Creating people's geographies
Urgent appeal to make the month-long campaign a worldwide one
Today two Palestinian women, taking part in a non-violent human shield action in Beit Hanoun were shot dead and numerous others wounded. They tried – and partly succeeded – to save the fighters who had sought refuge inside a mosque. The women spontaneously formed a human wall when it became clear that the IDF intended to destroy the mosque with the men in it. Since we told you of our preparations for tomorrow Nov. 4 “putting Gaza on the agenda of the Rabin Memorial Rally” things only got worse. It is extremely important that our campaign will be taken up also abroad. Hereafter you find some background and the request to help make December 2 the campaign pique – with suggestions how you can relate to it from wherever you are.
(Reminder to Israeli activists: we meet Nov. 4 at the Rabin Square, Frishman corner, at 7pm)
Stop the Siege! Stop the War!
A month of protest: November 4 – December 2, 2006
The situation in Gaza has reached emergency levels – inadequate water, electricity, and medicine; widespread hunger, poverty, and unemployment; schools and other services out of operation; and constant bombardments and attacks by the Israeli military. The problem is the siege of the Gaza Strip by Israel and the sanctions imposed by the international community, made worse by ongoing IDF attacks. If this siege continues, we will see spreading disease, malnutrition, and anarchy.
Join Our International Campaign
The community of peace organizations in Israel has joined together in a coordinated, major campaign to end the siege of Gaza and call upon Israel to embark upon negotiations with the Palestinian legitimate representative. Israel and the international community must respect the political choice of the Palestinian people.
Throughout November: Vigils, teach-ins, petitions, flyers, posters
December 2: Demonstrations around the world
Please join us in this humanitarian and political effort: Use the month until the big demonstration on December 2 to raise awareness in your community. Send letters, faxes, and petitions to your elected representatives. Hold vigils and teach-ins.
Let us know your plans so we can empower each other with our numbers and advertise on our websites.
Write your plans to Debby Lerman at debbyl AT actcom.co.il
Activities planned for Israel
Perhaps some of these will give you ideas for your own activity:
Printed material – informational flyers, a poster, an ad, and stickers.
Local events – “teach-ins” that bring films, witnesses, journalists, Gazans, etc.
Small vigils/demonstrations – In front of the Prime Minister’s office, the EU, the foreign embassies, the offices of selected Knesset Members. At the Rabin Rally on November 4, activists will distribute printed materials and hold a human chain.
A special Knesset conference will be held to which strategic members of Knesset will be invited. They will hear reports from Gaza – Palestinians, human rights organizations, and journalists.
Media – We will write articles, letters to the editor, blogs, talk-backs – for newspapers, TV, radio, and internet.
Car cavalcade to the Gaza border.
Mass rally on December 2 in Tel Aviv and all over the world to include phone hookups with Gazans and, if possible, solidarity events held internationally.
Actions to raise awareness and bring pressure on the US and European governments – appeals to decision-makers and civil society in the EU and the US to demand that their governments overturn the embargo.
**December 2 – demonstrations all over the world.
Organizers of the Campaign
This campaign was initiated by the Coalition of Women for Peace with its 9 member organizations in Israel, including MachsomWatch, Bat Shalom and New Profile. Other active organizers: Anarchists Against the Wall, Gush Shalom, Hadash, High School Seniors draft refusers, Rabbis for Human Rights, University Student Coalition, and Yesh Gvul.
The Economy of Gaza Sara Roy, The Palestine Center (12 October 2006):
…According to the World Bank, Palestinians are currently experiencing the worst economic depression in modern history. The opprobrious imposition of international sanctions has had a devastating impact on an already severely comprised economy given its extreme dependence on external sources of finance. For example, the Palestinian Authority is highly dependent on two sources of income. The first is annual aid package from Western donors of about $1 billion per year (in 2005, according to the World Bank, donors gave $1.3 billion in humanitarian and emergency [$500m/38%], developmental [$450m/35%] and budgetary [$350m/27%]) assistance, much of it now suspended. The second is a monthly transfer by Israel of $55 million in customs and tax revenues that it collects for the PA, a source of revenue that is absolutely critical to the Palestinian budget and totally suspended. In fact, Israel is now withholding close to half a billion dollars in Palestinian revenue that is desperately needed in Gaza.
