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NASA deal with Ariel settlement Bidu

NASA deal with Ariel settlement Bidu

While the diplomats talk, NASA dealing with West Bank settlement. N.B.: Call for protest

Bidu - Dorothy Naor reports & reflects on antiWall struggle

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[] While the diplomats talk, NASA dealing with West Bank settlement. N.B.: Call for protest

On the eve of the Bush-Sharon summit in which the future of the West Bank settlements is at stake it turns out that a major agency of the United States Government - the National Space and Aeronautics Agency, NASA - is already on the way to granting both recognition and financial sustenance to the settlement-city of Ariel, which constitutes a major focus of Sharon's land-grabbing and and annexation program.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), at Pasadena, California has expressed its interest in a new robotics program developed by researchers at the "College of Judea and Samaria" in the Ariel settlement, for incorporation into the planned 2009 robotic mission to Mars. In addition to space exploration, these new robotic techniques are expected to have terrestrial applications such as "Autonomous mobile robots performing security and defence tasks, patrolling roads and hostile areas" (sic!). As a matter of fact, in the settlers' own boastful press release on the Ariel/NASA deal there is mention also of an unspecified role for two other respectable institutions: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Tohoku University of Japan.

Gush Shalom sees settlements as the main obstacle on the way to peace with the Palestinians. We have many years campaigned for boycotting the products of settlements - with a significant follow-up of tens of thousands of Israeli households. We are very concerned at international institutions lending support and legitimacy to settlements such as Ariel.

We call upon you to express your concern to these institutes, using either the sample letter appearing below or your own text.

For further info you can look up the Ariel college's own announcement

as well as the Ma'ariv Online article in Hebrew

and in English

and also in the "Marsnews" website

-------------protests to be sent to:-------------- President George W. Bush Fax: +1-202-456-2461

Secretary of State Colin Powell Fax: +1-202-261-8577

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Phone:+1-818- 354-9314
Fax: +1-818-393-4641

------- NASA Headquarters Information Centre
(Washington, D.C).
Phone +1-202- 358-0000
Fax +1-202-358-3251 "Elaine Bowman"

------- More NASA addresses:


copies to: Gush Shalom

[for your convenience] here follow the collected emails: To:,,,,,,, CC to:


sample letter:

Dear Sir or Madam

The "College of Judea & Samaria", located in the Israeli settlement of Ariel on the West Bank, recently announced the The Jet Propulsion Laboratory which is part of NASA is interested in a "robotic self- navigating vehicle" being developed by Prof. Zvi Shiller and Dr. Shraga Shoval of that college. Reportedly, NASA is considering the purchase of that system and its incorporation in future Mars missions launched by NASA.

I am deeply concerned at these news. I would like to point out that this "College of Judea & Samaria" is not an innocuous academic institution. Rather, it is a political body, deliberately and specifically established at a settlement which was created on confiscated Palestinian land in flagrant violation of International Law, with the aim of "creating accomplished facts" and preventing the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.

The "separation fence" which the government of Israel plans to build around the Ariel settlement is at the centre of a hot controversy, both inside Israel and internationally, and its legality is presently under scrutiny at the International court in the Hague. The creation and maintenance of the "College of Judea & Samaria" at Ariel is aimed at lending legitimacy to this illegal settlement and making it seem as "a university town".

Any dealing with this college, and in particular the large scale support of a research project carried out there, is highly detrimental to the chances of peace in the Middle East. Further, this specific robotic system has military applications as well as scientific ones, including ones having directly to do with Israel's rule over and oppression of the occupied Palestinian population ("patrolling of hostile areas").

It is certainly not in in the interest of NASA or of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to be implicated in legitimizing and financing such a questionable project, and to have future missions to Mars linked up with it.

Yours, ......


[] Bidu - Dorothy Naor reports & reflects on antiWall struggle

“. . . some of the left-wing demonstrators, such as the brothers Yonatan and Shai Polak, behave in a far more militant and provocative fashion than what has been in display recently in the Anarchists Against the Wall protests in Biddu. Yonatan Polak taunts the soldiers, telling them to refuse orders related to the fence. The demonstrators mock and jeer the soldiers, chanting out sexual innuendo and relying on other forms of verbal provocation that has not been witnessed before in political protests in the territories.” Arnon Regular, below


Dear All, After reading the piece below this morning, I hoped to get Yonathan Pollak’s reaction to the report. But when I phoned him at about 11:30 AM, he hurriedly replied, “Dorothy, can’t talk they’re shooting rubber bullets at us,” and hung up.

The noon news reported that at Bidu, rubber bullets hit a young Palestinian in the head and a demonstrator (apparently either Israeli or international) in the leg.

The newscaster also stated that work on the site was continuing.

