[Reader-list] from israel

zehra rizvi fatimazehrarizvi at hotmail.com
Mon Feb 18 02:59:19 IST 2002

got this from a friend of mine (so im not quite sure of the source..a reader 
list as well, it seems).....follow up on the peace petition being signed by 
israeli soldiers.   a peace demonstration in tel aviv.


>off the gush shalom list . . .
>10 February 2002
>We knew there would be a big turnout for the peace demonstration last
>night just from the deluge of pro-peace ads in Ha'aretz the day before -
>page after page of statements and petitions, all critical of the
>occupation.  Some excerpts:
>***"There is a choice!"  An expanded new list of 200 combat officers and
>soldiers who refuse to serve in the army of occupation.
>***"There's a limit!"  Support for the new soldiers, and the names of
>others who have consistently refused to serve, placed by Yesh Gvul.
>***"We support the soldiers who refuse to serve the occupation" - a
>petition placed by civilian supporters.
>***"Peres, you are a collaborator in war-crimes!" placed by Gush Shalom.
>***"Do not say 'we did not see, we did not know' - the price of keeping
>the territories" - placed by the Israel Committee Against House
>***"A Recipe for National Suicide" - placed by a private citizen.
>And a huge, blood-red ad, "The Occupation is Killing Us All", signed by
>the 28 organizations that came together to hold last night's impressive
>rally in Tel-Aviv (full list below).
>This was the largest pro-peace rally since this Intifada began in
>September 2000, with an estimated 10,000 participants - Jews and Arabs
>from all over Israel filling the large Tel-Aviv Museum plaza.  The mood is
>clearly swinging in Israel, and the homemade signs of people who had not
>attended a demonstration for years reflected the new thinking - "Stop
>Sharon before he kills us all", "More conscientious objectors!",
>"Occupation itself is a war crime", and all permutations of "Share
>Jerusalem", "Dismantle Settlements", and "Bring our soldiers home".
>By the time veteran peace activist Yehudit Harel opened the ceremony, the
>crowd was a mass of people amazed and buoyed by each other's presence,
>with a great deal of hugging by people glad to be sharing the moment.  And
>then Yehudit's opening words in fluent Hebrew and Arabic set the tone for
>the entire evening - we Israeli Jews and Arabs together will no longer
>abide the crimes that the Israeli government is carrying out.  "There is
>only one flag held aloft here today," said Yehudit, "and it is the black
>flag of pain, mourning, death, bereavement, and the immorality of war
>crimes that are being committed in our name."  At her words, hundreds of
>black flags were raised high by the crowd, symbolizing the statement made
>years ago by an Israeli court that if a military order has "a black flag
>of immorality" hanging over it, the order must be refused.
>This was a rally in which the young men who refused to serve in the army
>of occupation were the heroes of the evening, receiving ovation after
>ovation at every mention.  "I once disagreed with refusal to serve in the
>army," said Uri Avnery to the crowd, "but today I salute those who will
>not serve.  Refusal is the beginning of the end of the occupation."   Some
>of these brave young men have been stripped of their command, demoted, and
>face court martial, but continue to answer to their conscience.  "How can
>we serve in an army that kills children?" asked Yishai Rosen-Zvi, an
>Orthodox tank corps sergeant in the reserves, "How can we serve an army
>that demolishes homes, does not allow the sick to get medical attention,
>seeks to humiliate an entire population, and reduces them to hunger and
>Between speakers and sometimes during them, the crowd broke into chanting
>of familiar slogans: "Fuad, Fuad, Minister of Defense, How many kids did
>you kill today?"  "Occupation, No!  Peace, Yes!", "Money for the poor, not
>for settlers!"
>It was a rally in which the stage was shared by Arabs and Jews, women and
>men, Mizrahim and Ashkenazim, young and old, religious and secular.
>Distinguished elderly author Sammy Michael pointed out the futility of the
>ongoing occupation:  "Death is not a threat to people who willingly give
>their lives for a cause."  And Shulamit Aloni, former government minister
>and perennial conscience of Israel, called out her message of hope, "All
>of you here today are the harbingers of a mass movement that already has
>begun.	You will be the teachers of democracy to this government.  You
>will set an example of morality.  We shall clean out the crimes of this
>country and fill it with peace!"
>There were many moments that brought tears to my eyes last night.  I will
>tell you of two:  Famed singer Ahinoam Nini (known as "Noa", I believe, to
>her American fans) took the risk of alienating her Israeli right-wing
>fans, and sang to the crowd a Hebrew, Arabic, and English version of
>"Imagine" by the Beatles:  "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the
>only one; I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one."
>And the other was the transformation of a beloved Zionist song "Ein li
>eretz aheret".	Reciting this song in two languages, Hebrew and Arabic,
>suddenly infused it with new meaning:  "I have no other country to go to.
>And even if the land is burning under my feet, this is my home."  For the
>Arabs in the crowd, the song suddenly became theirs, too, and for the
>Jews, it meant a land we both love deeply.
>I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one.
>Gila Svirsky
>Sponsoring organizations:
>Association of Arab University Students / Baladna / BANKI / Bat Shalom /
>Coalition of Women for a Just Peace / Druse Initiative Committee / Du
>Siach / Gush Shalom / HaCampus Lo Shotek, Tel-Aviv University / Hadash
>Youth / Israeli Committtee Against House Demolitions / Kol Aher BaGalil /
>Kvisa Sh'hora: Lesbians and Gay Men Against the Occupation / Left Forum,
>Haifa University / MachsomWatch / Meretz Youth / Monitoring Committee of
>the Arab Population in Israel / NELED / Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salaam / New
>Profile / Noga / TANDI / Ta'ayush: Arab-Jewish Partnership / Tajamu Youth
>/ WILPF / Women and Mothers for Peace (formerly Four Mothers) / Women in
>Black / Yesh Gvul

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