Call for international solidarity aid to Palestinians
TA'AYUSH CONVOY heading into South Hebron hills to relieve blockaded Palestinian community, January 2002.
ISRAELI peace and human rights groups are joining in a call for international solidarity to break the governmental boycott of Palestine, defend people's rights, and bring practical aid to the people in the occupied territories who are suffering since funds and supplies were cut off to punish them because a majority voted for Hamas.
In an international call this week Gush Shalom, the peace bloc urges "Please join us with simultaneous protests against boycott of elected Palestinian Authority."
Former Knesset Member Uri Avnery, a leading member of Gush Shalom, has met with Sheikh Muhammad Abu-Tir, Hamas Member of the Palestinian Legislative council from Jerusalem at his home in East Jerusalem's Zur Baher neighbourhood. Avnery expressed total opposition to the intention of the Olmert Government to expel Abu-Tir and three other elected parliamentarians from their homes. The four were summoned to the Jerusalem police headquarters on Monday and presented with an ultimatum - to resign from their parliamentary positions or be deprived of their Jerusalem residency status.
Avnery told Abu-Tir that Gush Shalom calls for the immediate opening of negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian governments, with no preconditions and on the basis of stopping all violent acts on both sides.
Avnery stated further: "I was a Knesset member at the time when East Jerusalem was annexed to Israel. I can testify that no intention was expressed at the time to reduce the inhabitants of East Jerusalem to the status of 'permanent residents', as if they were newly-arrived immigrants asking for an Israeli residence permit which can be revoked at will. Since Palestinians have lived in Jerusalem for fifty generations at least, this is both ridiculous and a grave injustice".
Avnery added: "No less ridiculous is the attempt to boycott the elected, Hamas-headed Palestinian government, which was democratically elected by the Palestinian people".
Adam Keller, Gush Shalom spokesperson, is expecting that a large delegation from Israeli peace movements will meet with the Hamas leadership soon. He mentioned that Avnery had been the first Israeli to meet with Yasser Arafat, and said: "We have played that role then, and it seems we have to do it again."
Keller recalled that Shimon Peres undertook on behalf of the Government of Israel when signing the Oslo Agreements, that it would not interfere with Palestinian institutes in East Jerusalem and with the right of Palestinian Jerusalemites to elect and be elected to the Palestinian legislature. "How can we demand of the Palestinian Government to respect signed agreements, and at the same time ourselves tread them underfoot?" Keller asked.
On Saturday evening June 3 at 7.00pm, Gush Shalom and other groups and movements will hold a protest march and rally in Tel-Aviv. "We will protest against the boycott of the Palestinian elected authority, against the siege and starvation of the Palestinian people, for negotiations without preconditions - to sum it up: against the occupation". Former Minister Shulamit Aloni will be among the speakers, and there will be a simultaneous demonstration in Ramallah, where Palestinian political movements will express solidarity with the Tel-Aviv demonstration.
This is to be the beginning of a week of solidarity action that will be both political and practical. In response to a call from Palestinians the campaigners are launching a convoy to carry badly-needed food and medicines into the West Bank, heading for the city of Nablus, where they will join local people in a demonstration on June 10.
"But, you could do more," say Gush Shalom in their call for support.
Here are their appeals for support:
Does your government also boycott
the elected Palestinian Authority?
Then, why not somewhere in the week between June
3-10, simultaneously organize a protest calling upon your government to respect the result of the Palestinian elections, and not put sanctions on the new Palestinian Authority before it even got the chance to do something
Please, inform us of what you can put together at such short notice and we will include it in further
Israeli organizing groups:
women for peace, gush shalom,
ta'ayush, hadash, balad, icahd,
coalition of students, artists without walls,
bat shalom , banki,
(My Notes: Ta'ayush is an initiative begun by Palestinians of Israeli nationality which has sent convoys before to areas under military closure; hadash in the Communist Party-led Democratic front in the Knesset; Balad is a Palestinian group within Israel, ICAHD is the Israel Committee against House Demolitions; AIC - Alternative Information Centre; Bat Shalom. a women's group; Banki - the Young Communist League; Yesh Gvul - Army reservists who refuse to serve in the Occupation).
