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Responses to the Bush-Sharon peace + update

Responses to the Bush-Sharon peace + conscience update

comments on Bush speech [1] How Sharon and Bush made peace between them - Gush statement to appear in the weekend Ha'aretz (16.4) [2] Too big a victory? - Dan Margalit in Ma'ariv [3] Palestinian comments

prisoners of conscience update [4] Vanunu, harsh restrictions after release next Week (Yediot) [5] "It is my moral duty – not my choice, but my duty – to refuse" Daniel Tzal - on the way to the military prison [6] Justice may be blind to selective refusal - Yuval Yoaz Ha'aretz Extensive report on Laura Milo's High Court case

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[1] How Sharon and Bush made peace between them - Gush statement to appear in the weekend Ha'aretz (16.4)

òáøéú áàúø / Hebrew on the website



To help us place such ads please write a check to: Gush Shalom P.O.Box 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033, ***

[2] Too big a victory? - translated from Dan Margalit in Ma'ariv

[we didn't find it on the internet Hebrew and English editions]

(...) As of this moment Sharon is the big victor. He got from the Americans far more than the sceptics thought he would. Were the Likud Party referendum held today he would reap the full benefit. But nothing is definite yet. The Europeans will rise up against the Americans. The Arab World will refuse to accept it. The crescendo of Bush and Sharon is so deafening that Abu Ala will not be able to endorse Sharon's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, as he intended to do. If these developments will cause the renewal of Palestinian terrorism with all its might - because the Bush declaration seems so pro-Israeli that nobody in Ramallah and Gaza will dare to stand in the way of the suicide bombers - Sharon's victory might turn out to be a Phyrric one. Too big a success, at too heavy a price to the other side carries within it the seeds of failure. But not yet, so far the celebrations are going on. To sum up: a great achievement for Sharon - with a lot of question marks already for the near future. ***

[3] Palestinian comments

[The Bush-Sharon pact is especially a blow for the non-violence Palestinians. With Hamas saying that this is the end of "illusions that there can be a U.S.-sponsored political settlement" what can they answer - now that Bush overstepped all limitations which there are to peace-brokers?]

------- Forwarded message follows ------- From: "ghassan_andoni"

Bush: No Return of Refugees, No Return to pre 1967 Borders I MEMC & Agencies, April 15, 2004

The American President George W. Bush denied the Right of Return of Palestinian Refugees to their land expelled from in 1948 and said no Israeli pullout to the 1967 borders.

"In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949," Bush told reporters after the meeting the joined him with the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in the White House Wednesday. Bush said the Palestinian refugees would not return to their lands, but to the future Palestinian State.

Bush's statements enraged the Palestinians who consider both, Right of Return and the Independent Palestinian State on the West Bank with the Borders of pre 1967 as red lines that can not be crossed.

The Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei rejected Bush's statements and told reporters outside his office in Ramallah Wednesday, "He [Bush] is the first president who has legitimized the settlements in the Palestinian territories when he said that there will be no return to the borders of 1967," he said. "We as Palestinians reject that, we cannot accept that, we reject it and we refuse it."

Palestinian Minister for negotiations affairs Dr. Saeb Erekat also dismissed Bush's statement. "This is like someone giving a part of Texas' land to China," he said, adding that over the years, U.S. administrations have assured the Palestinians that issues like borders and settlements would be handled in negotiations between the two sides.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, a former minister of Information also slammed Bush Statements said "Bush and Sharon are trying to protect each others' political future but are endangering the political future of Israel, the Palestinians and the whole region."

Further more, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan criticized Bush for ignoring the Palestinians' wishes in recognizing Israel's claim to major West Bank settlements. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, the secretary-general reiterated his position that unresolved details of a final Middle East peace deal "should be determined in negotiations between the parties, based on relevant Security Council resolutions," "He strongly believes that they (Israelis and Palestinians) should refrain from taking any steps that would prejudice or preempt the outcome of such talks," Dujarric added.

Khaled Mashaal the leader of the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas, said Bush's policy marked the end of "illusions that there can be a U.S.-sponsored political settlement" between the Israel and the Palestinians. "This stance proves that resistance is the only way," Meshaal told Reuters. ***

[4] Vanunu, harsh restrictions after release next Week (Yediot)

------- Forwarded message follows ------- Date sent: Thu, 15 Apr 2004 14:24:40 -0700 From: Rayna Moss

[Translated from Yediot Ahronot, April 15, 2004]

Harsh Restrictions to be Imposed on Vanunu After His Release Next Week

Vanunu's Relatives Enraged: We Won't be Able to Meet Him

The prisoner told his brother yesterday, that he won't be allowed to meet foreign nationals, go near air or sea ports and foreign embassies, possess a cellular phone or surf the internet. His adoptive parents: This is an absurd decision. Vanunu will appeal to the High Court of Justice against the restrictions immediately after his release.

By Tsadok Yechezkeli and Anat Tal-Shir

"I can't believe what they've decided to do to my life after I've spent 18 years in prison," Mordechai Vanunu told his brother yesterday, during their last meeting in Ashkelon Prison before his release next Wednesday. "Up to the last minute I still thought that they would let me go away from here."

Vanunu was referring to the document that he had received shortly earlier from security agents, which contained a full description of the restrictions that will be imposed on him during the first months of his life as a "free" person, mainly, a prohibition on leaving the country and an absolute prohibition on meeting with foreign nationals.

