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Save Gil'ad: negotiate!

Save Gil'ad: negotiate!

Report on our vigil in Tel-Aviv & information about further action
photo reportage

Wednesday June 28, late afternoon.
The taxi driver on the way to the demonstration was very outspoken: "God damn these dirty murdering terrorists. Why do we have to keep them in our prisons, and feed them like in a luxury hotel? I would gladly send the whole lot of them over to Gaza in order to get our boy out of there alive and well." Unfortunately, he is not the Prime Minister...

Arriving at the government complex on Kaplan Street we encountered an unforseen obstacle: our accustomed place on the sidewalk opposite the Defence Ministry gate was occupied by a group waving an abundance of Israeli national flags. At first we took them for extreme rightists, but it turned out to be a Labour Party event. People with whom we sometimes demonstrate together, for example against the settlers, but who today came to support "our wonderful army" and the newly-installed Minister of Defence, Amir Peretz...

We posted ourselves a bit further, keeping a distance, and counterposing to our neighbors' glaring patriotism the two-flag signs, harmoniously combining the Israeli and Palestinian colours in a kind of Yin-Yang circle - the by now well-known Gush Shalom emblems. One of the Labourites came, looking over our signs: Negotiations - not invasion! -- Invasion of Gaza will cause disaster! -- Invasion endangers the soldier's life! -- Save Gil'ad: negotiate! -- Cease-Fire Now! He seemed a bit impressed, and went away friendly.

Some bitter criticism came from one of our own: "What is this! Such anaemic slogans! Not a word about the war crimes!" As we had some blanc placards and marker pens in a choice of colours, her problem was quickly solved: Stop the IDF crimes in Gaza!!! (in red).

Other participants followed the example of producing their own original texts: War does not save life! -- Refuse to serve the occupation! -- Stop the lies, stop the violence, stop the murder! -- Generals lead Peretz like a bull to the slaughter!

A Meretz youngster went over to one of the other demonstrators whom he recognized: "How can you defend these horrors? Do you know that 500 000 people in Gaza are without electricity and water? Are they all to blame that somebody has kidnapped a soldier? And you call yourself a member of the Labor Movement Youths?"

After the Laborites departed and left the field to us, we benefitted somewhat from the press attention, journalists having been mobilised also by them. A stay-at-home friend phoned: just opened the radio: Gush Shalom protests Gaza invasion at Defence Ministry!.

On Israeli TV news - nothing. But probably some Germans did see us, as two German TV crews competed for an interview with Uri Avnery, as well as with other German speakers.

--Some friends of Courage to Refuse (reservist refusers of occupation service in their twenties and early thirties) used our vigil to distribute their quickly produced flyers calling for another action: Friday at Sufa Base near the Gaza Strip border, "the place where it happened."
On the way home we read: "Three batallions are in Gaza; Olmert and Peretz speak the language of war; soon will come the coffins of soldiers - and of dozens of Palestinian civilians. Will you sit at home?!" (The reference to three batallions may soon be outdated, as Ha'aretz already speaks of more batallions poised to enter the northern Gaza Strip.)

Also planned:
--a press conference of protesting intellectuals

--a demonstration called by the veteran refusers of Yesh Gvul, Saturday night in front of the PM's Residence in Jerusalem, with the focus on military and polical leaders responsible for war crimes - which Yesh Gvul plays an active part in trying to bring to international justice.

..and a link to an important press interview:
Bereaved mother: Don't attempt to rescue Shalit,7340,L-3268447,00.html


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