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At-Home with Gila Svirsky

18 December 2001
Subject: Women in Black– 14 years


In a few weeks, Women in Black will mark 14 years to its first vigil. Since January 1988, Women in Black have held vigils throughout Israel every Friday for one hour, dressed in black, and carrying a black hand on which “End the Occupation” is printed in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. Though founded in Israel, Women in Black vigils now extend throughout the world and have different purposes, wherever women (and men) wish to protest the use of war and violence, whether by governments or individuals.

On December 28th, Women in Black in Israel (coordinated by the Coalition of Women for a Just Peace) will hold a mass public event in Jerusalem, and we anticipate the participation of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians. We will begin by a march of mourning through the streets of Jerusalem, all of us wearing black, marching silently to the mournful cadence of drums, under the banner, “The Occupation is Killing Us All” (in three languages). This march will take us from the Israeli to the Palestinian side of Jerusalem, and to the walls of our “Old City,” site of so much bloodshed and conflict over the centuries, where we will commemorate the victims of this violence, and then hold a “concert of peace and hope,” with Jewish and Palestinian participation.

To mark the 14 years of Women in Black, the Jerusalem vigil has issued a statement, which I append below. It does not make us happy to note another year gone by, and the occupation and its attendant violence continue. We will raise our voice in protest no matter how long it takes, but we don’t want to stand for another 14 years. Our daughters have joined us in our vigil, and we don’t want our granddaughters to have that opportunity.

End the oppression, end the violence, make peace through justice. The moment is long overdue.

Join us on December 28th. Check our website for the vigil nearest you, or start one yourself. All it takes is the decision to deny violence its legitimacy, and hold out the light of justice as a viable alternative.

Holiday greetings to Jews, Christians, and Muslims, from Jerusalem,
Gila Svirsky

Women in Black – Jerusalem

We, Women in Black, Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel, have held a protest vigil for 14 years to express our belief in peace and our demand that the occupation come to an end. Our black attire symbolizes the suffering and tragedy of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. We represent diverse views, but our call to “End the Occupation” unites us all.

We therefore declare:

End the occupation... because Israel’s imposed rule over three million Palestinians is morally wrong and obstructs the path to peace.

End the occupation... because collective punishment against an entire nation – a brutal military presence, mass arrests, torture, the closure of towns and villages, the demolition of homes, assassinations, and severe acts of oppression - violates international law and undermines the foundations of decency and morality.

End the occupation... because the occupation serves and abets Israeli settlements in the occupied territories in defiance of international law. The settlement enterprise is based on religious and fundamentalist fanaticism and the most chauvinist and racist elements of Israeli society.

The Occupation Corrupts!

Unless Israel ends the occupation, there is no hope for peace, security, a healthy economy, or a just and democratic society.

The Intifadah, with the exception of some egregiously unacceptable acts, is fundamentally an expression of a nation’s rebellion against occupation.

Despite regression in the peace process, we are more convinced than ever that there is no military solution to the conflict.

Only an end to the occupation will bring peace.

We are against violence, racism, and all forms of terrorism that harm innocent civilians!

We are for peace based on the just interests of both peoples!

Women in Black, P.O. Box 9013, Jerusalem

The Coalition of Women for a Just Peace asks for help in making possible the March of Mourning and Peace Concert, as well as our other work. Three ways to make a contribution:

  1. For a US tax deduction, make out a check to “Coalition of Women for a Just Peace” and mail it to the New Israel Fund, PO Box 91588, Washington DC 20090-1588.

  2. If a US tax deduction is not relevant, make out a check to “Coalition of Women for a Just Peace” and mail it to Bat Shalom, P.O. Box 8083, 91080 Jerusalem, Israel.

  3. To use a credit card, click on
    which will bring you into the web site of You will then have to register (“sign up”) and then follow the instructions for “Send money.” Before you enter the site, copy this e-mail address, as you will be asked to fill it in:
    The money reaches us virtually instantly, and we will confirm it immediately.

Many thanks!

For more information: Write to or see our web site

At-Home with Gila Svirsky

Letters from Jerusalem, 2001
Letters from Jerusalem, 2002
Letters from Jerusalem, 2003
New & recent letters from Jerusalem (2004)
Resources and Links

© 2001 Gila Svirsky, Women in Black – Jerusalem.

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