. A Gush Shalom ad in Haaretz
and Jerusalem Post warns "The count-down towards disaster has begun." First
and modest steps in what promises to be a long, hard, uphill struggle. At
this moment every action counts: every manifestation of dissent, every
intitiative to protest and demonstrate, every refusal by soldiers and
civilians to fit themselves into the so-called new concensus. The cracks
are certain to widen, since the new government has no real solutions to
offer; since the people in Israel do not really want to pay the price of
war; since the entry into Sharon's cabinet was highly disputed in the
Labour Party; since an escalation in the Middle East would run counter to
US interests and might bring Sharon into conflict with Bush...

In the meantime, here are several concrete actions we know of, scheduled
for the next few days.

- On Saturday, March 10, at 1.00 PM, there will be a a Yesh Gvul vigil
opposite Military Prison 6 (Atlit), to express solidarity with 27-year old
Reserve Sergeant Amir Ben Tzedek, a theater teacher from Tel-Aviv in
civilian life. Ben Tzedek was imprisoned for his refusal to take part in
operations against the Palestinian uprising in the Kalkiliya District of
the West Bank. The main slogan: "The Settlers' war is not our war!"
Transportation: 10.30 AM Binyaney Ha'uma, Jerusalem; 11.30 AM Arlozorov St.
Railway Station, Tel-Aviv.

A meeting to discuss continued action against the occupation and oppresion
will take place on Thursday, March 15, at 8.30 PM, Beit Shmuel, 6 Shama St.
Jerusalem.

For help to soldiers who contemplate refusal to take part in oppression
phone to Yesh Gvul's hotline: 02-6250271; or mailto:Ishai at shatil.nif.org.il

----------------------------------------------------

- On Thursday, March 8th, Women's International Liberation Day, at
8:00-9:00 AM, there will be a protest vigil opposite the Russian Compound
(Migrash Harussim) in Jerusalem, where five Palestinian women are now held
under detention. Two of these women are also prevented from seeing their
lawyers.

For further details: Tally, 051-890714, Debbie Eylon <debey at mscc.huji.ac.il>

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Also on International Women's Day , Thursday, March 8, there will be a
demonstration at 4:30 PM, at Jaffa (Gan Hashnaim, corner of Yefet and
Ehrlich St.) by the Coalition of Women for a Just Peace. Under the heading
"We will not be silent", slogans will include: There is no democracy
without women - There can be no peace without Democracy. & The Age of
Generals is over...The Age of Women has come, the Age of Peace has come.

Transportation from Jerusalem: Gan HaPa'amon at 3:00 PM (costing NIS 25).
Please notify Ruthie at Bat Shalom to reserve a place on the bus
02-5631477. Also, please tell two other women who don't have e-mail.

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As noted in previous announcement, at 9.00 AM on the morning of Tuesday,
March 13, the Military Appeals Committee at West Bank Military Headqurters
at Beit El wil hear the appal of the the Akaba villagers against the army's
intention to demolish the "illegal" clinic which provides this small
village with a minimum of medical services. The villagers are represented
by Adv. Neta Amar of ACRI (02-6521218 ) and Adv. Musa Shakarne of LAW- Al
Kanun (02-5833430). The presence of Israelis during this deliberations can
make A REAL DIFFERENCE to the outcome. Transportation will be arranged by
Rabbi Arik Asherman of Rabbis For Human Rights (02-5637731, 050 607034).

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We have once again received an urgent call for help from Hagar Kullman of
Kiryat Tivon, who is conducting, virtually single-handed, relief operations
in the Jenin Area of the West Bank. "Yesterday, I got the army's permission
to transfer food and clothes into besieged Jenin. It was a depressing
sight, leaving me very frustrated. During my three years of volunteer
activity in te Jenin District, I always avoided entering on Saturday since
it was always so overcrowded with Israeli shoppers (especially Arab
Israelis). It was even more so before a Muslim holiday. Now, just before
Id-El-Adha, the place was totally empty. Virtually a ghost town. The
economy is ruined. And over there, no social safety net exists for people
out of work over the past five months, with no end in sight! They really
have NO BREAD. I am every day getting dozens of phone calls from Jenin
inhabitants, desperate appeals for help. My phone number seems to be
passing from hand to hand. I would appreaciate any help in collecting
donations."

Hagar Kullmann, 66 Keren Kayemet St.Kiryat Tivon, phone 052-365426,
04-9831157. Bank account for donations: Kullman-Jenin, account no.
45886/44, Bank Leumi, Zayd Branch, Kiryat Tivon.

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There is an initiative to have a group of Jewish Israelis participating
together with Israel's Arab citizens in the Land Day demonstation on March
30 - particularly important considering what happened in the Arab towns and
villages last October. Those interested are asked to already send a mesaage
to Iris <nur at netvision.net.il>, so as to make it possible to estimate what
sixe of group can be expected and what kind of transportation should be
arranged.

=========================================================
The Other Israel - bi-monthly peace movement magazine
pob 2542, Holon 58125, Israel; ph/fx: +972-3-5565804;
for free sample hardcopy or email briefings mailto: otherisr at actcom.co.il
http://other_Israel.tripod.com/
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Louis Proyect
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