Encouragement at anti-war demo,

and the reality of the day after

GUSH SHALOM - pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 - http://www.gush-shalom.org/

Sunday, Aug. 5 - the day after 10 000 Israelis demonstrated at the initiative of Peace Now against war, marching with torches and shouting anti-occupation slogans in the center of Tel-Aviv from the Rabin Square to the Defence Ministry. One couldn't avoid feeling uplifted by the fact that we are no longer totally isolated  - we the few hundred  who have been swimming against the current for nearly a whole year. 

The big camp is beginning to wake up from its coma and to judge from the speeches and the reactions of the crowd, at least a few lessons seem to have been learned during the months of silence: that there can be no peace with settlements; that the 1967 border must be the basis for the two-state solution. It really means something to hear from Yossi Sarid,
opposition leader but most of all barometer of the not so sure doves, that he no longer trusts the army spokesman. That he stopped believing the daily army communiques giving the official versions about why there had again to be killed Palestinians, "targeted" or  "unintended".

Also,  Nurit Peled, who got the floor as bereaved mother got standing ovations when she called Palestinian bereaved parents her "brethren" while making it very clear that the settlers could not count on any feelings of solidarity from her side; she also defended the Conscientious Objectors whose right to refuse is still non-existent in Israel.

It was a pleasure to distribute there the Gush Shalom "generous offers" flyer, many people asking a second one for a friend or a colleague, and to see in the course of that evening our two-flags sticker displayed on more and more t-shirts.

But on this same August 5, the day after that revigorating experience, there
was very much very bad news about what is actually going on. We don't have to tell you about ongoing exchanges of fire, on the nightly destructionk from the air of a Palestinian police office in the Gaza Strip, about the Palestinian's drive-by shooting spray  in the middle of the day in Tel-Aviv - very close to the place of yesterday's rally - or about another hi-tech killing this afternoon by the Israeli Air Force's helicopter squad, in Tulkarm; it was
broadcast by all the networks.

We conclude with forwarding you something about a much less widely published ongoing phenomenon - which we just now received from Palestine Media Center - PMC (pr@palestine-pmc.com).

(...) According to Palestinian official sources, Israeli occupation forces have razed and burned 3,669,000 square meters of planted land since late
September 2000. They have also uprooted and burned 26,570 olive trees.

In its latest acts of aggression against Palestinian fields and crops, Israeli occupation forces burned and razed a number of fields in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

In the Nablus District, Israeli occupation forces burned yesterday 4 August more than 200 olive trees planted on the road connecting the Ziwata and Ejinsia villages.

Eyewitnesses reported that the Israeli occupation forces prohibited civil
defense crews from extinguishing the burning trees. 

In Jericho, a large number of Israeli occupation forces, supported by military bulldozers, razed 20 dunums of banana farmland. The owner of the
farm said that Israeli occupation forces razed his land under the pretext
that Palestinian gunmen supposedly used it for cover in the past.

The Palestinian farmer refuted the Israeli allegations, stressing that his
farm lies 2 km away from the main road, making the allegation that gunmen used it for opening fire absolutely preposterous. He told reporters that this was the second time his farm is razed, adding," Last time, the
(Israeli) soldiers razed 30 dunums of my farmland using the same excuse".

The Emergency Committee of the Jericho Governerate evaluated the farmer's losses at 360.000 NIS (New Israeli shekels).

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