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Gush Shalom update / 24 March

Gush Shalom | 24.03.2004 21:38

GUSH SHALOM - pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 -

International release

1] Action alert - Call the DCO
2] Military Prosecution vs. CO Yoni Ben Artzi - struggle resumed
3] In Asherman trial, court rejects defense argument re unjust nature of
home demolition policy
4] The Living, about the Dead - B. Michael, Yedioth Achronot 23.3
5] Sharon Leads a Raid / Reuven Kaminer 22.3
6] U.S. doesn't condemn BUT... warns Americans against visiting Israel
1] Action alert - Call the DCO

[In addition tofollowing ISM message, we heard from fellow activist Elana
Wesley that Dan Goldblat, aide to KM Roman Bronfman is doing what he
can, and that Israeli human rights organizations are being approached.
The more reason that you also act - to help create a critical mass.]

------- Forwarded message follows -------
From: "International Solidarity Movement"
Date sent: Wed, 24 Mar 2004 16:18:17 -0000

Wed, March 24, 2004

ACTION ALERT - CALL THE DCO (District Coordinating Office)

[Jayyous, QALQILIA] At 2:00AM Wednesday morning as many as 50-60
soldiers entered the West Bank village of Jayyous, where they raided
homes, hit villagers with their weapons and arrested six men.
They ransacked the homes of six families and stole all of the family
members' cell phones, and in one case, papers and photographs. A family
member of one of the arrested men said, "They came in and treated us like
animals." The soldiers claimed they were "looking for weapons."

At least 40 soldiers entered the Salim home. The family members were
blindfolded and handcuffed. The home was searched three times by
different groups of soldiers. When one of the family members asked
the soldiers why they entered his house, a soldier hit him with the
end of an M16 rifle and he was forced and held to the ground. After three
and a half hours, they then arrested the eldest brother, Haitham Saleem
and confiscated all of the family's cell phones. Haitham is a 34 year old
shopkeeper who is not involved in any political activity. He has a heart
condition and it is vital that he take medication.

The soldiers then ransacked the house directly next to the Salim
family home and forced all the women and children out into the
streets at 2:30AM.

More than a dozen soldiers then went to the home of Wajdi Musleh.
After breaking in and tearing through the house, the soldiers forced all
of the women and children into one room, and pulled aside an elder in his
70's blindfolding and handcuffing him. They then forced him to kneel on
the floor and hit him. The parents' bed was destroyed in this process.
The soldiers then forced 21 year old Wajdi into the courtyard and arrested

The soldiers used a bomb to open the front door of the home of Adam
and Ziad Harami. After ransacking the home, breaking open one of
the doors and leaving it inoperable, they told the whole family, "If you
do not give us all of your phones we will damage your whole house."
They arrested Adam Harami, a 20 year old student at Al Najah University
in Nablus and Ziad Harami, a 25 year old barber from the village of

The soldiers then tore through the homes of Shadi Towfiq Mahmoud
Saleem and Abdel Rahim, damaging many items in the homes. They
arrested Shadi, a 21 year old computer student at the Arab American
University in Jenin.

The soldiers damaged the front door when entering the home of Ahmed
Mohammed Towfiq Yousef Khaled. They 'searched' the home and stole
pictures of the family. They arrested Ahmed, a 21 year old Economics
student at Al Najah University in Nablus.

Please call the District Coordination Office and demand the IMMEDIATE
release of these men.

Israeli DCO: +972.9.775.9217
Palestinian DCO: +972.9.294.2755

(Within 48 hours we will know where these men have been taken....and will
follow with additional phone numbers)

A list of the names and ID numbers of the arrested are below:

Haitham Gehad Nimir Saleem 996620548
Wajdi Hussein Homid Musleh 907482533
Adam Ghassan Ahmed Harami 907482574
Ziad Ghassan Ahmed Harami 904190758
Shadi Towfiq Mahmoud Saleem 949564991
Ahmed Mohammed Towfiq Yousef Khaled 907482491

When you call, tell them WHERE you are calling from. We need to
show them that THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING and they can not
get away with this!

