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THE OTHER ISRAEL

Jan. 17, 2003

[1] Army imprisons CO Ben-Artzi AGAIN - please protest AGAIN UPDATED (more fax & phone numbers + where to send letter of support
[2] Saturday night: protest Gush Katif in Ra'anana
[3] Gush election forum, Monday Jan. 20, 8 pm, Kibbutz Ha'artzi, Leonardo da Vinci 13, Tel-Aviv
[4] Ta'ayush North: people needed - subject: house demolition
[5] Planting and plowing in the aftermath of Tu B'Shvat
[6] Tuesday, Peace Now demo against the Road of Folly
[7] Vanunu's adoptive parents: Strengthened by Visit With Mordechai
[8] Haifa Student Calls IDF Chief A "War Criminal"
[9] PCATI group demands IDF probe 5 family deaths - Ha'aretz
[10] Jan. 24: Women to erase racist graffiti

[1] Army imprisons CO Ben-Artzi AGAIN - please protest AGAIN UPDATED (more fax & phone numbers + where to send letter of support

Thursday Jan. 16, CO Yoni Ben-Artzi entered the military prison for the seventh consecutive time for a term of 35-days. Ben-Artzi's renewed imprisonment was the culmination of more than a week of what seemed a hestitation and equivocation on the army's part.

This time, he and other CO's were not immediately imprisoned upon the end of their previous terms - but were invited to speak with numerous officers and officials. Various possibilities, such as a psychiatric discharge from the army, had been held out to them - only to be withdrawn again. Mention was made of a high-level miltary commission to be appointed of which apparently nothing came. At the end of his new prison term Yoni Ben Artzi (who happens to be the nephew of Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu) will have spent 196 days in jail with no end in sight - for him or for Uri Ya'akobi, Dror Beumel and an increasing number of Israeli youths who refuse service in the Israeli army and are one by one passing the 90 day mark, which was until recently the maximum. Of the growing number of draft resisters part objects to military service in general, others oppose to being part of an army of occupation.

Jonathan Ben Artzi's (or Yoni as his friends know him) first experience with the Israeli justice system was a positive one. As a student at an elite Jerusalem prep school, he found that he could no longer bear the militaristic atmosphere or the overt role the military played in his education. When his class was bussed to a military training center for an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) orientation as part of his school program, Yoni refused to go. He also insisted that his parents be refunded for this "course," and that the fees be returned to his sole Arab classmate, who was literally taken off the military bus. Yoni simply felt that a school should prepare its students to be better citizens-- not soldiers. But this position, which for many may seem rather commonsensical, is considered extremely radical in Israel. The high school, for its part, retaliated by preventing Yoni from graduating and denying him his diploma. It took a year and half of an uphill legal battle for this decision to be overruled by an Israeli court.

But that was years ago. Yesterday, Ben Artzi was once again faced with the choice: "Enlist or go to prison!". Col. Deborah Chassid, who had previously sentenced the CO's, this time told Ben Artzi she was washing her hands of him and his friends and passing the matter off to her superiors. (This may not be unconnected with the thousands of protest letters and faxes which poured into her office from all over the world in the past month).

In the end, Ben Artzi was sentenced by General Gil Regev in person - member of the General Staff in charge of manpower, just one rank below the top of the pyramid. Ben Artzi had told the general (as he reported a few minutes later, just before his mobile phone was taken away): "Unless you find a way through your own bureaucratic procedures and release me from the army, you will have to see me here again and again - for there is no way I am going to enlist". Ben Artzi also reminded General Regev that he had been recognized as a Prisoner of Conscience by Amnesty International. He remarked that if it is possible for thousands of ultra-Orthodox to be granted an exemption from military service, it is not more than fair aalso to exempt the Conscientious Objectors. (Many of the religious are not at all opposed to violence or occupation - on the contrary.) The general had only one answer: "You have appealed to the Consicence Committee and it rejected your offer." (The committee rejects virtually everybody regardless of his arguments.)

Please continue to send protest letters - your own or following sample.