The peace campaigners and Israeli Physicians for Human Rights are inviting supporters not only to pass resolutions and hold protests but to put our money where our mouth is.
Help Israeli coalition of peace groups
bring aide to the Palestinians
-besieged, boycotted, occupied-
At the urgent call of our Palestinian contacts Israel peace groups got together. Something must be done against the collective punishment of the Palestinian people for how they voted in their democratically held elections.
We begin our protest June 3, in Tel-Aviv, in the week that the occupation enters it's 40th year. A week later, June 10, we will go with a convoy of food and medicines in the direction of besieged Nablus. On that same day Physicians for Human Rights will get medicines to Palestinian hospitals elsewhere.
You can help us by taking part in the effort financially.
In the U.S., Canada, U.K., Holland and Germany tax-exempted donations can be made to Gush Shalom - reply to this mail for the details and don't forget to, earmark it for 'Coalition Campaign Medicines and Food for Palestinians'. Or make your earmarked donation through Physicians for Human Rights-Israel - see attachment - but please, inform us that you did it. Donations to PHR-I are enjoying tax-exemption in Israel and abroad.
. w w w w , g u s h - s h a l o m - o r g
In the UK donations earmarked for Gush Shalom can be sent to Amos Trust attn Sue Plater, Associate Director All Hallows on the Wall 83 London Wall London ec2m 5nd Phone: 020 7588 8064 www.amostrust.org
Donors via Amos Trust can make a 'gift aid declaration' following which the trust can claim tax back on the gift and pass that on NB: Please, advise them by email that you send them a check for Gush Shalom "for the June 10 food & medicins convoy" and let us know how much you send (so we can already forward the sum).and... thanks again.
Beate Zilversmidt, Gush Shalom
***Urgent Appeal to our Members, Friends and Supporters***
Call for Donations to Aid Palestinian Hospitals
The financial crisis affecting the Palestinian Authority (PA) due to the stoppage of international aid and the freezing of the tax revenue by the state of Israel, has had a grave impact on the Palestinian population in the occupied territories and has led to an acute shortage of basic needs, such as medicines and food.
A number of Palestinian hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have asked us at Physicians for Human Rights-Israel to assist them in acquiring a number of medicines and medical equipment needed for the daily functions of the hospitals. During visits we have conducted to several hospitals we witnessed the harsh reality of a scarcity of life saving medicines and medical equipment to be used in the operating rooms.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, together with several Israeli peace and human rights groups, began a campaign to raise funds in order to aid the Palestinian areas that were hardest hit as a result of the financial crisis, and to provide, as best we can, some of the urgent medical needs of the Palestinian hospitals, with whom we have been in contact for many years.
Additionally, we are handling individual cases of patients from the occupied territories who have not received permits needed to enter Israel for urgent treatment, or patients that the PA is not paying for their treatment, due to the financial crisis. This activity also involves legal costs.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel feels obligated to support our colleagues working in the Palestinian health system, who in this difficult time are doing all they can in order to grant the best medical service to the Palestinian population, and to aid patients and medical teams who are carrying the burden of this difficult crisis.
We turn to you with this urgent appeal asking that you donate to this activity according to your ability. In light of the urgency of the matter, we ask that those who are able to donate contact us as soon as possible, so that we can begin to transfer the aid immediately. Physicians for Human Rights-Israel plans on organizing shipments within the upcoming days.
We kindly request that you pass this message on to others, with the hope that they will answer our request and join us in this aid mission.
More information about the crisis is available on our website: http://www.phr.org.il/
How to donate:
All of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel’s activities are supported by donations from individuals and organizations. Inside Israel, donations to the organization are recognized as tax deductible. From outside Israel, tax deductible donations can be made through the New Israel Fund. For more information regarding donations please contact: Daniel Hasson, +972-3-687-3718
In Britain, Jews for Justice for Palestinians have added their support and are advising that the British Shalom Salaam Trust will consolidate donations to reduce bank charges. Please give generously and send donations to BSST, P.O.Box 46081, London W9 2ZF.
Full details of the appeals and how to donate.