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War - Nyet! Ceasefire - Da!

By       Message Gila Svirsky     Permalink
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See this page for links to articles on OpEdNEws that articulate both sides on the issues in the middle east. It is the goal of OpEdNews to air opinions from both sides to stretch the envelope of discussion and communication. Hate statements are not accepted. Discussions of issues and new ideas for solutions are encouraged. .

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/publish/article_708.shtml)

Pride and No-pride
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At recent gay pride events in Israel, Queeruption held several successful happenings. On the left is a sign from one: No pride in occupation & war". And on the right 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 (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.


I just heard that a peace activist was hit by a rubber 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.
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I reprint below the translation of an article that just appeared in Ha'aretz (10 August). We're very proud of these two young activists in the Coalition of Women for Peace.

Shalom / Salaam from Jerusalem,

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Gila Svirsky, an Israeli peace and human rights activist, has headed some of the major peace and human rights organizations in Israel. She has been a member of Women in Black since its inception, and co-founded the Coalition of Women for Peace, (more...)

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War - Nyet! Ceasefire - Da!