By fax and/or by regular mail to:

General Gil Regev, Head of Manpower:
"Agaf Koach Adam " (Human Resources Division )
Fax +972-(0)3-5699400

and/or:

Induction Base, Tel-Hashomer
Attn General Gil Regev
Military Postal Code 02718,
IDF Israel.
Fax: +972-(0)3-7376052

With an email copy to:

The Minister of Defense
Spokesperson Defense Ministry
and/or Israeli embassy in your country (Israeli embassy addresses are listed on http://www.israel-mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0czk0 and, please make of it ALSO a letter to the editor of your paper, wherever you live.

[following is the sample letter]

I hereby protest your sending Yoni Ben Artzi for the seventh consecutive time to prison, and again for the same fact. It is very discriminatory to exempt every year thousands of ultra-Orthodox while subjecting Conscientious Objectors to repeated imprisonment without limit. It is immoral to try to break these young people for no other reason than that they are a moral minority. In a democratic country minorities are to be treated with respect.

[Your name and address]

NB: If you don't have a fax you may also send your letter to:
ofra_benartzi@hotmail.com from where it will be passed on.
Preferably NOT as attachment but as simple text in the email message body.

You may also try to speak directly to:

General Gil Regev
Ph +972-(0)3-5699000

and/or

General Menachem Finkelstein
Chief Military Prosecutor: ph +972-(0)3-5692911

His deputy: General Daniel Reisner: ph: +972-(0)3-5693189

and, last but not least: don't forget to send a letter of support to:

Yoni Ben-Artzi (Mil ID 7169436)
Military Prison No 4
Military Postal Code 02507
IDF, Israel

[2] Saturday night: protest Gush Katif in Ra'anana
------- Forwarded message follows -------
From: "Ori Ginat"

This coming SATURDAY, January 18 a 'salute to Gush Katif' will be held in the heart of Ra'anana!!

We will be there, in order to protest and to tell them what we think of their settlements in the occupied territories

COME AND JOINT US AS WE SAY:

YESHA is NOT HERE!!

Get OUT of the TERRITORIES FOR ISRAEL'S SAKE!!

Make JOBS not SETTLEMENTS

Come one! Come all!! BRING Your Friends!! - To a quiet protest against this 'evening of salute and encouragement' to Gush Katif.

WHEN: SATURDAY NIGHT 18.1.03 at 20:00
WHERE: RAANANA, Opposite the sport hall of Beit Sefer Ariel, 25 Sheshet HaYamim Street
For details: mary 054-638399 or by e-mail: mary@peacenow.org.il

[3] Gush election forum, Monday Jan. 20, 8 pm, Kibbutz Ha'artzi, Leonardo da Vinci 13, Tel-Aviv with:

Yuli Tamir (Labor), Mossi Raz (Meretz), Tamar Gozanski (Hadash) and Dr. Jamal Zakhalke (Balad)

Gush Shalom ad Ha'aretz, Jan.17

EITHER OR!

In another 11 days, the fate of the state will be decided for years, if not for generations. Propaganda experts and "strategists" of all kinds try to obscure the issues and help the public to escape reality into a wold of dreams and trivia.

But in these elections, two blocs are facing each other:

The rightist bloc which wants to set up more settlements and therefore refuses peace, escalating the confrontation and causing ever more bloodshed, while aiming secretly or openly at the expulsion of the Palestinians a policy that will cause permanent war the eventual destruction of the state.

The leftist bloc which may reopen the negotiations and reach a compromise, putting an end to the occupation and achieving peace between the State of Israel and the State of Palestine.

There is no escape from this decision.

For Whom to Vote?

Many in the peace camp are wavering. Gush Shalom, an independent and non-party movement, will hold next Monday, at 8.00 p.m., a public debate between former minister Yuli Tamir (Labor), M.K. Mossi Raz (Meretz), MK Tamar Gozanski (Hadash) and Dr. Jamal Zakhalke (Balad).

Gush Shalom,
Help us with donations to
P.O.Box 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033,
Phone 972-3-5221732.
www.gush-shalom.org
Requests for information about current actions:
info@gush-shalom.org

[4] Ta'ayush North: people needed - subject: house demolition
------- Forwarded message follows -------
From: dani-g@barak-online.net
Date sent: Fri, 17 Jan 2003 02:37:24 +0000

Dear All,

The Al Rokha lands referred to below are ones that belong to the villages of Arara, Um El Fahem, and El Fakar. They are lands that the government intended to confiscate around 1998-9, supposedly for the use of the military, but more probably to build a Jewish community. After a prolonged argument, an agreement was reached leaving the lands to their owners. But the Minister of the Interior has refused till today to sign the agreement.

