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Barghouti - Israelis protest against Rafah outrage

Barghouti - Israelis protest against Rafah outrage

GUSH SHALOM - ob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 -

International release

[1] The long road of Marwan Barghouti
[2] 700 Demonstrators Confront Soldiers At Checkpoint To Rafah
[3] How to send donations to newly-homeless families at Rafah

[1] The long road of Marwan Barghouti

In this week of Rafah - another act in the judicial process against senior Fatah leader and member of the Palestinian Parliament Marwan Barghouti. At the end of a very predetermined trial, in which Barghouti refused to take part and be represented by a lawyer, he was found guilty of "responsibility for terrorist activity", with the foregone conclusion that on the final session at the 6th of June he will be condemned to numerous "consecutive life imprisonments".

By not recognizing Barghouti as a legitimate leader of a people fighting for its independence the present Israeli establishment closes one more door through which it might have been ppssible to get to peace. Barghouti - now, more than ever, a highly influential Palestinian leader - was on several occasions involved from his prison cell in promoting and facilitating a cease-fire with Israel. Taking all this into consideration, the Barghouti trial made clear how far we are away from the situation which in the end prevailed in South Africa - with war criminals brought before Truth Commissions, and with a long-time defamed prisoner being freed and respected as leader of his oppressed people.

[2] 700 Demonstrators Confront Soldiers At Checkpoint To Rafah + ongoing vigils

Before going into this report, we should note that from now (Sat. May 22) until Israeli forces are definitely and completely withdrawn from Rafah, there will every day be a protest vigil at 6.30 am in the three main cities; Tel-Aviv (Defence Ministry, Kaplan St.), Jerusalem (Tzion Square) and Haifa (corner of Hatzionut and Hagefen streets).



This was the essence of the call for today's protest at the entrance to Gaza Strip.

12 busloads of demonstrators - came to the united call of Gush Shalom - Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions - HaKampus Lo Shotek - Yesh Gvul - The Refusnik pilots - The Refusnik's parents forum - Women Coalition for Just Peace - Ta'ayush Arab Jewish Partnership (the logistics were taken care of excellently by Ta'ayush).

In the following Ha'aretz description you find more about today's protest - placed against the background of this terrible week, in which many of us have been running around between protests, police stations, and solidarity visits to the Bat Shalom women, who had set up a permanent presence at the "Gate to Rafah" (Sufa Checkpoint).

Peace activists march on Kissufim crossing By Nir Hasson. Lili Galili, Yuval Yoaz and Tsahar Rotem, Haaretz

Correspondents, and Itim Hundreds of people marched on the Kissufim crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel on Friday to protest the Israel Defense Forces operation in Rafah, in which 40 Palestinians have been killed as the army works to flush out militants and drug smugglers in the south Gaza refugee camp. The demonstration was supposed to take place at the Sufa crossing, which is closer to Rafah, but the protesters decided on Kissufim instead after being threatened by police at the Sufa crossing, protest organizers said.

The peace bloc issued a statement Friday saying, "None of us can sit at home at a time like this. None of us can say, 'We didn't know!'"

Six people were held for questioning during the march, three of whom were released a short time later. Protesters blocked the road, and vowed to remain there until the three remaining detainees were also released.

On Thursday, about 500 people demonstrated for the second consecutive day in front of the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv. The demonstration was organized by Peace Now and attended by members of refusnik organizations, the Yahad Knesset faction, the Yahad youth movement, and leftist student groups.

Yahad chairman Yossi Beilin called for an immediate evacuation of the Gaza Strip, saying Prime Minister Sharon's plan to evacuate the Strip in stages would mean getting stuck there. An unusually large police contingent was present but unlike the previous day's demonstration, it passed without disruption.

At a hearing on a police request to release with limitations two minors arrested during Wednesday's demonstration, Youth Court judge Ruth Ben- Hanoch said: "The court must warn against using court procedures to silence protesters or limit their rights to express their opinions." Judge Ben-Hanoch had harsh words for the behavior of the police in holding the minors overnight at Abu Kabir lockup.

Attorney Gabi Laski will submit a complaint to the police investigations unit in the Justice Ministry with regard to one minor who needed medical care after an injury by police during the demonstration. In an unusual move, all attorneys for the eight people arrested during Wednesday's demonstration were denied access to their clients at the Yarkon region police station, although ambulances had to be summoned for three who were injured.

Among the six adults arrested in Wednesday's demonstration were David Zonshein of Courage to Refuse, and Yonatan Pollack of the anarchists' movement, who were released yesterday. The Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court refused a police request to limit their approach to within a one- kilometer radius of the demonstration area, and all six returned to demonstrate yesterday.

Yonatan Shapira, among the signatories to the pilots' refusnik letter, and his brother Zohar, who signed the Sayeret Matkal refusniks' letter, said that police officers threatened to kill them if they did not let go of the four-meter-long black flag they held during the demonstration.

Zami Ben-Horin, of Kibbutz Ga'ash on the coastal plain, started a protest march Thursday from Rabin Square in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Ben-Horin, who is calling for an Israeli evacuation from the Gaza Strip, is accompanied by his wife Sigal, his son Gal, age 14, and his daughter Orian, age 12. Ben-Horin, who described himself as "not one who demonstrates in the squares" said the deaths of the 12 soldiers in the Gaza Strip last week brought him out of his apathy.

[3] How to send donations to newly-homeless families at Rafah

At the Kisufim Checkpoint rally, Dr. Anat Matar of Tel-Aviv Univesity appealed to those gathered - and to symapthizers elsewhere - to give donations helping the newly homeless familes at Rafah to rebuild their homes and their lives. The project - now more necessary than ever - had been going on since 2001, when the army started the policy of destroying houses at Rafah. Donations are sent to Khalil Shahin, a human rights activist in Rafah, who happens to live at the Tel Sultan Neighborhood which was directly hit by the latest Israeli military incursion. Matar tells that in the last few months she passed over to Shahin three sums:

At the end of 2003, 20,000 NIS that were distributed to 30 families, numbering 245 persons; in February 2004 – 40,000 NIS to 54 families (473 people); and on May 9 (right before the IDF invasion) 40,000 NIS whose distribution was greatly disrupted by the invasion and will continue in the coming weeks. Immediately upon hearing the news of massive new house demolitions, a new effort was launched by Ta'ayush, whose activists already collected 4,000 NIS just during the two hours of the giant May 15 rally held on Tel-Aviv's Rabin Square by the mainstream peace groups. The money is distributed by a team of volunteers headed by Khalil, whose members include members of the Demolished Homes' Families Committee and social wokers. Khalil himself works in the Palestinian Human Rights Centre in Gaza and distributes the money voluntarily, not as part of his job. After each distribution he sends a detailed report with the names of the families who got the donation, how many people in each family and how much was donated.

Donations can be sent by cheque, made out to Anat Matar, to: Dr. Anat Matar, 33 Bernstein-Cohen Street, Ramat Hasharon 47213, Israel
or the money can be deposited to Ta'ayush' bank account: Bank Hapoalim, account no. 396608, Ramat Aviv Branch (606). Please inform Anat Matar about your donation.

For further details:
Anat Matar, ++972-3-5408977 ;

# Boycott List of Settlement Products (newly updated)



# Sharansky and the New Antisemitism, by Adam Keller -

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Presence at villages threatened by the wall, contact:
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Eye-witness reports from the Occupied Territories:
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