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(en) Israel/Palestine, Last week of year: grassroots actions across the Israeli-Palestinian divide

From otherisr@actcom.co.il
Date Tue, 26 Dec 2000 06:37:08 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

- Appraisal of a paradoxical situation
- Joint Palestinian-Israeli march in Beit Sahur - 28 Dec.
- Women' s peace march in Jerusalem (men also invited) - 29 Dec.
- Hannukah candle lighting and the Intifada - 27 Dec.
- Ongoing Bereaved Families' Peace Tent
- Women in Black vigils 
- Food convoys continue
- Visits requested for a wounded boy
- Supporting the Jaber family 
- Uncovering the settler expansion plans    

This year the Christian Christmas, the Muslim Id-El-Fitr and the Jewish 
Hannukah fall together - something which occurs only once in forty years, 
since the three religions use widely different calenders. But it is no festive 
occasion for anyone, with the ongoing bloodshed and the oppressive 
measures undertaken by the occupation authorities. Christmas eve 
yesterday in Bethlehem was a sad occasion, attended only by a handful of 
pilgrims in a besieged city which bears the scars of three months' fighting. 

In the midst of it it all, we hear of the suddenly accelerated peace 
negotiations in Washington, and the reports of new concessions Barak is 
allegedly willing to make. How much credence can we give this 
development? Can it be that Ehud Barak is on the way to do now what he 
failed to do at Camp David, before all that blood was shed, before so much 
additional distrust and hatred were sown between the two peoples? 
At first glance, it seems unlikely. Yet only by getting an agreement with the 
Palestinians can Barak hope to offer his disgruntled voters - Jewish and Arab 
alike - reason to support him in the elections of February 6, 2001which at the 
moment he seems certain to lose. And it would not be the first time in 
history that politicians did for political survival what they would not do for 
nobler motives.

Meanwhile, we would like to tell you of quite a few peace actions scheduled 
for the coming week, and the continuation of others. 

- On thursday, Dec. 28, the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement in Beit 
Sahour will hold a peaceful march in which Israeli activists are invited to 
take part. The idea is to set out at 3:00 PM from the Shepherds' Field in Beit 
Sahour towards the Israeli military camp known as "Shdemot" which is 
located on land confiscated from Beit Sahour residents, and whose presence 
causes immense suffering to the town's inhabitants. 
On arrival there, a written petition will be presented to the military 
authorities on the spot, on behalf of all participants - the Beit Sahourians 
and their Israeli and international guests. It will affirm general principles - 
that "a peaceful and just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict should 
be based on the right of the Palestinian people to establish a Palestinian 
state in the areas occupied by Israel during the 1967 war with East Jerusalem 
as its capital and on a strong commitment for a decent solution to the 52 years 
old and still ongoing tragedy of the Palestinian refugees based on the united 
nation resolutions".  
This will be followed by enumeration of the heavy price Beith Sahour paid for 
this camp's presence in its vicinity: Three inhabitants - two mothers and a 
young man - killed in shootings and bombings; ten wounded; two hundred 
homes damaged, including two which were completely burned. In 
conclusion, there will be made a demand for the camp's evacuation, and a 
direct appeal: "Soldiers of the site, you are the first to know that this 
military base is good for nothing but to escalate the conflict and fill the 
hearts of  people with hatred and anger instead of hope and peace."
Additionally, the Beit Sahourians will request access in order to pray at an 
ancient Christian burial site, located within the base, to which access is 
denied to them. (Full text at www.rapprochement.org.)

Several Israeli organizations already accepted the invitation, among them the 
Rapprochement  Group in Jerusalem which has many years' experience in 
contact and dialogue with the Beith Sahourians, as well as Gush Shalom, 
Bat Shalom, the Rabbis for Human Rights and others. 

Tel-Aviv - 12:00 Noon from Arlozorov Railway Station
Jerusalem 1:30 PM from parking lot, Gan Hapa'amon (Liberty Bell Park).  
(You should inform Neta Golan at 050-757504, so as to let the organizers 
know how many people to expect for the bus).  

Further information:  George Rashmawi 052-299310  pcr@p-ol.com, or 
Ghassan Andoni 052-595319 (Beit Sahour); Hillel Bardin 02-6732936 or 
Judith Green 02-6732828 (Jerusalem) Roni Armon 03-5286722 (Tel-Aviv).   

 - On Friday, December 29, the Coalition of Women for a Just Peace is  
organizing a series of events in Jerusalem entitled "No to Occupation, Yes to 
a Just Peace!" (The coalition includes Bat Shalom, New Profile, the 
Democratic Women, WILPF, Women Engendering Peace, Women in Black, 
Women for Political Prisoners, and former activists of Four Mothers.)

At  9:30 AM there will be a rally at Notre Dame Center (opposite New Gate of 
the Old City), followed at 1:00 PM by the traditional Women in Black vigil at 
Paris Square.  From there, a march will set out at 2:00 PM to the 1967 
border. At the latter stage, men are welcome to join, and so are peace 
organizations which are not specifically of women. 

The march will call for an an end to the occupation; two states - Israel and 
Palestine - side by side on the basis of the 1967 border and with Jerusalem 
as a shared capital; Israeli recognition of responsibility for the results of 
1948; a just solution to the refugee problem, and... full involvement of women 
in peace negotiations.

Early morning chartered buses will be coming from several regions (more details 
with the organizers). .Gush Shalom will have its own transportation from Tel-
Aviv at noon (12:00) from Arlozorov Railway Station - you must reserve a place 
in advance, as soon as possible, at the Gush office 03-5221732.   

