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Activism 2006

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February 1, 2006

Hamas and Us

 

1) Who’s to blame?

Listening to the reactions of passersby at the recent Jerusalem vigil of Women in Black, you would think it was our peaceful little group that put the Hamas into power.  This stems from Israeli right-wing politicians who are asserting that Hamas won because of the Gaza withdrawal and other conciliatory overtures, i.e., “rewarding terrorism”.  Indeed, Bibi Netanyahu & co. are delighted with the Hamas victory, on which they can now build a fear-saturated election campaign, and return voters to the fold who lately had slipped into something more moderate.

 

But here’s my take on what made Hamas victorious in the recent elections:  Israel’s failure to sit down and negotiate an end to the occupation.  This is often phrased as “the failure of Fatah to make progress on peace”, but they amount to the same thing:  the Fatah failed because Israel refused to offer any reward for moderation, refusing to sit down and negotiate with them.

 

And what about the corruption claim – that voting for Hamas was also a vote against the corruption of the Fatah politicians?  This may have played a role for some voters, but since when does corruption bring down a politician?  Certainly not in Israel, where Sharon’s corruption has been an open book, but forgiven by those who support his politics.  Corruption is tolerated when approval ratings are high in other respects.  The corruption of the previous Palestinian government would have been overlooked, had the politicians only managed to show some progress on ending the occupation.

 

2) When terrorists become politicians

I remember standing on the balcony of my home in Jerusalem on a lovely May morning of 1977 and gasping when I heard who had won the Israeli election: Menahem Begin, former head of a Jewish terrorist organization that had killed 91 civilians by bombing the King David Hotel in 1946.  And then it was Begin who returned the Sinai Peninsula and negotiated peace with Egypt.  In 2001, Israel elected Ariel Sharon, responsible for blood-soaked episodes in Qibiya, Beirut, Gaza, Sabra and Shatila, and more.  And then it was Sharon who returned Gaza – imperfect, but a singularly important precedent.

 

I condemn terrorism, whether ‘rogue’ or state sanctioned, and I would never have voted for Hamas (or Begin or Sharon).  But who is better positioned than Hamas to reach a compromise peace agreement?  We have the mirror image of Israel in the Palestinian election:  Just as the Israeli right (Begin and Sharon) could more easily make concessions than Yitzhak Rabin, who had to fight our right wing all the way, so too the Hamas can mobilize more support for concessions than the more moderate Fatah could now undertake.

 

3)  About creeping fundamentalism

Yes, I am worried about Hamas rule, particularly its domestic agenda in Palestine:  I worry about women, non-Muslims, journalists, gays, people in the arts, and all those who benefit from the open society.  To what extent will the Hamas increase the role of Shari’a (Muslim) law in civilian life?  Or religious education in the schools?  On the other hand, it’s quite evident that Palestinians have experienced democracy and will not easily tolerate a closing of their society.

 

I take heart from this week’s survey of the Palestinian population, published in the Palestinian Authority’s Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda and reported in the Jerusalem Post:  

84% of Palestinians support a peace deal with Israel.  In case you wondered if this includes the Hamas, 75% of Hamas voters are opposed to calls for the destruction of Israel.  The Hamas knows that seculars comprise a large portion of their constituency.

 

4) And who benefits from ending foreign aid?

So along come American and Israeli politicians advocating for a policy that would isolate and punish the Palestinians by withholding financial aid.  Everyone knows this would destabilize the fragile economy, harm the innocent (but not the politicians), and foster increasing bitterness against the secular west.  A much more reasonable approach would be to extend support and see how responsibly Hamas uses it.  Or does someone have an interest in sowing chaos in the Palestinian territories?

 

Yes, I too would like to demand a renunciation of terrorism and violence as a precondition for talking …I’d like to demand it from both sides.  But realistically this has to be done as part of the negotiations.

 

*   *   *

March 8, 2006

International Women’s Day

 

On International Women’s Day, I took a moment to notice that the vast majority of human rights organizations in Israel are run by women.  In fact, 11 out of 13 directors of these organizations are women (85%).  Here’s the list – I hope I didn’t leave any out:

 

Adalah: Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel

Orna Kohn, Executive Director

 

Association for Civil Rights in Israel

Rachel Benziman, Executive Director

 

Bimkom: Planners for Planning Rights

Dalia Dromi, Executive Director

 

Bizchut: Israel Human Rights Center for People with Disabilities

Sylvia Tessler-Lozowick, Executive Director

 

B’Tselem: Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories

Jessica Montell, Executive Director

 