The combined impact of restrictions, notably the almost unabated closure and the ongoing economic boycott, has resulted in unprecedented levels of unemployment that currently approach 40 percent in Gaza (compared to less than 12 percent in 1999). In fact, Palestinian workers from Gaza have not been allowed into Israel since 12 March 2006, Gaza’s primary market and all entry and exit points have been virtually sealed since June 25, 2006 when Israel’s current military campaign in Gaza began. In the next five years, furthermore, 135,000 new jobs will be needed just to keep unemployment at 10 percent. Trade levels have been similarly affected. By early May 2006, for example, the Karni crossing, through which commercial supplies enter Gaza, had been closed for 47 percent of the year with estimated daily losses of $500,000-$600,000. Compounding this are agricultural losses amounting to an estimated $1.2 billion for both Gaza and the West Bank over the last six years.
By April 2006, 79 percent of Gazan households were living in poverty (compared to less than 30 percent in 2000), a figure that has likely increased; many are hungry…
Not an Internal Palestinian Matter by Amira Hass, Ha’aretz (4 October 2006):
…These are the steps in the experiment: Imprison (since 1991); remove the prisoners’ usual means of livelihood; seal off all outlets to the outside world, nearly hermetically; destroy existing means of livelihood by preventing the entry of raw materials and the marketing of goods and produce; prevent the regular entry of medicines and hospital supplies; do not bring in fresh food for weeks on end; prevent, for years, the entry of relatives, professionals, friends and others, and allow thousands of people – the sick, heads of families, professionals, children – to be stuck for weeks at the locked gates of the Gaza Strip’s only entry/exit .
Steal hundreds of millions of dollars (customs and tax revenues collected by Israel that belong to the Palestinian treasury), so as to force the nonpayment of the already low salaries of most government employees for months; present the firing of homemade Qassam rockets as a strategic threat that can only be stopped by harming women, children and the old; fire on crowded residential neighbourhoods from the air and the ground; destroy orchards, groves and fields.
Dispatch planes to frighten the population with sonic booms; destroy the new power plant and force the residents of the closed-off Strip to live without electricity for most of the day for a period of four months, which will most likely turn into a full year – in other words, a year without refrigeration, electric fans, television, lights to study and read by; force them to get by without a regular supply of water, which is dependent on the electricity supply.
It is the good old Israeli experiment called “put them into a pressure cooker and see what happens,” and this is one of the reasons why this is not an internal Palestinian matter…
Israel’s scandalous siege of Gaza by Patrick Seale International Herald Tribune (27 October 2006):
Israel has killed 2,300 Gazans over the past six years, including 300 in the four months since an Israeli soldier, Corporal Gilad Shalit, was captured in a cross-border raid by Palestinian fighters on June 25. The wounded can be counted in the tens of thousands. Most of the casualties are civilians, many of them children.
The killing continues on a daily basis – by tank and sniper fire, by air and sea bombardment, and by undercover teams in civilian clothes sent into Arab territory to ambush and murder, an Israeli specialty perfected over the past several decades.
How long will the “international community” allow the slaughter to continue? The cruel repression of the occupied territories, and of Gaza in particular, is one of the most scandalous in the world today. It is the blackest stain on Israel’s patchy record as a would-be democratic state…
The siege is sowing anarchy and death in Gaza.
It is a man-made disaster that we must bring to an end.
For more information and your updates: Debby Lerman at [email protected] or
GUSH SHALOM p.o.b. 3322 Tel Aviv 61033
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