Monday, June 18, 2007

Sue Swartz: Shalom Ken! Kibush Lo!

From Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace - Board member Sue Swartz reports from the ground in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Hebron on last week's 40-year anti-occupation activities.

See this link for the full newsletter:

Shalom Ken! Kibush Lo!

Peace Yes! Occupation No!

Children want only to live... in Hebron and in Sderot!

The settlements are like a bone in our throat!

Enough of the settlements --we want 2 states for 2 peoples!

It is already hot in Hebron at 11 a.m. as 300 of us disembark from the comfortable bullet-proof buses which started out in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Be'er Sheva, buses which passed through the checkpoints outside Kiryat Arba and inside Hebron itself, and -- accompanied by IDF and police vehicles -- down one of the main thoroughfares of the city, past Palestinians gathered outside their small stores and auto repair shops, past young boys carrying containers of soup given out on Tuesdays, past Christian tourists in red baseball caps. The open space, normally a dirt parking lot, where we are to hold our demonstration quickly fills up with large banners and small hand-held posters, sound equipment, protestors in Peace Now t-shirts, reporters, and the familiar sound of chanting. Shalom Kein! Kibush Lo! It is my third event during this week of protest, although it is the first Peace Now rally pemitted in Hebron by the government for many years (and then, only by High Court order). I feel a bit like an old hand as things get underway, a bit like an outsider, and a bit like an activist just out to have fun.

On the ride to Hebron, I talked to Tzippora, a former Canadian who came to Israel 45 years ago as a young bride. She was eager to hear my American take on Israel and to give me her own opinions. As we drove through Hebron, Tzipporah, waving at the police and Palestinian residents with equal gusto, said "the Left is so pareve". Pareve -- kosher both for dairy and meat -- so well-behaved, she explained, so boring. Always doing the same old thing.

With all due respect, I must disagree. The first 10 days of June were a whir of anti-occupation activities, much of which was definitely not boring: a car convoy and bicycle parade, photo exhibitions and films, vigils and street theater, demonstrations, concerts, an academic conference, a daily cable TV show. The earthly laws of physics (i.e., not being able to be in 2 places at once) and other obligations made it impossible for me to see and do everything. And word limits makes it impossible for me to tell you everything I did do. What follows are highlights from those days, days which also saw much public discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as the 6-Day War and its 40-year aftermath. [Read more and see pictures at the link above.]

Brit Tzedek v'Shalom -

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