HaKeshet HaDemokratit HaMizrahit

Nurit Hajaj, Executive Director

 

HaMoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual

Dalia Kerstein, Executive Director

 

Kav LaOved: Workers’ Hotline

Hanna Zohar, Executive Director

 

MachsomWatch [checkpoint watch]

An all-women, volunteer organization

 

Mossawa: Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel

Jafar Farah, Executive Director (a man)

 

Physicians for Human Rights

Hadas Ziv, Executive Director

 

Public Committee Against Torture in Israel

Hannah Friedman, Executive Director

 

Rabbis for Human Rights

Arik W. Ascherman, Executive Director (a man)

 

If only we could get 85% of the Knesset to be women, things would look a lot different around here.

 

*   *   *

July 15, 2006

The Occupation?  Fuggedaboudit!

 

What a stroke of luck – 10 days before a war breaks out in Lebanon, we buy an apartment in Nahariya.

 

We had been looking for a place for about a year.  We went to Cyprus to check out the beautiful new communities on the northern shore – it’s quite a bargain, if you don’t mind settling in occupied territory.  We thought about Mauritius, but the savings on real estate would be offset by the costs of flights there.  So finally we settled on an apartment under construction in Israel’s sweetest little town on the Mediterranean coast – just 5 miles south of the border with Lebanon.

 

We were looking for a sea view.  Had the balcony already been built, we would have been able to watch the Israeli navy array itself along the coast, laying siege to Lebanon.  We wanted to be close to Kibbutz Sa’ar, just north of Nahariya, where one of my grown daughters lives, except when she evacuates herself to safer points south.  And we wanted a getaway from turbulent Jerusalem, somewhere we could spend long quiet weekends and eventually a serene retirement.  Several dozen rockets dropped into her kibbutz and our serene neighborhood this weekend.

 

In listening to the media, to my neighbors, to the gas station attendant, I am amazed by the lack of comprehension:  “We leave Gaza, they shoot missiles at us from there.  We leave Lebanon, they kidnap our boys.  How do they expect us to leave the West Bank?  Fuggedaboudit!”

 

These views, expressed by most Israelis these days, can only fill me with awe at how the Big Lie works:  Repeat it often enough, publicly enough, by political and spiritual leaders, and the whole country/world will begin to believe that Israel is innocent of all wrongdoing and that these attacks emerged from a political vacuum:

 

As if there is no occupation.  As if there is no siege on Gaza.  As if there are no 39 years (and counting) of military and political oppression with all the killing, maiming, home destruction, and livelihood wrecking that this entails.  What is it about “end the occupation” that they don’t understand?

 

No, I do not justify Qassam missiles or Katyusha rockets hurled at Israeli towns or the kidnapping of anyone (even armed soldiers in tanks).  I do not justify any attacks by missile or suicide bomber or remotely detonated device.

 

Nor do I justify the endless shelling of Gaza and Lebanon – land, sea, and air – for any reason at all, let alone for purposes more related to posturing and domestic public opinion than with accomplishing any political objective.  “How could we not respond when they kill and kidnap our soldiers?” asked Yuli Tamir, our Education Minister (for goodness sakes!) and a former Peace Now activist.  As if shelling is sure to make the Hizbullah leaders remorseful and let our boys come home.

 

So, as usual in wars, we have an alliance of the jingoistic decision-makers on both sides, whipping up patriotism while they watch the fighting on-screen from bunkers deep in the earth.  In Israel, this war absolutely thrills the right wing:  The escalation keeps up the militaristic approach to problem solving, discredits the view that Israel must leave the occupied territories, and distances the current warfare from its roots in the ongoing occupation.  What’s not to love about this war?

 

And as usual in Israel, a few cantankerous peace organizations – the Coalition of Women for Peace, Gush Shalom, Ta’ayush, and a few others – increase their presence on the streets.  At Women in Black last Friday, we carried our regular “End the Occupation” signs and buttressed them with signs saying, “Stop the Killing – Negotiate!” (and “It’s the Occupation, Stupid!”).  But when the cannons roar, so do the bystanders, and a dozen police were there to prevent anything worse than words and gestures.

 

A day will come when this small corner of the Mediterranean will again hold sailboats and water skiers, and I’m looking forward to that view from the balcony.  I still think it was a good investment.

 

*   *   *

July 19, 2006

Message from Women in Black, Israel

 

In light of the ongoing crisis in the Middle East, Women in Black in Israel are issuing a call to our sister vigils throughout the world (and allied groups) to hold their own actions this weekend with the demands ...

