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No quiet without a Palestinian interest in quiet

No quiet without a Palestinian interest in quiet

Listening this evening to Israel's Second Channel TV news, one starts to doubt whether captured soldier Gil'ad Shalit stands much chance of being released soon. PM Olmert declared firmly that the Israeli government is not willing to think even about any prisoners exchange and that drastic military measures are being prepared.

It's perhaps remarkable that the next speaker on same TV is senior Hamas member Razi Khamad, spokesperson for the Palestinian government, who speaks good Hebrew. He starts with reassuring the soldier's mother that her son is alive and being taken care of well. Following item: the Palestinian parents of prisoners, waving their sons' pictures.

What is apparently worrying our authorities especially is that the June 25 attack was not something which could be called "a terrorist attack"; it was an attack on an IDF unit and army representatives spoke of the professionality of this enemy operation.

This is not going to end the already sky-high escalation in the Gaza Strip, which until yesterday costed a lot of (Palestinian) civilian lives and doesn't allow the people in Sderot a day without Qassams. Especially after such a successful Palestinian military operation the Israeli army will want to increase its deterrence.

Or could the scales be turned by such people as Rabbi Menachem Froman, in a long-time politico-religious dialogue with Hamas Muslim leaders, and bereaved father Yitzchak Frankenthal*, whose soldier son Arik was kidnapped and killed in 1994? The two of them declared on the radio - not only that the government should talk to Hamas, but that they themselves are ready to mediate on behalf of the release of Gil'ad Shalit. Also Arab Israeli Knesset Member Ibrahim Tzartzour (Islamic Movement) requested permission of the government to enter Gaza for this purpose.

Yesterday Gush Shalom sent out a press release and called upon the government to behave as is usual in the case of prisoners of war - and not treat it as a kidnapping - and achieve his release by negotiating with the Palestinian elected government.

*The latest news is that Yitzchak Frankental has offered the Hamas: Take me instead, and let the boy go.

Among all the reactions in the Israeli media, the following of a Yediot Aharonot columnist is outstanding; it appears however only on the English-language Ynet-News on the internet

'No quiet without a Palestinian interest in quiet'

Ofer Shelah - Ynet News: It may not be nice to say, but world will have

hard time condemning Kerem Shalom attack.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3267284,00.html

Read also Ze'ev Schiff's article

Outsmarted by a tunnel

Can Israel negotiate with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) when he is incapable of preventing Palestinian attacks on Israel? (...) Is the Hamas government a better place than for Israel to turn in an effort to win the release of the wounded soldier who has been abducted? Israel says it will not negotiate with Hamas, but for the sake of saving the soldier, it will certainly agree to indirect mediation, and the Egyptians have offered their services.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/731197.html

________________________________________________________

The following had just before appeared as ad in Ha'aretz, 23.6.2006

It is a soldier's right and duty to refuse to shed innocent blood.

We, combat soldiers and officers of the Israeli Defence Forces, have served long years on various fronts and lost comrades in the struggle to defend our homeland. The security of Israel and the values of the IDF were and are our guiding principles.

We call upon IDF regular and reserve troops - pilots, sailors and artillerymen - to refuse to shoot on Gaza.

The IDF shooting on Gaza has already caused the death of dozens of innocent civilians, including little children. It has achieved nothing but intensification of the shooting of Qassam rockets on Sderot and stoking the fires of hatred against Israel.

Shooting into the world's most thickly populated area is a war crime which contravenes the spirit of the

IDF and harms the security of the state.

We call upon the soldiers of the IDF to refuse to break the State of Israel's moral spine.

True security would never be achieved by the killing of children. It is the right and duty of every soldiers in the IDF to refuse to shed innocent blood.

Ometz Le'sarev - Courage to Refuse: Refusing - for the sake of Israel http://www.seruv.org.il/


Bil'in this week

Miriam Woodward looks at it with fresh eyes.

http://www.geocities.com/toi_billboard/MiriamW.htm

***

Some succes at the legal front:

High Court orders IDF to protect Palestinian farmers from settlers
The High Court of Justice ruled Monday that the government and Israel Defense Forces must act to ensure the safety of Palestinian farmers working their fields and [not to prevent] them from reaching their fields [in the case of] settler attacks.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/731503.html

***

120 Israelis: boycott us - to free them and us from the occupation

The Israeli letter supporting CUPE Ontario's decision to support the Palestinian struggle for freedom and boycott Israel still daily receives more signatures. Among the names, those of professors, artists, kibbutzniks and a lot of peace activists of a variety of organizations.

Text and signatories at: http://www.geocities.com/liveletlive2001/letter_to_CUPE.htm

Another letter to CUPE - by the TOI editors
Given the magnitude of the Israeli boycott on the Palestinians and its devastating and rapidly worsening effect on millions of people, those who endorse this boycott but cry out in dramatic shock at any attempt of a boycott on Israel are definitely guilty of double standard. In our tradition the word for it is Chutzpa.
http://www.geocities.com/toi_billboard/lettertoCUPE.htm

NB: TOI editors Adam Keller and Beate Zilversmidt, though both also member in Gush Shalom, did not write this letter as such. Gush Shalom campaigns since 1996 for a boycott of settlement products, which was initiatlly very controversial but enjoys now wide support in the peace camp. Gush Shalom does not take position in other than that.

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