Tomorrow (Saturday, January 3, 2009),
two big protests will be held in Israel
The killing in Gaza continues. Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed, thousands injured, air strikes have caused utter devastation, and entire families are left homeless. Civilians in the south of Israel are being held captive by a government which lies to them and abuses them. Destruction and death in Gaza will not ensure their future, but rather lead to more violence and killings.
Tomorrow (Saturday, January 3, 2009), two big protests will be held in Israel — by a coalition of peace forces and the Communist Party of Israel and Hadash in Tel Aviv and in Sakhnin by the High Committee of Arab-Palestinian Citizens in Israel — both of them against the killing in Gaza. Together we will call out: Stop the Killing! No to the Siege! Yes to life for both peoples! In these dark days, let us stick to our message: Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies! Our demand: A full truce and the lifting of the siege on Gaza NOW!
Israel has gone to great lengths to ensure that the world does not know the extent of its crimes against humanity inside of Gaza. In Israel itself, there are protests against this war on a captive people. Thousands have gathered to protest daily in Tel Aviv, West Jerusalem, Haifa, Nazaret, Um el-Fahem, Tira, Taybe, and other cities. Citizens called up as reservists to prepare for a possible land assault on Gaza have refused service, risking jail. None of this is being reported in the American and European corporate media, which is largely “cheerleading” the Israeli attack, primarily by “evenhandedly” reporting on the attacks in Gaza and the rockets launched by Hamas into Israel.
As Dov Khenin, an Israeli Knesset member from Hadash, and a leading Communist Party member, stated in an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, “Well, the most important thing to realize is that there is an opposition inside Israel to the war and to everything going on around right now in Gaza. This position is a Jewish-Arab one. On Saturday night, we had a demonstration in Tel Aviv of 2,000 young people, mainly Jews, and there are a lot of demonstrations all over Israel of Jews and Arabs opposing the war policy of the current government. This opposition is growing steadily. It is very important to know this and to understand that there are other voices in Israeli society who (oppose) a war, and they believe there is a better alternative for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
Yesterday, a group of Tel Aviv poets held a poetry-reading vigil protesting the Gaza operation in front of the luxury Akirov Towers, where Defense Minister Ehud Barak (and head of the Labor Party) has an apartment. Twenty young poets read anti-war works over a loudspeaker, calling it “a protest against the destruction Ehud Barak is wreaking on the residents of the south while he’s sleeping in a comfortable bed on the 31st floor.” Ibtisam Marahna, number 12 on the Meretz Knesset list, spoke at the protest, and announced her resignation from Meretz because of its support for the war.
Ten human rights organizations yesterday called on Defense Minister Ehud Barak to urgently renew an unlimited supply of fuel to the Gaza Strip. The groups, including B’Tselem, Gisha, and the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, wrote that the massive destruction of infrastructure following the Israeli action will increase the need for fuel to operate “humanitarian equipment such as water pumps, sewage and the health system.” The groups wrote that since Israel has been constantly reducing the fuel supply to the Strip since October 2007, a shortage should have been expected following the military action.
MK Mohammad Barakeh (Hadash) yesterday demanded from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that the Shin Bet security service stop questioning Arab political activists and leftists following protests over the Gaza operation. “If the defense establishment is worried about a wave of protests against the crime in Gaza, it is better to stop the crime and not persecute the political leadership and activists in the Arab sector,” Barakeh said.