 

Stop the War!  Stop the Bloodshed!

End the Israeli Occupation!

Begin Negotiations for Peace and Justice!

 

We call upon our sisters and brothers to join us in solidarity.  Each group is autonomous to decide on its own messages, formats, and times.

 

We already know of vigils planned in Vienna, Melbourneand Calgary.  We would like to hear about other vigils planned.

 

Thank you.

Women in Black, Israel

 

*   *   *

July 23, 2006

Quick Report from the Israeli Peace Front

 

The peace movement in Israel has pulled out all stops to end this mad war.  Lots of groups are active, and we had a big joint demonstration last night - at least 5,000 people (though the media reported 2,500).  Marching through the streets of Tel Aviv with signs, "End the War", "End the Occupation" felt like a relief after the roar of pro-war-talk on all the media.

 

Women in Black held vigils last Friday throughout Israel.  The reactions from the street were quite violent and the police were out in numbers keeping onlookers (and on-shouters) at bay.  After our vigil, we read the list of 55 (!) locations that held solidarity events this weekend.  Some were Women in Black and others organized by allied groups.  We felt greatly encouraged by this international solidarity.

 

I end with a short note from Hannah Safran of the Haifa vigil of Women in Black.  The women were shelled during the vigil, but they returned to complete it.  Later that day, under the newly formed "Women Against War", they again left their homes to protest.

 

Hi gila, how are you?  we are having a terrible day today.  while we were demonstrating at our regular Women in Black square (30-40 people in all), we were bombed on both sides.  it felt like being targeted from close.  we had to abandon the vigil and look for shelter.  we came back 20 min. later and completed the vigil on time.  As we were traveling home, there was a second attack and we had to stop the car and look for shelter. When we came home we opened the newspaper to read letters of women from Lebanon.  The devastation is horrific.  Has Israel gone crazy or have we not noticed what a mad country we live in?  It is 5:45 p.m. now and we had two attacks since then. I am off to our daily demonstration of Women Against War in front of the Foreign Office and all the foreign press. We will not be silenced. War must be stopped now. Every min. counts as people's lives are in danger. do all you can to stop this madness. only someone from outside can put pressure on Israel to stop. i have to hurry. be well and let's pray for better days.
love, hannah

 

Please continue to voice your protest throughout the world.

 

*   *   *

July 31, 2006

Brief Peace Update

 

In Jerusalem alone, 100 people turned up for a vigil on Sunday in a surge of anger, protest, and mourning following the killing of children and adults in Qana, Lebanon.  Vigils erupted all over Israel, punctuated by the fury of passersby as they read our signs.  I brought candles, but they did not stay lit in the cool evening breeze of Jerusalem.  Others brought their own signs.

 

On Saturday, we held an extraordinary mass march of "Women Against War" in Tel Aviv.  Women came from 17 sponsoring women’s organizations[1], and we estimate about 3,000 participants (including men).  It was a dramatic sight marching through the streets dressed in black as a sign of mourning for the victims on both sides.  While the tabloids ignored us, Ha'aretz published a photo and detailed caption, and NRG, one of Israel's biggest news portals, told the whole story.  The Arabic press gave us front-page coverage, and some of the foreign press also captured the story.  This was an important action in a society in which the voices of women are always marginalized – and entirely erased during times of war.  Our gratitude to the Urgent Action Fund for helping make it possible.

 

For a real sense of the event, click into this 3.5 minute video done by "Social TV".  It's in Hebrew, but you’ll get the idea:

http://www.tv.social.org.il/medini/hafganat-nashim-29-7-06.htm

 

For chant collectors, here's a translation of a few of ours (in Hebrew they rhyme):

    "Peace and security are not built on dead bodies"

        "Money for the disadvantaged, not for war"

            "Children in Beirut and Haifa ALL want to live"

 

It was an amazingly long procession, and we could see people hanging out of balconies to watch and sometimes curse – no surprise, with 90% of Israelis in support of this war.  The anti-war movement in Israel seems to be inching forward, though the vast majority of Israelis continue to view us as traitors.  The international anti-war movement is a great source of solidarity for us here.

 

Most disturbing is the overwhelming Israeli support for the Qana bombing based on the belief that the Hezbollah were using this building as a launching site for their missiles.  And while all this is happening, dozens of Palestinians are being killed in Gaza by Israeli troops.  A news (not op-ed) article in Ha’aretz noted, “The large number of fatalities suggests the IDF is engaged in indiscriminate killing under the cover of the war in the north” (30 July 2006).

