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Something Is Moving (Protest Briefing & Articles)

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

[X] Introduction
[1] Something is Moving, Uri Avnery - Ma'ariv Feb. 17
[2] Update on support for refusal, Dorothy Naor - New Profile.
[3] Briefing on the rally sent by Peace Now
[4] Old-New Israeli Voice of Conscience, Lev Grinberg - Ma'ariv Feb 18


[X] Introduction

Ongoing escalation, and wartime-style media reports are losing their laming grip on the Israeli public. One and half year after the start of the latest Palestinian uprising a growing number of Israelis start expressing their anger and disgust at of the way of the Sharon government - the way of brute force.

And the number is growing, the more that this way is seen to be unworkable. That's why thousands of people spent two consecutive Saturday nights to demonstrating in Tel-Aviv against continuing occupation and for withdrawal to the '67 borders.

Many of the 10,000 who came to the earlier, Jewish-Arab rally, attended also the one held a week later at the inititaive of Peace Now - in the same square, but more densily-packed (there were some 15,000 - i.e. probably half of them people who had not joined the week before).

Peace Now's idea was to bring in the more moderate people, those who (so they argued) don't identify with the refusers and are not willing to hear about Israeli war crimes.

The surprise of the Peace Now rally (probably for the organizers as well) was that one of their scheduled speakers - KM Roman Bronfman of the dovish Russian immigrant party "Democratic Choice", which is Peace Now's partner in the "Peace Coalition" - did appeal to the public to support the refusers whom he called "the moving force of the growing anti-occupation movement".

The overwhelming ovation which he got for it showed that also many of the "more moderate tribe" are impressed and moved by the wave of - as of now - 255 first time refusers of military occupation duty.

[The number is constantly updated on the http://www.seruv.org.il site and the link with the number appears also on the Gush Shalom site.]

For more details and background, we advice reading the following:

[1] Something is Moving, by Uri Avnery

See…

http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/WO0202/S00067.htm

[2] Update on support for refusal, Dorothy Naor - New Profile.

----------forwarded message follows-----------

From: Dorothy Naor dor_naor@netvision.net.il

Update on Support for Refusing

The past several days have seen influential sources expressing support for the refusal to serve in the territories. On Saturday evening, February 16, at the demonstration organized by the Coalition for Peace, Knesseth member Roman Bronfman spoke before the crowd of about 15,000 in the Tel Aviv Museum Square. He declared his unmitigated support for the reservists’ letter stating their refusal to serve in the territories.

On Sunday, February 17 support came from two additional influential sources.

Gideon Levy in Ha’aretz castigated those who acknowledge “that Israel is doing terrible things but fiercely oppose the refusal to serve in the territories for various reasons and call on soldiers not to carry out illegal orders,” referring to “Members of the moderate Zionist left, from Ami Ayalon to MK Ran Cohen (Meretz), from the left of the Labor Party to Meretz.” These, Levy says, belong neither to the Israeli majority who reject non-compliance with the draft, nor to the minority who support it. Rather, they belong to a third group, one that is “attempting to have its cake and eat it too.”

"Those who support the third position have taken the easy way out - they tell the soldiers don't kill small children, don't prevent women in labor from going through checkpoints, don't beat up civilians for no reason, don't torment the innocent. But at the same time, don't refuse to serve in the territories, God forbid. Stand at the checkpoints and smile at the inhabitants whose lives you are embittering. That way, you will be both obedient and moral soldiers. Hand out candies to children after an operation, as battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Tal Hermoni told his soldiers after they arrested, killed, destroyed and wreaked terror on Beit Hanun. Inadvertently, the battalion commander fully actualized this position of the left: Shoot and sweeten."

Also on the 17th, Michael Ben Yair, legal advisor to Prime Ministers Rabin and Peres, signed a petition supporting the Letter of the Reservists declaring their refusal to serve in the territories. With him, seven additional faculty members of the law school at Tel Aviv University likewise signed. Ben Yair justified his stand yesterday (Feb. 17) on the radio and in the Ma’ariv newspaper.