Please, if you know any influential people, e.g., reporters or Knesset Members urge them to help or to go to Wadi Ara to demonstrate solidarity.

Also please write letters of protest to the israeli authoroties\embassy or consulate in your country.

If you have any time at all to spare, help by going to Ara to try to prevent the demolition.

What is is all about: the pending demolition of 4 houses in the village of Ara, built on the land of Al-Rokha. A week ago the District Court dismissed the appeal of the house-owners and instructed the police to demolish the houses. The houses are on land to which the Al-Rukha understandings apply, but the Interior Minister still refuses to endorse these understandings reached after a protracted public campaign. People are now in a protest tent and do not consent to the demolition of houses. Others are coming to show support by staying in these houses at a time when the police is liable to come at any moment to demolish them. We appeal to you to come or otherwise help us to prevent the demolition.

For more information call:
Aisha 04 635 6494 or 064 631 097
Wagee 068 572 881
Dani 052 887 185

[5] Planting and plowing in the aftermath of Tu B'Shvat
From: "Rabbis for Human Rights"

Dear Friends and Members,

The rescheduled date for an olive tree planting day in honor of TU B'Shvat in the Salfit region will be MONDAY. There will probably be other planting days in the next few weeks. We will leave Gan Happamon at 8:15 and the Kfar Kassem gas station at 9:30 Please let us know if you are interested in Monday (We need to plan transportation, additional pick up points, etc.)

AND whether or not you are interested in participating at some other time (Please specify dates which are good for you if you can.) On Monday we will also try to take a first load of blankets for Sckhem/Nablus.

See following message from Ta'ayush about plowing:

Plowing time

Hello everybody

An initiative to take part in the plowing activity with Palestinian farmers, is organizing these days (pretty much like is was during harvest & olive picking). Our presence in the plowing procedure is essential as a sign of support and solidarity, and in order to help prevent conflicts.

If you would like to join, please contact Aviad:
el_tin@hotmail.com
tel: 02-5664914

B'Vrakha,
Arik
Rabbis For Human Rights
Tel. 972 2 563-7731 www.rhr.israel.net

[6] Tuesday, Peace Now demo against the Road of Folly
From: "Ori Ginat"

Hello, Friends of Peace Now This Tuesday, 21.1.03 We will demonstrate against the Road of Folly Part of the Sharon government's plan for annexation

Between the neighborhood of 'Har-Homa' in Jerusalem and the settlement of "Nokdim' a road is being paved at the cost of 70 million shekels. The road parallelsan existing highway and will serve fewer than 2,000 settlers in the occupied territories. Access for Arabs is, of course, forbidden.

The paving of this road requires the confiscation of sweeping stretches of Palestinian land,the uprooting of olive orchards and the destruction of homes. The political justification for this road of folly: the annexation of a large section of land between Har Homa and Nokdim.

This Tuesday, at 10:30, we will arrive at the section of the paved highway near the village of Zatara (about 20 km south east of West Jerusalem), to demonstrate against the distorted priorities of a government that is investing in annexing occupied territories rather than in its citizens living in Israel; all the while destroying any possibility of reacing an agreement with and violently antagonizing tens of thousands of Palestinians in an effort to force them to leave their homes.

During the demonstration, we will effectively illustrate the destruction that the government's criminal priorities is imposing on the State of Israel.

A request has been presented to the police for permission for a peaceful demonstration, in the hope that they will have learned from previous experiences not to wait for a supreme court decision in order to allow us to carry out a legal and peaceful demonstration.

Transportation:
Jerusalem: Bell Garden (GAN HAPA'AMON) parking lot 09:30
Tel Aviv: Rakevet Tzafon, masof El Al 08:15

Demonstration begins 10:30, estimated conclusion 12:00 Estimated return: Jslm: 12:45, TLV: 13:30

Please confirm your participation in order to reserve a seat on the bus and in order to allow us to properly prepare the demonstration; from Jerusalem: call Shiri 054-687539 or 02-5660648 or shiri@peacenow.org.il
from Tel Aviv: call Ori 054-405157 or 03-5663291 or ori@peacenow.org.il

[7] Vanunu's adoptive parents: Strengthened by Visit With Mordechai

Reported by Rayna Moss

Nick and Mary Eoloff, adoptive parents of imprisoned nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, visited Vanunu at Ashkelon Prison, Israel, on January 15. The visit took place only after Vanunu's lawyer, Avigdor Feldman, petitioned the Court and supporters' intensive lobbying on behalf of the Eoloffs and Vanunu. For three weeks prison officials refused to approve or prohibit the visit, for which the Eoloffs came to Israel from Minnesota, U.S.A., and two days before they were scheduled to travel home, a prison official said that sources "whichI am not allowed to name" had prohibited the visit, for reasons that also remained secret.