For any questions, please contact:
Tracie: +972.66.416.132 or +972.65.203.543

2] Military Prosecution vs. CO Yoni Ben Artzi - struggle resumed

raxiz lti awyd // hebrew at request

Nearly two months have passed since CO Yoni Ben Artzi - refusing
military service on pacifist grounds - got a complete discharge from the
army. To any reasonable person, that should have been the end of Ben
Artzi's prolonged campaign, with the unfinished court martial against him a
mere technical detail. The military sees it differently - as became clear
during the prolonged speech by military prosecutor Captain Yaron

"Ben Artzi has been discharged from military service, but not because his
alleged pacifist beliefs were recognized. He was discharged as one of the
unruly soldiers, who take no discipline and whose behaviour is such that
they are not worth the trouble of further trying to instil in them a proper
soldierly discipline. He should however be severely punished for not
taking up his proper share in the defence of his country. The military legal
code makes it possible to continue court-martial proceedings also after the
accused has been discharged from the army - and this trial must end with a
severe and painful term of imprisonment." And Captain Kostelitz ended
his fulmination exclaiming furiously: "Ben Artzi is no pacifist! He is a liar!
He is just an egoist who seeks personal advancement, and he should be
severely punished to discourage others from following his example."

"My colleague of the prosecution ignores one central document - the
verdict issued by this court last November, which did find Ben Artzi guilty
of the charge of disobeying an order - and he did disobey an order - but
also stated clearly and unequivocally the court's opinion that Ben Artzi's
pacifist opinions and beliefs are sincere and deeply held. I consider this a
moral - even if not a judicial - acquittal. Since he was seventeen, the
military authorities placed Yoni Ben Artzi in an impossible dilemma. He had
to choose between breaking the law or violating his own most deeply held
values and beliefs. He made his choice and paid for it, in eight consecutive
months of imprisonment followed by ten of "open detention". Now he got
his discharge, he is already a civilian. But the prosecution here is trying to
revive it. The prosecution talked of the need for "deterrance". Deterrance?
What deterrance? Anyone who wants to follow in Ben Artzi's footsteps,
on the path of conscientious refusal, already knows that it is a hard and
stony path, in no way is it a highway out of the army. In short, I ask the
court to content itself with a nominal punishment. Ben Artzi has suffered
enough. He should get not a single additional day behind bars!"

Colonel Avi Levy, the presiding judge, tried to offer a compromise: Ben
Artzi would get a short term and serve it in the form of community work,
without actual imprisonment. But the prosecutor was quick to pour cold
water: community work imposed by a military court would necessarily be
military community work, carried out in in a military framework. Ben Artzi
was undaunted: "I did not struggle for two years just in order to
compromise on my principles now; I am not willing to be part of a military
framework." "The verdict will be delivered on another date" decided the

"This is a narrow-minded, vindictive act, an effort to drag a person who is
already out of the army back in" was the reaction of the refuser parent's
forum. "It is the same destructive mindset which leads the political and
military leaders of this country to engage in inflammatory invasions and
assassinations in the Gaza Strip, even after admitting already that its
occupation is untenable".

Yoni Ben Artzi +972-2-6528037/972-55-933001
Adv. Michael Sfard +972-3-5608833/972-54-713930

3] In Asherman trial, court rejects defense argument re unjust nature of
home demolition policy

------- Forwarded message follows -------
From: "Rabbis for Human Rights"
Subject: Court Refuses to Take Stand on Home Demolitions
Date sent: Wed, 24 Mar 2004 17:56:46 +0200

raxiz lti awyd // hebrew at request

This morning, Wednesday, March 24, 2004, Judge Rivka Feldman of the
Magistrates Court in Jerusalem rejected the claim of defense of justice
(that the case should be thrown out because of the patently unjust nature
of the home demolition policy) at the trial of the three defendants: Rabbi
Arik Ascherman Executive Director of Rabbis for Human Rights, Shai
Eliezer and Omer Ori, accused of opposing home demolitions.

Rabbi Arik Ascherman responded to the Judges decision saying: We are
very disappointed with the decision handed down at this, the beginning of
the month of Nissan in which we celebrate the Exodus from Egyptian
injustice. It saddens us to find out that we have a court of law, but not
a court of justice at a time we should especially be sensitive to the
situation of the stranger who lives among us: because strangers you were
in the land of Egypt (Leviticus 19: 33-34). Rabbi Ascherman said that
more than 30 administrative home demolitions have taken place in
Jerusalem since the beginning of the calendar year. The Or committee has
already criticized the policy of home demolitions and has stated that the
Israeli government limits the possibility of Arab citizens (and even more
so of Palestinians) to build legally. There needs to be legal
implementation to this concept, in order to stop this injustice
immediately, which affects so many lives. It appears that the judge did
not take into account the full meaning of the concept of civil
disobedience. We intend to continue our struggle to persuade the court to
acknowledge the real injustice of the policy of home demolitions. There
are many in Israel and around the world is watching this trial and we do
not intend to lose.