 

It’s more than those killed for whom we have to light candles – it’s the breakdown of morality in Israeli society in general.

 

*   *   *

August 11, 2006

War, Nyet!  Ceasefire, Da!

 

I figured there would be extra anger at us at the Women in Black vigil today, and there was.  “I hope all your children will get killed and your house explodes too!” screamed one woman as she walked by.

 

I think the fury rises in direct proportion to how Israelis think the war is going, and it is going very poorly indeed in public opinion:  Only 20% of Israelis say that “Israel is winning”.  These are the ones who are convinced by Olmert’s glorious view of the battlefield.  Another 30% say, “Israel is not winning”…presumably because somebody else is.  And 43% say that there’s no winner or loser.  Like a tie in soccer, I suppose.  [Data published in Ha’aretz 11 August]

 

Driving home, I tuned the radio to the easy listening music program, but there was no easy listening for me today.  The celebrity host was telling listeners about the proposed ceasefire, and warning them, “If we have a ceasefire now and return the territory in dispute, that will reward terrorism, and then Syria will invade, knowing that it can also regain lost territory by going to war against Israel.”  How many errors can you find in that sentence?  The media are now filled with Israelis protesting that the proposed various ceasefire plans will not let us finish off the enemy.

 

A few items about war and peace:

 

Military Refusal in Israel

From a report by Sarah Anne Minkin and Rela Mazali:  “…activist groups New Profile and Yesh Gvul report that hundreds, if not thousands, of reserve troops are refusing to go to the war. More than a hundred have turned to the groups for help in refusing to serve. While 5 refusers are currently in jail, with more awaiting trial for their refusal, the vast majority of refusers will not face immediate trial or punishment.”  Why not?  Report Sarah Anne and Rela: “…the majority of refusers are being told by their commanders to go AWOL, with punitive measures delayed for a later, less-urgent time. Refusers also report that many other men get out of service by going abroad, getting a medical deferral or simply going AWOL”  (http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org).

 

Pride and No-pride

At recent gay pride events in Israel, Queeruption held several successful happenings under the banner “No pride in occupation & war”.  And there is Shaul, a staunch peace activist, trying out his piano after a direct hit to his Haifa home by a Hizbullah-fired rocket destroyed just about everything except the piano.  Shaul continues to come to the anti-war rallies (and his wife Ruthie is an active member of the Coalition of Women for Peace).

 

“They place military installations in the midst of their towns and villages”

This claim against Hizbullah is used by Israel to justify its bombing of Lebanese towns and villages.  Now that makes me worry, as a huge number of Israel’s military installations are also in or near our populated areas.  Marjam Hadar Meerschwam of New Profile (http://www.newprofile.org) writes that she “has a military plant at the foot of my road, and Gelilot army base a short walk away.”  Rela Mazali, also of New Profile, writes, “My own house, in quiet suburbia just north of Tel Aviv, is 15 minutes walk from a major intelligence base in one direction and a major munitions plant in the other.”  And did we mention that Israel’s Ministry of Defense (our Pentagon) is in the heart of crowded, downtown Tel Aviv?  Both sides have a lot to learn about the rules of war.

 

Bulletin

I just heard that a peace activist was hit by a bullet today at the weekly protest of the Separation Barrier in Bil'in.  The websites say he has “moderate to serious head wounds.”  I hope he’s okay.

 

Finally

I reprint below the translation of an article that just appeared in Ha’aretz.  We’re very proud of these two young activists in the Coalition of Women for Peace.

____________________________

 

Translated from Ha’aretz, 10 August 2006

 

Voine – Nyet!  Kharb – La!  [“War – No!” in Russian and Arabic]

By Lily Galili

 

At the vanguard of the radical left protest against the war are two women – an Arab and an immigrant from the former Soviet Union – leading the demonstrations with “End the War” chants in Arabic and Russian.

 

The evening before we met, Khulood Badawi escaped the horrors of war to go to the al-Hakawati Theater in East Jerusalem.  But even escapism is not what it used to be.  She was watching the Lebanese movie “The Kite”, directed by a friend’s sister, in which a young Lebanese woman falls in love with a Druze soldier from Israel during the first Lebanon War.  At the height of the story, her cell phones began to ring.  The news that Katyusha rockets had fallen on Haifa quickly moved through the theater.  Badawi, who had lived in Haifa for several years, fled the theater to watch the TV news, where she recognized the offices of al-Ittihad, the newspaper of Hadash, Badawi’s political party.  Among the ruins she saw many offices she knew, and began calling her friends.