Mary and Nick Eoloff went to Ashkelon prison and pleaded with the staff to allow them to visit their son. While not allowing them into the prison, the staff accepted a package that the Eoloffs brought for Mordechai, containing reading materials and gifts. Simultaneously, a petition was submitted to the Court and supporters of Mordechai Vanunu pressed the authorities to allow him to meet with his adoptive parents. Hours after they were turned away at the prison gate, a prison official called the Eoloffs and told them to come back the next day, just 12 hours before their flight home.

After meeting with Mordechai for 1 1/2 hours, the Eoloffs reported that they had never before seen him in such high spirits. He smiled and joked with them, speaking about his future after his release from prison. Vanunu said, that he had decided to put his years of imprisonment behind him and to focus on his plans for a future of freedom. He stated that he was "hopeful" about his prospects for early release through his ongoing appeal (scheduled to resume on January 21), but that even if he had to serve the entire remainder of his sentence - until April 2004 - he was determined to stay optimistic and to think positively.

[8] Haifa Student Calls IDF Chief A "War Criminal" Jan-16-2003

(IsraelNN.com) An 11th grader in a Haifa school yesterday interrupted an address by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, calling him "a war criminal" that "violates the Geneva Convention".

While the IDF commander opted not to respond, his peers, prompting him to quickly cease the outbursts, booed the student.

School principal Ron Kitrey, a former IDF spokesman, took the stage following the two-hour presentation and apologized to the IDF commander.

Ministry of Education Director-General Ronit Tirosh stated the outburst by the student and the label of war criminal displayed a failure of all involved in his education, falling short of their responsibility to instill proper values in the student (sic!).

[9] PCATI group demands IDF probe 5 family deaths - Ha'aretz

Ha'aretz 15/01/2003

Rights group demands IDF probe 5 family deaths
By Moshe Reinfeld, Ha'aretz Correspondent

The Public Committee against Torture in Israel is demanding that the chief of staff and the military judge-advocate general order an immediate military police investigation into the deaths of five family members from Khan Yunes last month.

The five members of the al-Astal family - Muhammed, 29, As'af, 25, Ahmed, 19, Muhammed, 21, and Ahmed, 35 - were hit by a shell fired from a tank. The committee said the tank had fired at the five, who were not armed, while they were trying to enter Israel to find work. It bases its claim on information from Palestinian human rights organizations.

The Israel Defense Forces spokesman announced the day after the incident that the bodies of the five had been found and that they had been carrying ladders but were not armed.

Palestinian ambulance crews and medical personnel said that they had also been fired at, when they tried to remove the bodies, and that they had to wait two days to do so. According to sources at Nasser Hospital in Gaza, one of the bodies was dismembered and had numerous shrapnel wounds.

Hannah Friedman, chair of the committee, pointed to the large number of incidents in which Palestinian civilians had been killed during IDF operations in the territories and said open-fire instructions were not being observed by the troops. She expressed surprise that a shell had been used against civilians and that no effort had been made to halt them. She demanded that the charges of firing against medical personnel be investigated as well.

Contact: Committee Against Torture in Israel

10] Jan. 24: Women to erase racist graffiti

From: Dita Bitterman

The Women's Coalition for Peace - as part of the "Coalition against Racism" decided upon an erasing graffiti drive. They intend to remove slogans calling for transfer which are to be found all over the country. On Thursday Jan. 24, teams of two to three women per car will go out and remove the slogans. The coalition has prepared large stickers: Transfer = War Crime.

Contact:
Tel-Aviv area - Dita 052-439009
Afula area - Lily 053-966281
Jerusalem - Gila 067-515797
Haifa - Daliah 04-8243638

-----

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