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Int Day of Action for Justice in Palestine


International Day of Action for Justice in Palestine

Hi--this is the call to action that came out of discussions in the ISM after Rachel Corrie's murder by bulldozer and the shootings of Brian and Tom. We're hoping ISM groups and supporters will plan actions in many different countries that can support something happening on the ground in Palestine. If we can pull this off, it will be a new level in coordinated actions around this issue, and help put some pressure on the Israelis that might restore a bit more safety for us when we're there. in solidarity, Starhawk

Call to Action:

International Day of Action for Justice in Palestine June 5, 2003

On June 5, 2003, the thirty-sixth anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, we call for linked actions by Palestinian, international, and Israeli peace groups to protest the escalating violence against the Palestinian community and international human rights workers in the occupied territories. We demand protection for Palestinian civilians and for internationals, a moratorium on construction of the apartheid wall and its associated land confiscations and home demolitions, and an end to the occupation.

I. Who is Initiating this Call?

The Middle East Committee of United for Peace and Justice is proposing that United for Peace and Justice initiate this call together with Palestinian based, Israeli, and other international peace groups. Committed convening groups include the Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA), the International Women_s Peace Service, and the International Solidarity (ISM) Movement, which attempts to protect civilians and supports the nonviolent resistance within Palestine, We seek and welcome endorsements by all groups and individuals that support our points of unity.

II. What Would Happen on and around June 5?

... Demonstrations and acts of nonviolent resistance by Palestinians and internationals within the occupied territories of Palestine.

... Sister demonstrations, vigils and nonviolent direct actions by Israeli ... peace groups within the pre-1967 borders of Israel.

... A massive campaign of lobbying at the United Nations and of the U.S. Congress culminating on June 5.

... Teach-ins and educational programs in communities around the world.

... Demonstrations, vigils, and nonviolent occupations of Israeli embassies ... and consulates worldwide, and at offices of corporations that profit from the occupation.

III. Why This Call?

There can be no true peace or security in the Middle East without justice for the Palestinian people. In the wake of the war on Iraq, the Sharon government has stepped up a campaign of land confiscation, enclosure and isolation of Palestinian communities, and attacks on nonviolent human rights workers. The Sharon government is rapidly moving ahead on the second phase of construction of a mammoth OEsecurity fence_Ðin reality an apartheid wall which dwarfs the Berlin wall. A thirty-foot high concrete wall with gun towers in some areas, in others, a giant electrified fence surrounded by a wide swathe of OEno-man_s land_, it strays far from the 1967 borders to confiscates more than thirty percent of the proposed Palestinian state. It encloses the illegal settlements that have undermined peace negotiations since Oslo, annexes water resources and the traditional lands of Palestinian villages without compensation, and will turns Palestinian cities into giant, open-air prisons. In Gaza, construction of the security zone along the Egyptian border has resulted in destruction of olive groves and homes. On April 16, Rachel Corrie, a human rights worker with the International Solidarity Movement, was deliberately killed by an Israeli Occupation Forces bulldozer driver while trying to prevent home demolitions. The Israeli military has refused to seriously investigate her death, and the United States government has declined to pressure them. The result has been tacit encouragement of attacks on nonviolent peace workers and inconvenient witnesses. In Jenin, Brian Avery was shot in the face on April 5 by soldiers in an armored personnel carrier that opened fire on clearly visible, unarmed members of the ISM. On April 12, ISM member Tom Hurndall was shot in the head by an Israeli soldier on the Rafah border as he attempted to rescue children who were under fire from Israeli sniper tower. On April 20, Palestinian journalist was shot dead by a gunman from an Israeli tank as he attempted to cover an incursion into Nablus. These attacks on human rights workers make visible the ongoing violence against Palestinian civilians. In Rafah, more than two hundred and fifty people have died since the beginning of the intifadaÐforty-five of them were children. Unless the international community responds strongly to these attacks, no human rights workers, medical personnel, journalists or NGOs will be able to operate safely in the occupied territories. Without those who are prepared to intervene against, witness, or report on acts of aggression by the Israeli military, the way is open for even further escalations of violence and repression against the Palestinian people. Linked actions by groups within the territories, within Israel and by the international community would send a powerful message to the Israeli government. Moreover, they would break the isolation of the Palestinians, encourage and support the nonviolent resistance within Palestine, making that aspect of the struggle more visible, highlight the ongoing violence against Palestinian civilians and shift the climate of public opinion that allows this injustice to continue.