Present at the court this morning, was Sufian Maswadeh whose home the
defendants were trying to protect when arrested, Jacob Picheny, a
representative of Rabbis for Human Rights supporters in North America,
rabbis and other activists. Again many supporters were forced to wait
outside the courtroom because of lack of space.

The trial will resume on September 24th when the prosecution will bring
its witnesses.

For more details:
Rabbi Arik Ascherman 050-607034, 02-563-7731
Shai Eliezer 02-671-7570
Omer Ori 03 629 1421
Adv. Leah Tzemel 052-601602, 02-627-3373

Available Documents include:
1) Court Decision/Minutes
2) Expert testimony of planning expert Nati Maron on behalf of
Bimkom and ACRI
3) Excerpts from the Or Commission Findings (English)
4) Expert testimony of planning expert Ayala Ronnel 5) Reports by
BTselem (English), Ir Shalem, Urban Planner Sara Kaminiker(English)
6) Reports of Jerusalem Comptroller
7) Insider testimony of former Jerusalem Arab
affairs advisor Amir Cheshin (English and Hebrew)
8) Testimonies of owners
of the two demolished homes
9) Testimony of anonymous owner of demolished
homes regarding offers to save his home in return for bribe or agreement
to be an informer.
10) Testimony of Isawiyah Local Council Head Darwish Darwish
11) Rabbinic Opinion signed by RHR members
12) Rabbinic Support Letter signed by over 400 Diaspora Rabbis.
13) Amicus Curiae Brief of the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions
(COHRE), the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and JCHR (Jerusalem Centre
for Human Rights (English) and additional documents co written with the
International Council of Jurists (English)
14) Affadavit of former Jerusalem City Council member Meir Margalit
15) Affadavit of the coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House
Demolitions Professor Jeff Halper

Rabbis For Human Rights
Tel: 972-2-563-7731
Mobile: 972-50607034

4] The Living, about the Dead - B. Michael, Yedioth Achronot

------- Forwarded message follows -------
From: Victoria Buch

"The Living, about the Dead",
B. Michael, Yedioth Achronot, Tuesday, 23 March 2004

The whole nation is huddled up in the corner, like a little dog that urinated
on the carpet, waiting meekly for the cruel strike that will come. Nobody
has any doubt that it will come. Only W-H-E-R-E will it come - that is not
yet known. And who are the walking dead that meanwhile pace among us,
that is not yet known either. They were not notified in advance, or asked
for permission, prior to being volunteered as a sacrifice on the altar of the
Sharon-Mofaz military games. Let us hope that their last days will be
sweet, before the good earth will take them.

Beyond that - a success: The coalition is united again, the PM will have it
easier to fend off the no-confidence-vote, smiles of satisfaction are
blooming again in the Likud Center, settlers smirk like cats after a large
helping of cream, the "disengagement plan" is dying in embryo inside its
father's belly, and there is also hope that the police and the state
prosecutors will think twice before digging into the files of the Hero that
single-handedly exterminated the Man in the Wheelchair.

There is just one little snag - terror. This one was not really weakened. In
fact it is quite clear that terror will gain in strength. This "terror prevention
measure", more than any previous ones, is like spilling oil on fire. But this
snag should not constitute a killjoy, or a reason for worry. To the contrary
- a regular hefty portion of terror is necessary for regular functioning of
Sharon's government. Terror gives it an opportunity to practice the only
activity in which it is competent: spreading death and destruction. And
terror deflects the public attention from the sad and pathetic reality of
today's Israel. Hot air to inflate the balloon of its withering virility.

It is pointless to argue with the people who are ruling us. They are
beyond reason. Their basic nature propels them, stronger than any logical
analysis. Ministerial ties and politesse will not hide it. Sharon is Sharon
and Mofaz is Mofaz. An attempt to change their nature would be
equivalent to trying to convince an alligator of the benefits of a vegetarian

But one may wonder what thoughts passed in the head of the sky gun-
slinger when he sent a rocket towards the wheelchair. Did he have a
thought to spare for all the good people whom he thus sentenced to
death? Did he have any doubts before pulling the trigger and setting the
area in flames? Or did he close his mind like a robot? Or perhaps he
adopted, whole-heartedly, the official sophistry, justifying
this idiotic act by empty promises to end terror? "In the short range, the
terror will increase, but in the long run ... there will be peace in the land.
Once upon a time I was young, then I grew old, and never ever did I
experience that "long run", together with the "peace in the land". I only
encountered the "short ranges". One after another.

