Terrible Days - Tel-Aviv, June 2.
TERRIBLE DAYS - Tel-Aviv, June 2.
Terrible Days: about an anti-occupation vigil and the funeral of Feisal Husseini.
Was it madness, to hold a vigil on the day after? The terrible blast at the discoteque was reason for Peace Now to postpone its march, scheduled for Saturday evening. Not that the message had stopped being relevant (say yes to a complete settlement freeze; say yes to the ending of violence) but it has long been a tradition in the peace movement to keep a low profile after a terrorist attack.
It was Ta'ayush (Arab-Jewish partnership) which decided not to leave the streets of Tel-Aviv this whole day only to raging and racist rightwingers, but to mobilize other more radical leftwingers and hold on this very day a vigil in front of the Ministry of Defence with among others the slogan "The Occupation Is Killing Us All."
Under the circumstances the more or less 150 activists who attended the vigil - some coming especially from Jerusalem and even Haifa - were not a bad showing at all. After all, this was not just a question of making oneself free: there was reason to worry about confrontations with the right wingers who in the morning had been howling for blood on this very spot. But at 5 PM the place was found empty, though a lot of racist posters were still lying scattered on the ground.
After there passed a cavalcade of rightwing cars - waving national flags - there came soon a few rightwingers to take position on the opposite side of the street; a television crew arrived and we chanted slogans for one and a half hour. "Down with the Occupation! Down with Settlements! End the Occupation - to End Terrorism!" Some youngsters were very creative and added new ones to the repertoire: Lo Namit veLo Namut beSherut haGizanut! (We won't kill or get killed on behalf of racism.)
In the end we dispersed orderly all together, as not to leave a few people behind alone.
It was just one day after we as part of the Gush Shalom delegation, had attended the funeral ceremony for Feisal Husseini at the Orient House. Also there our presence was not unproblematic. The officials of Orient House took care to direct us to a wing where we, some 40 Israelis together with a similar number of Palestinians and several foreign journalists were separated from the very passionate crowd which had gathered within the fences of the Orient House's garden. From the many militant speeches it was clear that here were all
Palestinian factions together, expressing what was a mixture of mourning and pain for the Palestinian cause. We had known Feisal Husseini long before he became such a prominent leader of his people. Several times in the past we had organized a group visit to the East Jerusalem Palestinian Headquarters, the Orient House; Feisal Husseini succeeded to make the beautiful place home to dialogue and manifestations of peace - and also after he became so prominent he was accessible to his old friends of the peace movement. The last time we came there with a big group was in November 2000. Some of us had still met with him a week before his death.
The funeral of Husseini who will be sorely missed not only by Palestinians but also by Israelis, was attended by Uri Avnery, by Labor Knesset Member Yossi Katz and the Arab KM's at full strength, Jerusalem City Councillor Meir Margalit of Meretz, author Eli Amir and others.