 

At that same moment, Yana Knopova, who immigrated to Israel from the Ukraine 11 years ago as a young Zionist activist, was fielding phone calls to and from friends and colleagues.  The rockets had fallen not far from the Haifa apartment she shares with Abir Kopty, the spokeswoman for the Mossawa Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens of Israel, and in the heart of the neighborhood of many Arabs and Jews who share her uncommon political path.

 

The two met the next day in what they call “the Tel Aviv bubble”, where they have been orchestrating the key protests against the war on behalf of the Coalition of Women for Peace and Ta’ayush.  An Arab and a Russian.  Another of the strange phenomena to emerge from this war.

 

The 30-year-old Badawi has a long history of political activism:  The former militant chair of the Association of Arab University Students in Israel, Badawi is today a field worker for the Association of Civil Rights in Israel.  The 25-year-old Knopova, a student of psychology at Haifa University [and coordinator of the Coalition of Women for Peace], strayed far from the Zionist dream though she had worked five years for the Jewish Agency,

 

In those years, she believed that “the left was only the Meretz Party”, as she put it, and then she discovered what she calls the lies and arrogance on which Israel is based, which not only create primitive men in Israel, but undermine the judgment of the entire country.  Thus she found her way to a political and social home in the radical left.

 

The Bomb and the Hope

Clearly the sense of marginalization in Israeli society – which views Arabs as the enemy and ignores immigrants – strengthened the solidarity between them.  “The police see Khulood as a natural enemy,” says Knopova with a bitter smile; “while in the exact same situation, the police refuse to see me as an enemy.  They also live with the stereotype that there are no Russians in the left.  Khulood is always dangerous, I am never dangerous; Khulood is a demographic time-bomb, I am a demographic hope.  This is an approach that regards the wombs of us both as in the service of the state, and we will not give them this pleasure.”

 

Over the past month, they have orchestrated all the demonstrations of the left, and held them in three languages – Hebrew, Arabic and Russian.  Based on the number of calls coming in to Badawi’s three cell phones, one would think that opposition to the war is the new consensus; based on the calls to Knopova in Russian throughout our conversation, one would think that a million Russian speakers in Israel changed their political views.

 

This is not true, of course, but there is no doubt that something different and new is happening.  Much has already been said about the uniqueness of this war; the fact that at the vanguard of protest are two women – an Arab and an immigrant from the former Soviet Union – is without a doubt another unique element.  Everything is new about this: Most of the protest in Israel, including that of the more left-wing activists, used to spring from the pool of Ashkenazi Jewish men.  Not anymore.  Today the protest of this war is being led to a large extent by women.

 

And that is not the only difference.  In the past, Arab citizens of Israel refrained from going to demonstrations in Tel Aviv during a war.  At most, they would make do with token representation in the later stages of protest.  They would also generally hold their demonstrations in Arab towns.  Not any more.  From the very first week, the Arabs became equal partners to the demonstrations in Tel Aviv.  Thousands of Katyusha rockets falling on them erased the reluctance of the past.  In their eyes, this is no longer a Jewish war, but a civilian war in which they have an equal right to make themselves heard.  Badawi says that they deliberately bring their voices to Tel Aviv, which is seen as the capital of Israel.

 

Another kind of change is transpiring among Russian speakers, considered the hard core of the Israeli right.  Once, bringing a few Russian speakers to demonstrations of the Zionist left was considered a big achievement.  Today there is a small, but visible and consistent participation of Russian speakers in the protest movement of the radical left.  Thus, the Arabs are learning to chant “Voine – Nyet!” (no war), while Russian and Hebrew speakers are chanting “Salaam – Na’am!, Kharb – La!” (peace yes! war no!).  It looks like this connection will last long after the voices of war subside.

 

The Old Left Failed

To Badawi and Knopova, all this seems quite natural.  Above all, they feel that the role of women in this protest is obvious.  “All the elements of this war bring the issues together – feminism, social justice, class distinctions, environment, and the occupation,” they say; “Women make this connection in a natural way.  The Old Left, even Gush Shalom, has not managed to connect these struggles.  We do.  Even the social justice and political networks of women are stronger.  This war is taking place on our social turf, in our homes.  As women and citizens, we create an alternative voice of women facing the militant voice of men.”