But the pinnacle of cynicism was that laconic message, accompanying the
report on the assassination of Yassin: "Security was beefed up around the
government ministers and public figures."

We, all of us, shall proceed to walk the streets, sit in the cafes, ride the
buses, shop in the markets and the supermarkets, but that bunch of
people that put us in the bull's eye, will be fortified inside armored cars and
in masking corridors, protected by the reinforced crowd of faithful gorillas,
overflowing with dedication. Were Sharon a real leader, were Mofaz a real
man (I am trying to talk his language) they would declare loudly, for all to
hear, that during the forthcoming weeks they will only ride buses. They
will eat only in restaurants, go for walks without protective vests, and
drink daily coffee on sidewalks of large cities. Their blood is not redder
than blood of any other citizen, their death will not be more tragic than the
death of anybody else, and their body parts are not more precious than
body parts of any other human. And there is no reason in the world why
they should not share with the rest of Israelis the portion of danger and
blood that they served us.
There is a limit to arrogance, and to cowardice.

[Translation: Victoria Buch]

4] Sharon Leads a Raid / Reuven Kaminer
-----------Forwarded message follows-------
From: "Reuven Kaminer"
Date sent: Mon, 22 Mar 2004 16:12:56 +0200

Murder Plain and Simple

The real intent of the assassination of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin is identical
with Sharon's disengagement ploy: to block any significant opportunity
for the resumption of efforts towards genuine negotiations. The fixed goal
is the targeted assassination of any chance for peace.

The policy of targeted assassinations was immoral and illegal in the first
place. It really had little to do with the prevention of terror. The real intent
of targeted assassination was to legitimize the employment of political
murder as an instrument in the execution of crimes against the Palestinian
people, from collective punishment up to politicide the denial of their
national rights. In the present context, these are also crimes against peace
and the people of Israel.

Sharon has opted to include political assassination as a weapon to defend
his crumbling authority. His coalition is falling apart, his ministers openly
defy him, his party is in disarray. Even more important: his prestige with
the broad public is in a state of disintegration. Just weeks ago he had
massive support from the public who believed that he was trying to get us
out of the current mess. But he has also squandered this last vestige of
prestige by bumbling inconsistency and refusing to tell anyone what he is
exactly trying to do. Adventurism always came naturally to Sharon, he still
feels more comfortable in battle dress. So we learn that the aging general,
frustrated and more isolated by the hour, personally directs the 'heroic'
helicopter raid on a civilian convoy of a religious leader on his way to

There is method in this madness. If ever an act was designed to deepen
the hostility of the Arab and Moslem world against Israel, its people and
its friend, this was it. Sharon is betting the future of Israel on the clash
between civilizations. His hope for Israel's survival is pinned to the
banners of George Bush's kind of Christendom and its battle against the
Arab and Moslem world.

The Bush-Sharon alliance will whether the present storm. The two need
each other in their hour of adversity. Even so, Sharon's present
infatuation with political murder, may cause problems in Washington,
where things like this are farmed out to proper departments of dirty tricks.
In the capitals of this world, leaders do not usually brag about killing other

Reuven Kaminer
March 22, 2004
5] U.S. doesn't condemn BUT... warns Americans against visiting Israel

The United States on Wednesday warned its citizens in Gaza to leave and
advised against travel to Israel, the West Bank or Gaza, following
Monday's assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

full text:

Hebrew /raxiz

NB: links and contact information re ongoing struggle
Against the Wall / Refusniks / Vanunu

pekgez ienieniz aktxim n`inim r"i dgend lz`m rm
`iiai 064-604172
`xiw 050-607034

Day to day presence at villages threatened by route of wall.
Contact: Ivy Sichel 064-604172 who set's up a list
for people who can come at short notice, or: Arik Asherman 050-607034

Refuser news:

Constantly-updated list of all presently jailed refusniks:

English -
Hebrew / raxiz -

For the latest news about the five:

Letters of support to
Noam Bahat / Haggai Mattar / Matan Kaminer
Maasiyaho Prison
P.O.B 13

Adam Maor / Shimri Tzameret:
Hermon Prison
P.O.B 4011

List of international vigils on day of Vanunu release (April 21):

Instead of sending flowers - an online option (paypal) for your welcome

Online petition for the unconditional release of Vanunu

-- (raxiz/Hebrew) (English) (selected articles in Arabic)

\\photos of recent actions
\\the weekly Gush Shalom ad
\\the columns of Uri Avnery
\\Gush Shalom's history & action chronicle
\\position papers & analysis (in "documents")
\\and a lot more

On the Gush Shalom website links for
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