Amidst the revenge cycle
Amidst the revenge cycle an Israeli anti-Wall statement
# The blood cycle rolls again # We also want to be represented in The Hague # Only by Force? - Gush Shalom weekly ad in Haaretz *** # The blood cycle rolls again
Again - as on so many terrible occasions - the cycle of bloodshed is set rolling precisely when new peace initiatives are in the offing. Yesterday, Israel's armed forces launched a massive invasion of the city of Gaza, in order - so the generals declared - to defend the settlement enclave of Netzarim (an absurd enclave which Sharon himself reportedly took the decision to evacuate). Nine Palestinians were killed in the raid, including an eleven year old child.* This morning - another madness - a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up inside a Jerusalem bus, killing ten random Israelis and wounding many others. This afternoon Sharon's cabinet is due to meet and - of course - to decide on another punitive action... Meanwhile, the far-reaching peace initiative, mooted by the Saudi Crown Prince in preparation for the March Arab summit seems swept off the agenda, and the latest efforts to revive the literally dead-locked Road Map for Peace are set at naught. For Sharon the terrorist attack comes as "additional justification" of his Wall. We beg to differ: the Wall is part of the provocative government poilicies.
*See Ha'aretz Editorial "Indiscriminate Killing": http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/388246.html ***
# We also want to be represented in The Hague òáøéú ìôé á÷ùä àå á÷øåá áàúø
Defending The Wall At The International Court Of Justice: Not In Our Name!
This week Gush Shalom and 12 other Israeli peace & human rights organizations sent a request to the Israeli government to represent at the International Court of Justice in The Hague also our view on the wall. And the request was made public in a press release to the Israeli press.
Because only governments are entitled to submit materials to the Court, we asked the Israeli government to submit a letter in our name. We pointed out that there are diverse voices in Israel on the matter, and that many, if not most, Israelis (including the Minister of Justice in Sharon’s government) oppose the building of the Wall deep inside Palestinian territory, which is indefensible on “security” grounds. Even if Israel claims “military necessity” in constructing the “Separation Barrier,” it is enjoined by the Fourth Geneva Convention to ensure the well-being of the civilian population under its control which is clearly not the case here, where hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians will be displaced, enclosed in locked enclaves and financially ruined (let alone the political implications of the Wall).
Here follows the full text of what we sent:
1) Letter to the government 2) Appendix (Statement for the court in The Hague) 3) Translation of the press release to the Israeli press
1) Letter to the government
January 25, 2004
To: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom
DEFENDING THE WALL AT THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE NOT IN OUR NAME!
Towards the end of February the International Court of Justice in The Hague will begin its proceedings on the issue of the “"Separation Wall” that your government is constructing in the depths of the Palestinian areas of West Bank at an accelerated pace. According to the Israeli media, you intend to defend your policies on the grounds that the Wall is a security matter intended to prevent terrorist attacks. It seems appropriate, in the spirit of democratic rules, that you also inform the Court that in their arguments your representatives do not speak for the entire Israeli public. In your building of the Wall especially to the degree that it constitutes a political “fact”" rather than a true security barrier and in your defiance of international law and international public opinion, your government and its lawyers do not speak in our name.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Israel to whom the Wall is supposed to give security, reject your claims completely. If you sincerely sought to prevent the entry of suicide bombers to Israel, you could have erected the Wall along the Green Line, the recognized de facto border of the State of Israel, as the most prominent of your generals urged and at a greatly reduced cost. The Wall you are constructing robs land and livelihood from hundreds of thousands of Palestinians but also eliminates crucial resources from your own increasing impoverished and desperate society.
If your government sincerely desired an end to terrorism and security for our people, it would have actively engaged in a political process and refrained from a unilateral act of constructing a Wall that only perpetuates the Occupation and the conflict. In this way you would have dried up the swamp of misery, hatred and repression that motivates the attacks and endangers our lives. This may have saved us from even the perception that we needed such a Wall.
There is no conclusion other than your true objective in constructing the Wall along its present intrusive and indefensible route are motivated by political aims rather than genuine security concerns. The aim is to grab more and more Palestinian land, to annex large settlement blocs and in the end to foreclose the possibility of a viable Palestinian state. We refuse to be part of any of these endeavors, which we utterly oppose. Your representatives before the International Court of Justice do not speak in our names or in the names of millions of Israelis who yearn for an end to the conflict. We demand that you convey the attached letter expressing our opposition to the Wall as a grave violation of Palestinian human rights, of international humanitarian law and of the desire of both our peoples for a just and lasting peace.
We await your reply.
