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At-Home with Gila Svirsky
14 March 2002
Subject: Time to Help
Israel is my country, but I do not recognize it these days. Here is an email that just arrived from Zahira Kamal, a Palestinian woman who is truly committed to a peaceful future between our peoples:
I AM CALLING ALL OF YOU FOR AN URGENT ACTION TO STOP THE ISRAELI ATTACK AGAINST OUR PEOPLE AND TO ALLOW US TO EVACUATE PALESTINIAN INJURED PEOPLE WHOM ARE BLEEDING IN THE STREETS OF RAMALLAH TO THE HOSPITALS. THE ISRAELI ARMY IS NOT ALLOWING DOCTORS AND THE AMBULANCES TO MOVE AND GIVE THE NEEDED MIDICAL AID TO THEM, PLEASE DO SOMETHING,YOU MIGHT GIVE THEM THE CHANCE TO LIVE.
LOOKING FOR YOU IMMIDIATE SUPPORT,
This is just one of many desperate appeals that have come across the channels all day, together with reports of other inhumane acts carried out by the Israeli army. These acts only feed hatred, extremism, and subsequent retaliation.
Israeli peace and human rights activists have been working at a frenzied pace at every level trying to extend specific aid where needed, while trying to get the Israeli public to understand that violence is only the symptom, but the underlying disease is occupation. Its very hard to think about the disease when the symptoms bloodshed, death of loved ones, constant fear are so palpable.
On the positive side are todays UN Security Council Resolution calling for a two-state solution and Kofi Annans calling the occupation illegal. Most important, Israeli public opinion is slowly changing. For details, see http://www.tau.ac.il/peace/Peace_Index/2002/English/p_feb_02_e.html.
Here are a few ideas about how to help:
- Tell your government leaders to intervene to end the bloodbath at once, and then to work on bringing the occupation to an end. If youre a Jewish American, say so. The U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem told a group of us last Friday that U.S. Jews are key to the shaping of U.S. policy in the Middle East. If you are silent, then AIPAC is speaking in your name.
George W. Bush (202) 456-1414.
Colin Powell (202) 647-6575.
To call your congressperson through the Capitol switchboard, call (202) 224-3121.
- Write a letter to the editor of the newspaper you read and express your views.
- Spread information about the situation to sympathetic friends, and ask them to speak up.
- Support organizations that are working to turn the situation around: For humanitarian aid: the Palestinian Red Crescent Society or Physicians for Human Rights - Israel. To support work inside Israel to change peoples minds: http://www.CoalitionOfWomen4Peace.org. Many organizations are doing important work now; find a longer list at www.ariga.com
The situation is shocking. We need help to bring this horror to an end.
Letters from Jerusalem, 2001
Letters from Jerusalem, 2002
Letters from Jerusalem, 2003
New & recent letters from Jerusalem (2004)
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