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ASWAT and the World Pride Parade 2006 in Jerusalem

Parade to the Wall
World Pride under Occupation 2006

In Israel, religious groups are expressing opposition to the World Pride to be held in Jerusalem in August 2006.  At the same time, international radical left wing groups are calling to boycott this parade as a general call of divestment from Israel on behalf of its crimes of occupation against the Palestinian people.

As Palestinian LGBTQI’s who live under the occupation, and as Palestinian LGBTQI’s who are part of a national minority in Israel, we are opposing this attempt to hold the international pride parade in Israel, particularly in Jerusalem, the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  As the pride parade will be a time for the gay and lesbian community in Israel to celebrate, Palestinians in Eastern occupied Jerusalem will continue to suffer under intensified checkpoints, increasing racism, house demolishing, confiscating IDs and expanding of Israeli settlements.  Therefore, ASWAT- Palestinian Gay Women group decided not to take part in the World Pride 2006.

Even though, the state of Israel holds a tolerant stance towards gays and lesbians, it uses this opportunity to show the world that in Israel a gay man can also be a soldier.  However, being a soldier in an occupying oppressive army does not do justice to our quest for peace and tolerance.  This is an insult to our struggle for freedom and tolerance.  In Israel, violence and hatred are articulated through homophobia and xenophobia, and this very same violence is evident in racism, occupation and war crimes.

In June 2002 Israel began building a wall that aims to separate Israel from the Palestinian population, however, the wall invades the heart of Palestinian localities, separating families and imprisoning them into ghettos.  The wall is mostly built on the Palestinian lands, hence, constantly legitimizing the confiscation of large portions of Palestinian land, damaging the very weave of Palestinian life.

In both the first Intifada as well as the current one, Palestinian gays who escaped from their homes, find themselves working in the General Security Services in Israel (Shabak), where the Shabak took advantages of their situations and manipulated them to cooperate with Israeli intelligence.  Eventually the Shabak returned many of them to Palestine where their rights were violated without due process.

In August, tens of thousands of gays and lesbians are going to arrive to Israel to “celebrate” their “pride”.  Closure, Checkpoints, Wall, and Drawn Weapons; these are the ways that Israel is promising to maintain security for its citizens and visitors.  At the same time that we celebrate our pride, the Palestinians are going to suffer and be under curfew.  Furthermore, many of the LGBTQI’s from the Arab world are denied access to Israel and the world pride parade.

Thousands of gays and lesbians will celebrate in Jerusalem with the motto love without borders, and we demand to put an end to occupation, hatred, racism and break the apartheid wall.

ASWAT, Palestinian Gay Women’s Group, will not participate in the World pride events and will not march in the Parade; ASWAT invites everyone who is already coming to Jerusalem to join the alternative action the Parade to the Wall.

ASWAT – Palestinian Gay Women

Solidarity with Our Friends in Lebanon

Solidarity with Our Friends in LebanonWe have received some news from activists and friends from Helem, an LGBT center in Beirut.  After the influx of refugees from the southern suburbs of Beirut as well as from the south of Lebanon, Helem center, together with other NGO’s, has begun providing shelter, food, and supplies for the refugees.

More information can be found at:

www.helem.net

Helem also pointed out a few blogs, so as to allow people to get firsthand information from the civil society in Lebanon:

Helem sanayehreliefcenter.blogspot.com
lebanonupdates.blogspot.com
www.stopwarnow.info

Other Important Links:
arab-americans.blogspot.com

In solidarity,

ASWAT – Palestinian Gay Women


ASWAT ASWAT is a group of Palestinian gay women.  ASWAT provides a safe space for any Palestinian woman who identifies as lesbian, bi-sexual, transsexual, transgender, or inter-sexual.  ASWAT’s mission is to serve as a group where Palestinian gay women can express themselves, discuss gender and sexuality, define their feminism, and address the conflict between national and gendered identities experienced by them.  ASWAT strives to generate social change in order to meet the needs of one of the most silenced and oppressed communities in Israel.  ASWAT works to reach out to both Palestinian and Jewish communities in Israel and to collaborate with other like-minded individuals and organizations in order to combat the multilayered discrimination that Palestinian gay women face and to promote women rights.


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