6 August 2005
Despite the political turmoil in Israel, I have not written for
a while because I have been otherwise engaged – more about that
in a moment.
First, the good news about the Gaza disengagement: Above
all, the million plus Palestinians in Gaza who have had the Israeli
boot in their neck for 37 years will finally see that boot lifted,
beginning in 10 days. That, above all, is the achievement
of leaving Gaza – giving Gazans
back their lives. My friend ‘Inam may find her highly educated children (doctor, engineer,
computers, etc.) begin to drift back home from their overseas
jobs, bringing grandchildren and strengthening the fabric of
Gazan society. Insh’Allah.
(Gila, middle, with other Women in Black, Israel)
More good news is that Israeli politicians are acknowledging the need for Gaza to have access to the
world by land, sea and air, and are negotiating the opening of these
ports. This is not yet public information, but a fact.
International pressure does work.
Also the misdeeds of the
settlers in resisting the disengagement – their violence, their spurning
of law and democracy in favor of “what God
tells them” – have begun to reveal the religious madness and materialistic
greed driving their ideology. Exposed at last are the plush
villas, the exorbitant demands for ‘replacement villas’ on choice
beachfront land inside Israel, and – above all – their
rejection of the democratic process as inconsistent with God’s will.
This was epitomized this week by the egregious murder of Israeli Druse
citizens by an AWOL soldier seeking to halt the disengagement.
Post-disengagement, the settlers will no longer fool anybody by their
claim to having the best interests of the state at heart, and that
is a good result, though achieved with great pain.
The bad news continues to be Sharon’s tightening grip on the
West Bank through more settlement
expansion, more uprooting and destruction of Palestinian homes and
land, and the ongoing construction of the Separation Wall, snaking
its way through Palestinian towns and lives. International objection
to all this is growing more widespread, due to the cumulative effect
of all our efforts, and these must continue.
One such effort is the reason I have been too busy to write in recent months
– helping organize the International
Activist Conference of Women in Black, to begin Friday (August
12) in Jerusalem. This event will
bring 700 women from all over the world to see a slice of the
oppression with their own eyes, helping strengthen their work
Resist Occupation and War”, the title of this four-day
Even if you will not be joining us in Jerusalem, we invite you to watch
our plenary discussions live on the internet. Click
on www.womeninblack.org/jerusalem.html, which is the main conference page
(English), and this will lead you to the broadcasts.
You can also participate in the conference by sending us messages
via the website, and even blogging
and chatting right there. By the way, the tapes of the
conference will be stored on the website for a full year, in
case you miss the realtime broadcast.
So, good-bye Gaza, hale and farewell, may our departure enable your long-suffering
inhabitants to breath more freely, and may it presage Israel’s imminent
departure from the West Bank, too, which will finally spell the liberation
not only of Palestine, but of Israel as well
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