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 Help Protest the Wall
 Gila Svirsky, Israel
 June 17, 2004
 

Friends,

Demonstrations throughout the West Bank are increasing as Palestinians—with Israeli and international help—are trying to prevent construction of the so-called 'security wall'. Erection of the wall is not only illegal by international law, and not only destroys access to farmland, schools, hospitals and jobs, but it also ultimately damages Israeli security by intensifying the bitterness and hatred against Israel. The wall is not only bad for Palestine, it is bad for Israel, too.

Yesterday saw several major demonstrations against the wall. I attended the women's event at 'Aram, organized by Palestinian Women Against the Wall, Bat Shalom, and international women. We marched the 3 km (almost 2 miles) from the 'Aram to the Qalandia checkpoints, as we banged pots, pans, drums, blew whistles, and chanted slogans against the wall and for peace.

The army intelligently (and unusually) decided not to clash with the demonstrators, though four of us had an unpleasant run-in with soldiers who tried to prevent us from reaching 'Aram, and the busloads of participants had to use alternative routes and transport to get in.

To see photos, most by Dalit Baum, click into share.shutterfly.com (You will have to sign in, but at no cost.)

Real violence was directed at demonstrators who tried to prevent the wall from going up near Ariel, and the Israeli media covered this. If you could come here and see the wall transform villages and towns into ghettoes—civilian populations entirely surrounded by 30-foot high gray concrete slabs, watchtowers set into it every few yards in which soldiers train automatic rifles through narrow slits, you would be horrified. How can we Jews create ghettoes for another people? Our security is not served by ghettoes, just as forcing Jews into ghettoes never served any security needs. The people inside are not violent animals that must be penned.

Last night, I watched an old Palestinian woman surveying with horror her family’s olive trees that the army had cut down, shaving a swath on which the wall will rise. "Those stupid people," she said, careful not to name them. "If not for their stupidity, we could have lived in peace with each other."

Who is not a partner for peace?

Gila Svirsky is an Israeli human rights and peace activist.

To increase the pressure on Sharon to stop building the wall, please call or fax the names below. A simple message is sufficient, such as: "Please tell Prime Minister Sharon to stop building the so-called 'Security Wall', as it harms everyone's interests—Palestinian, Israeli, and American."

Contact people (First try the US, European and UN officials.):

(1) George W. Bush — Tel (202) 456-1414 (and ask for the Comment Line) or (202) 456-111; Fax (202) 456-2461.

(2) Secretary of State Colin Powell — Tel (202) 647-4000 (and ask for the Comment Line); Fax (202) 261-8577.

(3) US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer — Tel in Israel: (+972-3) 519-7575; Email target="blank">webmaster@usembassy-israel.org.il

(4) Your member of Congress:

Call the Capital switchboard toll-free: 1-800-839-5276 and ask to be connected to your member of Congress.

For your information, you can send a free fax by internet (to certain places only, but definitely area code 202 in the US) at Send Fax. Note that this is a service provided for free, but is not to be used for bulk fax mailings because they can only handle a relatively limited number of faxes at once.

(5) UN Secretary General Kofi Annan — Email coil@un.org

(6) Council of the European Union — Email public.info@consilium.eu.int

(7) European Union — Email civis@europarl.eu.int

(8) Prime Minister Ariel Sharon — Fax (+972 2) 670-5361; Email pm_eng@pmo.gov.il

(9) Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz — Fax (+972 3) 691-6940; Email sar@mod.gov.il

(10) Minister of Justice Yosef Lapid — Fax: (+972 2) 628-5438; Email sar@justice.gov.il

(Please don't send me copies, but thank you for thinking of it...)

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