Further information: Samira Khouri 04-6570650; Nabila Espanioli 050-581709 
altufula@rannet.com; Ditta Bitterman 052-439009 dita_b@netvision.net.il;
Hannah Safran 04-8243638 wom.stu@research.haifa.ac.il; Gila Svirsky 
02-6725293 gsvirsky@netvision.net.il. 

Meanwhile, the Women in Black vigils, held regularly every Friday, are 
increasing in number. In Haifa, Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem and Nazereth at 13:OO-
14:00; in Acco  between 14:30-15:30; at the Nachson Junction (on the old road 
to Jerusalem) 13:30-14:30; at HaKfar HaYarok Junction in the Sharon Area 
between 13:00-14:00 . (More details: 04-8243638, Hannah).

- Jerusalemites will have a chance to participate in an action also on 
Wednesday, December 27. At 7:00 PM on that date,  "Down With The 
Occupation - September 29" will light Hanukah candles in front of the PM's 
residence in Jerusalem, in memory of the Palestinian children killed in the 
ongoing Intifada and in order to remind that Hannukah is a holiday instituted 
to commemorate an ancient Intifada - the time when Jews fought to liberate 
themselves from Hellenistic domination. Details debey@mscc.huji.ac.il, 

- At the Hunger Strike Peace Tent in Tel-Aviv's Rabin Square, a symbolic 
chain-fasting by bereaved families has been going on since  December 3, 
with the declared purpose of "crying out for peace, calling  for an
historic reconciliation and return to sanity before a catastrophe happens". 
The group, organized by Yitzchak Frankenthal of Moshav Gamzo, represents 
some 160 families who lost their dear ones in the course of the conflict. 
Today (Dec. 25) they have received a moving visit of like-minded bereaved  
Palestinians from Gaza (whose arrival in Tel-Aviv, under the present 
circumstances, was far from easy to arrange). 
The tent is open throughout the day, and there are various meetings, lectures 
or artistic performances every evening. 
Contact 052-602369, frankent@netvision.net.il. 

- The Palestinian population continues to suffer great deprivations due to 
the closure, often amounting to outright siege, of their towns and villages, 
and the systematic destruction of trees and fields (especially widespread in 
the Gaza Strip). Different groups in Israel maintain their efforts to provide 
at least some relief, despite considerable obstacles put in their way. 
Amit Leshem, one of the organizers of whom we did not yet tell you in our 
earlier message, reports that a truck load of staples went out last week to 
400 families at Balata Refugee Camp. The appeal which was made was  
5000 NIS (about $1,250) short but the supplier kindly provided Amit and her 
partner, Mohammed Salameh of Um el Fahm with credit.  So, those willing 
to make further contributions could contact Amit at Amitl@vanleer.org.il or at 

- The 13-year old Mansour Jaber was  shot and severely wounded by one of 
the settlers who tried to take over his family home near Hebron two weeks 
ago. He is recovering at the Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital in West 
Jerusalem, but he cannot yet take solid food, and has various tubes and 
drains attached to him. Apart from physical discomfort, Mansour is 
homesick and needs cheering.  He speaks a little school-English but no 
Hebrew and his mother, who is with him round the clock, knows only Arabic. 
However, both are pleased to see visitors even if communication is in sign-
language or very basic Arabic.  People willing to visit can get information 
from Yehudit Keshet <y_k1@netvision.net.il> phone 02-6718349 (don't call 
on  Shabbat). 

- The army did evict (after 48 hours) the settlers who had taken over the 
Jaber family home on Dec. 8 - but it also declared the house and its environs 
a "closed military zone", preventing the family from going back, at least until 

March 1, 2001. (But the closing order may well be renewed). They are forced 
to stay in the house of Ata Jaber's parents - which is itself threatened by the 
settlers. Ever since the settler attack,  members of the Christian 
Peacemaker Team (North American pacifists based in Hebron 050-397506, 
cptheb@palnet.com) have been staying the night with the Jaber family. The 
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and Rabbis For Human Rights 
are organizing visits and solidarity actions (details Rabbi Arik Asherman 050-
607034, info@rhr.israel.net; Jeff Halper 050-651425 email) .

- The settlers had a "legal" pretext for assaulting the Jaber home - they claim 

that it is located "within the municipal zone of the Kiryat Araba  settlement". 
Each of the West Bank settlements has such a "municipal zone" assigned 
to it by the military authorities, often ten times or more the size of the 
settlement built-up area, within which the settlers have the legal authority to 

to start new building projects for themselves and to forbid Palestinian 
construction. The exact limits of these areas have never been made public. 
Often, the first time Palestinians hear of it is when settler bulldozers come 
erect new housing on their land.          
Recently, the Supreme Court in Jerusalem ruled that city-plans should be 
accessible to anyone who wishes to see them. To implement this, volunteers 
organized by Peace Now (peacenow@actcom.co.il) intend to arrive on 
Tuesday, January 2,  at the West Bank Military headquarters in Beit El, 
north of Ramallah, where each one will present an official demand to get the 
zoning plan of one particular settlement.  As many people as possible are 
needed. Anyone able and willing to go to Beit El on January 2nd, and remain 
there for a few hours for this purpose, should contact Noam 054-218518 or 

                  Add this to all your mail 
          (and suggest to your friends to do the same)
         Sign the "Our Jerusalem, Capital of Two States" petition 
            full text in Hebrew, Arabic and English at 

Sign also The Hunger Site Petition, which will be delivered to the U.N. 
in October 2000 - for "globalization" of the fight against hunger:

If you want to support our activities you can send a check to:
pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 or, with credit card, click:
NB: Please, email us that you did so!

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