Vanunu told his brother yesterday, that he will be prohibited from leaving the country for a period of 12 months (after which the prohibition will be reconsidered), from meeting with foreign nationals and media persons from abroad. In addition, he will be prohibited from going near air and sea ports and foreign embassies, from possessing a cellular phone and from surfing the internet. Vanunu will even have to inform the police 24 hours in advance if he decides to go from one city to another.

The sense of shock that Vanunu gave out yesterday also reflected the harsh atmosphere among his relatives and his many supporters, some of whom have already arrived in Israel to welcome him at the moment of his release after 18 years, of which he spent 11 years in solitary confinement. The list of restrictions - and mainly the absolute prohibition on meeting with foreign nationals - was received with amazement and rage, since it effectively erases from Vanunu's life all contact with his many supporters around the world, some of whom are the people closest to him.

"This is a destructive decision for Mordechai," Vanunu's adoptive mother, Mary Eoloff, said yesterday with undisguised anger. She and her husband Nicholas arrived from the U.S. yesterday. The couple, who adopted Vanunu several years ago, dreamed of leaving the country together with him and thereby realizing his dream of emigrating to the U.S. and opening a new chapter in his life. Yesterday they found it hard to digest the news, that Vanunu would not be able to leave the country and would even be forced to accept life under harsh restrictions.

"The terrible thing is, that the State is denying basic human rights to a person who has already completed his sentence," Mary Eoloff stated angrily in an interview with Yediot Ahronot. "They are assuming in advance, that he will use his freedom of speech to speak out against Israel. He has the right of expression just like any citizen, and that cannot be taken away from him." Eoloff, who lives with her husband in Minnesota, called the prohibition on meeting with foreign nationals that was imposed on Vanunu "absurd". "We are his legal parents and we intend to see him. Tomorrow (Thursday) we are going to meet him in prison. So is it conceivable, that we will be forbidden to be with him when he is freed? It is possible, that we are not included in that prohibition, but we don't know anything any more."

The prohibition on meeting with foreign nationals has put pressure on Vanunu's many supporters. A delegation of about 80 of his supporters, including British Members of Parliament, Nobel Peace Price Laureates and cinema stars, will be landing in Israel over the next few days. Many of them have kept in touch with Vanunu by means of letters. Now they fear, that if they meet with him, they will cause him to violate the restrictions, thereby giving the security forces a pretext to re-arrest him.

"This is a terrible scandal," said Peter Hounam, the Sunday Times reporter who exposed the Vanunu affair and who arrived in Israel to meet him after 18 years. "We don't want to cause him any problems. If I reach the conclusion that I am putting him at risk - I'll give up on the meeting. But this is an outrage. Imagine, I won't even be able to shake the man's hand."

Vanunu has been given the right to appeal against the restrictions by next Sunday, and he intends to do so. He has empowered the Association for Civil Rights in Israel to petition the High Court of Justice against the restrictions on his behalf, and the petition will be made to the Court immediately after his release next week.

- END -

[Two boxes also appeared on the same page - one about Susannah York and the other about the Anglican Church in Israel offering Mordechai a job as a history teacher at one of the church's schools. Rayna Moss] ***

[5] "It is my moral duty – not my choice, but my duty – to refuse" Daniel Tzal - on the way to the military prison

Yesterday morning (Tuesday, April 13), the 18-year old Daniel Tzal of Jaffa arrived at the induction center at Tel-Hashomer and informed the recruitng officers of his refusal to obey his call-up order and enlist in an army of occupation. He was immediately sentenced to a 14 days' imprisonment and sent to Military prison 4 at Tzrifin. From the experience of previous refusers, this is likely to the prelude to a long series of repeated detentions and imprisonments – and if persisting in his refusal to serve the occupation, Tzal may eventually face a court martial which could impose a year's term or more. He had taken his step with the full knowledge that this could well be the outcome. Daniel Tzal was accompanied up to the military gates by some sixty solidarity demonstrors, including several youths whose own call-up dates are due later this year and who also intend to refuse.

The army's "Conscience Committee"

Three months ago, Tzal had written to the army"s "Conscienc Committee", asking for an exemption on grounds of conscience – but the committee refused was unwilling even to hear his arguments. In a letter sent to the Minster of Defence, Daniel Tzal wrote: "The principles of `the only democracy in the Middle East' have become totally devoid of any content when the country is engaged in the systenmatic trampling upon the basic rights of three million people, which undemines the basic principles upon which the state of Israel was supposed to be founded. In historical times such as the present, a sane person must rebel against the system which perpetuates the opression. It is my moral duty – not my choice, but my duty – to refuse to take part in the occupation and struggle against the institutions which try to abolish basic human rights. A sane person, who was not yet overcome by racism and by fear, bears the basic human duty of refusing to take part in a system of occupation and opression such as the IDF has become. ***

[6] Justice may be blind to selective refusal - Yuval Yoaz Ha'aretz Extensive report on Laura Milo's High Court case

Justice may be blind to selective refusal

By Yuval Yoaz (Ha'aretz, 14.4)

"The court is actually encouraging non-involvement of citizens," said Leora Milo, a conscientious objector to IDF service, whose petition to overturn the IDF Conscience Committee's refusal to grant her an exemption was heard yesterday.

Full text

[On the day itself we saw it also in Hebrew on the internet as well as printed edition; didn't catch it in time.]

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