The Alternative Information Center (A joint Israeli-Palestinian organization) Bat Shalom The Coalition of Women for a Just Peace The Fifth Mother Gush Shalom The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) MachsomWatch New Profile Noga Rabbis for Human Rights Tandi Women in Black Yesh Gvul
2) Appendix (Statement for the court in The Hague)
Statement by Israeli Peace and Human Rights Organizations On The Construction Of The Wall In Occupied Palestinian Territory
We, the undersigned Israeli peace and human rights organizations, wish to make our views known to the International Court of Justice concerning the Wall currently under construction by the Israeli government in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
As Israeli citizens, we are troubled that the position of the Israeli government regarding this Wall does not reflect our views, nor does it necessarily reflect the views of the Israeli public. We represent a significant segment of the population in Israel who object to construction of this Wall, and we call upon the Court to demand that it be dismantled, for the reasons that follow.
The construction and location of the Wall are in grave breach of international humanitarian law as articulated inter alia by the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Wall is actually a complex system of walls and electronic fences that surround and isolate tens of thousands of Palestinians who are innocent of all wrongdoing. While Israel clearly has the responsibility to defend its citizens against terrorist and other attacks, we hold that the Wall although presented to the public as a security measure in actuality constitutes a political border that defines the Bantustan-like state that Israel is planning for the Palestinians in the West Bank. This is evident from the route of the Wall which, by surrounding Areas A and B, creates “cantons” (as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has referred to them) in which the Palestinians will be confined. Indeed, the Wall reaches deep into Palestinian territory in order to encompass “settlement blocs,” thus extending the Israeli civilian and military presence far inside Palestinian territory. This route clearly reveals that the Wall is designed to serve political, not security, objectives. It will unilaterally define a boundary that ensures Israeli control of the entire region between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River.
Israel argues “military necessity” in its defense of the Wall. International humanitarian law, however, mandates proportionality between military necessity and the well-being of the civilian population under occupation. The Fourth Geneva Convention obligates the occupying power to respect and ensure the fundamental rights of the civilian population to personal security, dignity, a livelihood, freedom of movement, and access to property, education and medical care all irreparably harmed by the route and scale of the Wall, as well as the constraints on movement that it entails. Despite the serious repercussions of its construction, no study was undertaken by the Israeli government to survey the impact of the Wall on the civilian Palestinian population. In addition, the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits an Occupying Power from making its occupation permanent. The erection of a $2-3 billion system of massive barriers, walls, electronic fences, security roads, roadblocks, checkpoints, and military installations constitutes such permanent presence, especially when taking into account the dramatic alteration in land use, demography, induced population transfer, and other irreversible changes in Palestinian life emanating from the presence of the Wall.
We the undersigned have approached the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs with our request to include this statement in the materials presented to the Court. It is our contention, based upon incontrovertible evidence, that the Wall in its present route constitutes a severe violation of fundamental human rights, serves political rather than security ends, and throws up a major obstacle to a just and sustainable peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.
We say to the Israeli government and to the Court as one: Not in our name. Justice requires not only condemnation of the Wall, but its immediate dismantling.
For a Just Peace,
[the signed organizations]
3) Translation of the press release to the Israeli press
PRESS RELEASE - January 27, 2004
Israeli Peace Organizations To Prime Minister Sharon: Not In Our Name! Do Not Justify The Wall At The International Court Of Justice
The “Separation Wall”" violates international law which holds Occupying Powers responsible for the well being of the civilian population living under their control.
The Israeli peace and human rights organizations demand that the Government include their opposition to the Wall in Israel’s brief to the International Court in The Hague . We declare to both the Israeli Government and the Court: “Not In Our Name” will you justify the Wall in its present route that creates political facts on the ground whose implications are a permanent occupation, repression of the Palestinians’ basic human rights and the perpetuation of the conflict.
Yesterday, January 26, a dozen Israeli peace and human rights organizations presented a letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom stating that the Separation Wall constitutes a brutal violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention that requires proportionality between the security concerns of an Occupying Power and the well-being of the civilian population under their control.
The Israeli peace and human rights organizations turned to the Israeli government with the demand that it include their opposition to the Wall, based on detailed objections arising from international humanitarian law, in the materials presented to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The letter states: We say to the Israeli government and to the Court as one: Not in our name. Justice requires not only condemnation of the Wall, but its immediate dismantling. As Israeli citizens, we are troubled that the position of the Israeli government regarding this Wall does not reflect our views, nor does it necessarily reflect the views of the Israeli public. We represent a significant segment of the population in Israel who object to construction of this Wall, and we call upon the Court to demand that it be dismantled
[signed: the 13 organizations]
# Only by Force? - Gush Shalom weekly ad in Haaretz
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ONLY BY FORCE
If the Sharon government had voluntarily released hundreds of prisoners when it accepted - or pretended to accept - the Road Map, the credit for the act would have gone to Israel and it would have created a lot of good will.
When it releases the same prisoners within the framework of a prisoners' swap, it looks (using the language so often employed by Sharon himself) like "rewarding terrorism". All the credit is going to Hizballah.
It seems that the
Palestinians are right: Sharon indeed understands only the
language of power.