Today’s Ma’ariv interviews him at greater length. He stresses the legitimacy of conscientious objection in democratic societies, noting that today’s refusees might be tomorrow’s majority, and reminding readers that Bill Clinton had refused to participate in the Vietnam war. “Our refusees,” he states, “are restoring the moral back bone to the State of Israel.”

One additional encouraging sign is the popularity of our New Profile booth at Saturday’s demonstration. Most people that we spoke to either at the booth or when wandering among the crowd distributing our fliers responded very favorably to our announcement that we support those who refuse to serve in the military. The position we back has not yet gained major proportions, but is apparently gaining in popularity.

At this writing, an additional 200 reservists have added their names to the original letter, bringing the number to 253. May their numbers continue to grow, and thus help hasten the end of the occupation.

All the best, Dorothy

P.S. [by Gush Shalom]: This evening, more than three hundred attend a solidarity with the conscientious refusers taking place at Beit Ha'am Gallery in south Tel- Aviv, with speakers, artistic performances and and an exhibition of specially- donated paintings and sculptures by 52 artists. The Refusers' Solidarity Forum which organized this event also printed a solidarity poster which is a work of art in itself. For further info matzpoon@yahoo.com - or call Nir Nader 050- 7369867.

[3] Briefing on the rally sent by Peace Now

------- Forwarded message follows -------

From: "Peace Now" peacenow@actcom.co.il

February 16, 2002

Over 15,000 activists participated in the march and rally organized by Peace Now and the Peace Coalition in Tel-Aviv this evening, under the slogan "Get Out of the Territories - Get Back to Ourselves." (see Reuters photo: www.peace-now.org/ReutersPhotoFeb16-2002.jpg).

One of the highlights of the rally was the speech, in Hebrew, given by Dr. Sari Nusseibeh. "The path to peace is through the return of the refugees to the State of Palestine and the return of the settlers to the State of Israel," Nusseibeh said.

As the march commenced, news arrived of the atrocious suicide bombing in the West Bank. The aim of our protest movement is to struggle for a political solution that will break this terrible cycle of violence.While this weekend's violent events will undoubtedly push the rally into the margins of the media agenda, it is only the first in a long series of major street activities. Judging by the energy and atmosphere we felt on streets of Tel-Aviv this evening, it is just a matter of time before hundreds of thousands fill Rabin square again.

Peace Now and the Peace Coalition would like to thank the Coalition of Women for Just Peace, Taayush and Gush Shalom for their outstanding support and cooperation.

Further information:

Press: Didi Remez will be out of the country over the next few days, please contact Moria Shlomot at 972-54-322834. Activists: There is a lot of work that needs to be done (office, weekend intersections, weeknight sign hanging, permanent vigils and organizing the next rally), get involved by contacting Ori Ginat, 054-405157 or ori@peacenow.org.il

[4] Old-New Israeli Voice of Conscience, Lev Grinberg Ma'ariv Feb 18

An Old-New Israeli Voice: The Voice of Conscience

By Lev Grinberg – Jerusalem*

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0202/S00069.htm

----

Did you know that every Friday afternoon at 2.30 Gush Shalom maintains a vigil opposite Peres' home in Ramat Aviv calling upon him to stop being an accomplice? Photo's and details on the website

NB: Full transcript of the war crimes panel available on the Gush site For Hebrew http://www.gush-shalom.org/archives/forum.html For English http://www.gush-shalom.org/archives/forum_eng.html

Also on the site: the weekly Gush Shalom ad - in Hebrew and English the columns of Uri Avnery - in Hebrew, Arab and English (and a lot more) http://www.gush-shalom.org

If you got this forwarded, and would like to receive our emails directly you can subscribe by sending a blank message (from the address where you want to receive them) to: Gush-Shalom-subscribe@topica.com In order to receive Hebrew [not always same as English] mail to: test_gush-shalom.org-subscribe@topica.com

If you want to support Gush Shalom's activities you can send a cheque or cash, wrapped well in an extra piece of paper, to: Gush Shalom pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033.

For more about Gush Shalom you are invited to visit our renewed website:
http://www.gush-shalom.org/


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