Saturday, July 08, 2006

Gaza: Gush Shalom calls on Europe to act

"Stop IDF atrocities in Gaza!" (photo by Rachel Avnery).

Besides taking their message on to the street, the Israeli peace bloc, Gush Shalom, have delivered this appeal to European embassies:


The internationally-lauded "disengagement" from Gaza did not end the occupation there. This continued in the form of an Israeli stranglehold over Gaza's communications with the outside world. The Gaza Strip has been turned into a huge open-air prison.

With the Israeli government refusing to talk to the elected Palestinian government, the only dialogue left now is the dialogue of the bombs, often directed at civilian targets on both sides of the border. Without international intervention, a brutal escalation has become almost inevitable.

WE, Israeli patriots and peace activists, call upon the European Union and its member states, possibly in conjunction with other countries, to intervene immediately and effectively in the looming Israel-Palestinian crisis, and, especially to -

1. APPOINT a representative of ministerial rank to Israel/Palestine to monitor unfolding events and advise the European Union on immediate steps the situation may demand.

2. STOP the severe sanctions imposed by Europe on the Palestinian Authority as a penalty for exercising their democratic right and electing a government of their choice. This by itself is a brutal intervention on behalf of the occupation.

3. ENGAGE both the Government of Israel and the elected Palestinian
president and government in a serious dialogue, with the view of putting an end to the present crisis and paving the way for meaningful peace negotiations.

4. EXTEND the European Union Border Assistance Mission, already successfully operating at the Rafah border crossing, to all border crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip, in order to ensure the regular flow of foodstuffs, medicines and other goods in both directions, irrespective of political and military developments.

5. ACT as a permanent mediator for acute crises, such as the case of the Israeli prisoner-of-war, Gilad Shalit.

6. OFFER both sides to station a permanent European peace-keeping force between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

7. CONSIDER the convening of an international conference for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Gush Shalom
The Israeli Peace Bloc
P.O.Box 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 * *

The Gush Shalom call is due to appear as a paid ad in the International Herald Tribune, not that Gush are flush with funds, they are hard up and welcome contributions, but they are desperate to break through the wall of indifference with which governments and established media have shielded Israel's military offensive politically.

European Jews for Just Peace (EJJP) are hoping to amplify the message. Last week a petition signed by 300 British Jews criticising Israeli actions appeared in the Times. People are also trying to contact MPs and MEPs:
"When I mailed all UK MEPs about the withdrawal of EU aid, to my considerable surprise I got much more sympathetic responses from the Tories that from Labour (as far as I remember no Lib Dem bothered to reply)", writes
Mike from London.

Sonia from Paris reported this response from Patrick Braouezec, Deputy for Seine-Saint-Denis:

"Silence around what currently occurs to Palestine is deeply shocking. I ask myself indeed about the absence of condemnations, which are apparently connected with a caution, on behalf of the highest authorities of the State. France has what's more rejected a Resolution of the UN Humans rights council asking Israel to put an end to its military operations.

"What country can be allowed with impunity to remove several members of a
democratically elected government without attracting the lightnings of the international community? What country can re-occupy a territory militarily with impunity, allegedly out of its control? Which country can decide which child or student will go or not to study, which workman to work or which mother to be confined?

"Who can be allowed to risk the life of many civilians (24 dead to date) in order officially to save that of a soldier and in truth to reinforce its grip on the Palestinian territories? Which State can destroy with impunity nfrastructures, some of them governmental, without any other State finding this anything to rebuke?

"In a recent book, one wondered whether it were permissable to criticize
Israel. When Israel follows a policy which goes right in the wall, the answer is yes! "

While the European Union and Britain remain little different from Washington in letting the Israeli rotweiler off the lead, Tony Blair suggests that Muslims have only an imaginary sense of grievance "against the West"!

Echoing the protest of Palestinians and of decent Israelis like Yesh Gvul, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign has called a demonstration for Wednesday evening in London, to demand that the British government calls on Israel to stop:

5.30 TO 7PM

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign is organising a demonstration outside the
Foreign Office on Wednesday, 12th July from 5.30pm until 7.00pm.

Please come along to protest at the ongoing Israeli attack on the
Palestinian People.

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