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Call For An Intl. Force Between Beit Jala And Gilo

GUSH SHALOM - pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 - http://www.gush-shalom.org/

Press release, August 29, 2001.

Gush Shalom (Israeli Peace Bloc) calls for the placing of an international force between Beit Jala and Gilo, following the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Beit Jala, which must take place immediately.

As we issue this call, Israel’s state radio is broadcasting patriotic songs and inflammatory texts, in an effort to whip up popular support for all-out war – the war towards which Ariel Sharon has been inching ever since he took power.

But at this early stage, there already visible cracks in the "national unity." This afternoon, hundreds of peace activists picketed the Defence Ministry in Tel-Aviv, at the call of Peace Now, joined by Gush Shalom and others, in protest of the unfolding war. Four Israeli soldiers are right now in prison for refusal to take part; among them an officer, Reserve Captain Dan Tamir. Many others - conscripts, reservists and highschool pupils facing conscription - declared their determination to follow that same course.

Should Sharon persist in his march to all-out war, this protest movement will increase and mushroom - as it did in 1982, the previous time when this man thought he had the people behind him in embroiling the country in unnecessary war..

The United States Government should recognize the great share it bears in responsibility for the grave deterioration and ongoing escalation of the situation - especially the manifestly biased statements issued by President Bush, against the better judgement of the State Department's Middle East experts, which greatly encouraged Sharon on his path of agression. The US should recognize that a forceful intervention by the international community and the deployment of an international force are needed on the confrontation lines between Israelis and Palestinians at least as much as in Macedonia.

The placing of an international force at the Beit Jala/Gilo sector, to stop the most immediate conflagration, should be the prelude to its deployment throughout the Occupied Territories. Such a force should be charged both with enforcing a cease-fire and with monitoring a complete halt to all settlement activities - in accordance with the Mitchell Report, which recognized that expansion of Israeli settlments at the expanse of Palestinian land is the main root cause which led to the outbreak of the present uprising, 11 months ago. The sooner the need for international intervention is recognized and acted upon, the lesser the price in human life and human suffering which will be exacted from Israelis and Palestinians alike.

We ask everybody to use all possible ways in getting this message to those who can act upon it - by email, fax, telephone and also by traditional mail.

* President George W. Bush The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 E-mail: president@whitehouse.gov Phone: (202) 456-1414 Fax: (202) 456-2461

* Secretary of State Colin Powell E-mail: secretary@state.gov Phone: (202) 647-4000 (202-647-5150) Bureau of Near East Affairs Fax: (202) 261-8577

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan ecu@un.org

Permanent Mission of the United States of America usaun@undp.org Permanent Mission of China chnun@undp.org Permanent Mission of Great Britain gbrun@undp.org Permanent Mission of France fraun@undp.org Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation rusun@undp.org

Mr. Romano Prodi President, European Union romano.prodi@cec.eu.int

Mr. Terje Rod Larsen Personal Representative of the Secretary General to the United Nations in Palestine Tel: + 972 8 282 2914 Fax: + 972 8 282 0966 Email: unsco@palnet.com

* Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Chairman E-mail: senator@mcconnell.senate.gov Phone: (202) 224-2541 Fax: (202) 224-2499

Political Advisers to Special EU Envoy to the Middle East Mr Miguel Moratinos: Mr/M. Bernardino bernardino.leon@consilium.eu.int Ms Karin Roxman karin.roxman@consilium.eu.int Mr/M. Christian Jouret christian.jouret@consilium.eu.int Tel.: + 32 2 285 87 63/8804 / + 32 2 285 67 94 / Fax: + 32 2 285 87 52

Copies to: Israeli Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres Fax: +972-2-5303704 e-mail: sar@mofa.gov.il

Gush Shalom Spokesperson: Adam Keller +972-3-5565804 / +972-56-709603/4

For information about Gush Shalom visit the website: http://www.gush-shalom.org/

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