IV. Demands:

1. Protection and Accountability: ... We demand that the U.S. and British governments, the United Nations, and the world community hold the Sharon government and the Israeli Occupation Forces accountable for the death of Rachel Corrie and the shootings of Brian Avery, Tom Hurndall and , which make visible the ongoing violence against Palestinian civilians. We demand a full and impartial investigation of these and other attacks on nonviolent human rights workers. ... We call for an immediate deployment of UN international observers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

2. Moratorium on the Wall: We call for a moratorium on the building of the so-called OEsecurity wall_, An end to the land theft, home demolitions, appropriation of water and resources, destruction of villages and of livelihoods that this apartheid wall requires.

... End the Occupation: We call for an end to the policies of control and de facto imprisonment that violate the human rights of Palestinians: closures, curfews, checkpoints, roadblocks, incursions, snipers, and ongoing attacks on civilians. An end to attacks on the Palestinian economy and civil society, the obstruction of education, health care, emergency services that are part of an ongoing assault on daily life. An end to the occupation.

V. Points of Unity

Nonviolence For this campaign, we ask that groups that participate commit to nonviolent actions that maximize respect for life, and that embody the openness, creativity and compassion we are calling for.

Palestinian focus --Attacks on international human rights workers are an important focus of this campaign, but we ask that they always be seen in the context of the overwhelming daily violence directed against the Palestinian population.

Diversity We represent a very broad coalition of groups that may hold out different visions for this issue. As a coalition, we can unite around the specific goals named for this campaign. Individual groups are free to pursue their own broader goals and demands in their own names.

Independence We welcome support from a broad variety of political groups and organizations, but as a coalition we do not identify with or align with any political party or affiliation.

Tolerance Jewish and Israeli peace groups are part of this campaign, and allies in this struggle. Charges of anti-Semitism are often hurled at anyone who challenges the Israeli government. We refuse to be silenced or intimidated by those charges, while we also recognize that some recent attac Ks on jewish institutions do betoken a resurgence of actual anti-semitism. Our campaign is directed against the policies of the Sharon-led Israeli government and military, and the U.S. funding and support for those policies, not against Jews or Israelis as a people. Only justice for Palestinians can assure real security in either Palestine or Israel. We cherish the lives of Israelis and Palestinians. While we especially condemn attacks on civilians, whether Palestinian or Israeli, we understand that attacks on Israeli civilians are a response to the conditions of the occupation, that are only furthered by the policies of collective punishment and brutality practiced by the Sharon government. At the same time, we understand that such attacks stir fear and rage among Israelis that lends a spurious legitimacy to brutal actions of the Sharon Government. We encourage participating groups to be proactive in reaching out to their local Jewish communities to begin dialogues and discussions around this issue, and to hold out the hope that even those who are now our opponents may change their views.

Autonomy Within the framework of these points of unity, local groups are free to plan their own actions and campaigns. Local groups know best how to organize in their own areas, and how to speak to their own communities.

VI. Structure

The June 5 coalition would be a loose network of affiliated groups, providing coordination and support for autonomous actions within the framework of the points of unity. Convenor groups would take responsiblility for coordination nationally or regionally, in Palestine, Israel, the U.S., Europe, and other regions. A central website would be created and maintained, where support materials could be posted and where a list of planned actions and contacts could be maintained. Media coordination could be centralized regionally.

Funding would be sought for the website and to support media centers. Groups would fund their own actions independently.

For more information contact:

Website: http://www.peacejusticestudies.org/palestine.php

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