 

“This is a male war about honor, both that of the Israel Defense Forces and the Hizbullah,” says Knopova.   “Women are less into matters of honor.  Russian women instinctively understand that this war is a man’s game.  We grew up in that kind of society, and it’s obvious to us.”  Perhaps this is why the group of Russian-speaking women in the radical left in Israel grew over a short period from 3 to 200 activists who are now involved in protest.

 

Knopova explains that even her father now visiting in Israel, a profoundly non-political person, “understood the lie” from watching the Israeli TV channel in Russian.  Even he, reports Knopova, noted in amazement that one Israeli soldier seems to be worth the lives of ten Israeli civilians and a hundred Lebanese.  “He feels instinctively that something is wrong,” she says, “but the Russians in Israel get brainwashed.”

 

“Human life is valued in Israel only when it is in uniform,” contends Badawi.  “From our perspective, the struggle now is for the dignity of everyone in Israel.  Every human being.  Arab women have a common socio-economic interest with Russian and Mizrahi women.  Our parents will have nothing left to eat after the war.  When we speak from the stage – Yana in Russian, I in Arabic – that in itself is a political message.  It also conveys to the Arab world that the claims by Israel and the U.S. that Jews and Arabs cannot live together is a false message.”

 

It is easy to elicit endless criticism from them about Israel, but harder to pry from them statements against the Hizbullah.  “Clearly we as feminists cannot support a fundamentalist religious organization,” they agree, “but we do not want our statements to be used manipulatively against our views.  Israel gave the Hizbullah reasons to attack, but our struggle is waged on behalf of our own society, to prevent a regional war that would hurt us all.”

 

Badawi says that this is also the beginning of a way to repair the fractured relations from the events of 2000 [when 13 Arab citizens were killed by the Israeli police], after which it was practically impossible to find Arab partners for political protest.  “The age is over when we would accept Jewish partnership at any price,” she says.  “Today the connection is genuine, with Jewish activists paying the price of their participation by demonstrations against the wall in Bil’in, refusal to serve in the military, activism at the checkpoints.  We have a common fate, but it is different than in the past.  These demonstrations can help us out of the severed relations of October 2000.  Now the Arab-Jewish partnership is egalitarian.”

 

Only one area remains outside the joint space: the emotional memories.  When Badawi talks about the evils of the Separation Fence, her personal baggage takes her back to 1948.  Knopova agrees to every word, but has other associations from the collective Jewish memory.  “I do not want Germans guarding us within the ghetto that we created for ourselves with the Separation Walls and security zones,” she says.  “In the tragic evolution of Zionism, Israel has become the final solution of itself.”  Perhaps this is not the text that will accompany the official lighting of torches on Independence Day in Israel, but it is the only moment when the thoughts of the two good friends part ways.

 

*   *   *

August 10, 2006

My Letter Today in the NY Times

To the Editor:

 

Re "Left or Right, Israelis Are Pro-War'' (front page, Aug. 9):

 

There is a continuing, vocal and visible Israeli opposition to the war.   Every day, the Women Against War Movement holds vigils in three cities: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa — yes, Haifa, even under shelling.   Every Saturday, we hold mass marches through Tel Aviv, the most recent one 5,000 strong.  Several men have refused call-ups to serve in Lebanon, and a dozen young men and women were arrested on Aug. 8 for blocking the road to an air force base in an effort to prevent, in their words, the carrying out of more war crimes.

 

Ha’aretz is filled with articles criticizing the war not because it is going poorly but because the idea of preventing aggression by bombardment is both ludicrous and immoral.

 

These acts of criticism represent the views of thousands more, and if the war continues, they will also be out on the streets. Let's hope that it will end before that is necessary.

 

Gila Svirsky
Jerusalem, Aug. 9, 2006
The writer is co-founder of the Coalition of Women for Peace.


[1] The participating organizations:  Women against War:  Coalition of Women for Peace, Ahoti, Aswat, Bat Shalom, Women in Black, FORA (Russian-speaking women), TANDI, Women against Violence, Al-Tufula, New Profile, The Fifth Mother, WILPF, Neled, Feminist House, Ittihad el-Nissa el-Takdumi, and Kayan.

stop_the_war_lite.jpg
Anti-war demonstration, Tel Aviv, August 2006

stop_this_shit_lite.jpg
Anti-war demonstration, Tel Aviv, July 2006

haifa_stop_the_war_jacob_katriel.jpg
Anti-war demonstration, Haifa, July 2006. Photo: Jacob Katriel

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2006 Gila Svirsky, Dispatches from the Peace Front available on www.gilasvirsky.com.  Please cite this full reference if you quote passages from the book.