This means that the protest is also continuing, which in all likelihood means that the rubber bullets are still flying. I just spoke to the Arnon Regular, the reporter.

He returned my call, after I left a message on his phone requesting him to do so, since I had some questions I’d like to ask. Having spoken to him, I have to rewrite some of the following. I’d originally written, “Please, when you read the report below, remember that the reporter, Arnon Regular, seldom (if ever) relates events that he has witnessed first hand. He receives his reports primarily from the IOF spokesperson.

He might also speak by cell phone with demonstrators while they are at an event, but is not himself at the place, and it is important to know also the source of the videos he mentions. They are likely to show one thing if photoed by an IOF photographer, another thing if photoed by an activist.”

But Regular by contrast insists that I was wrong, that he has been to at least 4 (maybe more) of these demonstrations. He also states that he has heard the Anarchists “taunting” the soldiers.

The question in my mind is what “taunting” consists of to him.

Regular claims (and I believe he means it) that he sides with the demonstrators, but thinks that they should not provoke the soldiers. On the other hand, he understands why they call to the soldiers to put down their weapons, and accepts this. Most of our ½ hour discussion was about the write-up below.

But I did make one request about reports in general regarding the protests. I have been following these closely in all the Israeli newspapers for the past month, and have found that almost always these describe the demonstrations as being against the wall/fence. By so doing, the media misleads readers (mainly Israelis), giving them the wrong impression.

Had construction of the wall/fence been on the 1948 Armistice line (the so-called green line, or pre June 1967 line) most Palestinians would have accepted it without murmur, whatever they thought of it.

The demonstrations are not per se against the fence/wall, but against the stealing of their lands, the uprooting of their trees, the demolishing of their homes, etc etc etc.

Regular acknowledged this, but explained that he has also to get published, and that the focus therefore has to be on the fence/wall. But he also promised to try to add a bit more of the human element into his reports.

If he does, it’s only a small gain, but still, might be meaningful towards influencing public opinion. We’ll see.

Till now, reports (including Regular’s) treat the protests as if they are soccer games or sports contest between innocent soldiers and bands of rebels were.

But in reality the stakes are much higher: agricultural lands and olive groves and water sources—the lands and trees, that is, of the people trying to stop the destruction of their sources of income, and of the sources of income of future generations.

Palestinians, Israelis, and Internationals, strive together in the name of right against the might of bulldozers, IOF tear gas, tanks, rubber bullets, stun grenades, and other arms.

Would you not try to defend your home and property if bulldozers came to destroy either the one or the other or both? Would you not be passionate?

If Yonathan and friends call to soldiers to lay down their arms, to stop fighting innocent people and to stop destroying their land, this is not wrong. The contrary is true. It is not wrong to tell soldiers to side with right. They should not allow contractors to destroy Bidu’s, Mas’ha’s, and all the other village’s lands???? On the other hand, some of the protestors to get media attention might intentionally ‘provoke,’ as Regular suggests.

But if the media would publish reports about nonviolent protest, that would not be a necessary. Unfortunately, this does not normally ocur. Were there no violence on the part of the military, Palestinian lands and trees would be lost without anyone ever knowing about it. I have been writing this since 11:00, and it is now 3:00.

The 1:00 PM radio news reports that the Palestinian hit by a rubber bullet in Bidu this AM was a 12 year old boy, hit in the head by a rubber bullet, which fractured his skull. According to the same report, 3 Israelis were lightly wounded, and, still the same report, Israeli protestors relate that soldiers fired from less than 30 meters away from their targets.

The Hebrew Ha’aretz update relates that a total of 12 demonstrators were injured today

Ha’aretz update: Hebrew:

-- Ongoing struggle

#Vanunu to be released April 21 [ links to the latest re the Donate Now "Instead of Flowers" campaign / worldwide vigils etc. ] New: Contact re activities in Israel #Against the Wall (contact addresses) #Refusniks (prisoner addresses & links to constantly updated sites)

#Vanunu to be released April 21

Instead of sending flowers Wordlwide campaign WELCOME VANUNU by donating a few dollars (N.B.: online but ALSO otherwise) as a welcome gesture:

List of international vigils on day of Vanunu release (April 21):

Online petition for the unconditional release of Vanunu

For details about Free Vanunu vigils and activities in Israel, Call: 02-6254530 or 051-368236 or email:

#Against the Wall ðåëçåú éåîéåîéú áëôøéí îàéîéí ò"é äçåîä ìúàí òí àééáé 064-604172 àøé÷ 050-607034

Day to day presence at villages threatened by route of wall. Contact: Ivy Sichel 064-604172 who set's up a list for people who can come at short notice, or: Arik Asherman 050- 607034

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