FEBRUARY 15, 2002

--- Jewish Peace News <thebungle@earthlink.net>
wrote:

re:  90  RABBIS OF RABBIS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS HEADED BY EXEC DIRECTOR
RABBI ARIK ASCHERMAN  PLANT MORE OLIVE TREES FOR THE UPROOTED OLIVE
TREES OF THE SHEPHERD CAVE DWELLERS ( NOW HOMELESS) in SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: -------

South Hebron village.

   The 90 members of Rabbis for Human  Rights
spent the recent Jewish holiday of Tu  B'Shvat
(the birthday of trees)   replanting a
number of the 30,000 Palestinian olive trees -
the life-support of the villages - uprooted by
Israeli soldiers. These rabbis have been regular
trips to help the Palestinian cave dwellers who
are now homeless because Israeli army bulldozers
have destroyed their cave homes, their crops,
their wells,  and their sheep...Peace activist
groups Gush Shalom and  Ariga maintain a boycott
of goods produced in  the settlements.

Israeli women's peace organisations that make
up the Coalition of Women for a Just Peace run
some of the most interesting, least publicised,
projects. Among them are the 70 members of
Machsom Watch, who conduct daily observations at
checkpoints between Israel and the West  Bank,
challenging capricious new rules invented by
officers in charge, and Women in Black,  which
holds regular anti-occupation vigils.

More high-profile is Yesh Gvul (There's a
Limit), the organisation supporting refuseniks,
which has developed the idea of "selective
refusal" for reservists prepared to serve, but
not in the occupied territories. Jeff. Halper's
18-year-old son, Yair, has  just finished a
three-month sentence for  refusing to serve
altogether "because of  oppression of the
Palestinians".  Jeff Halper is head of the group
trying to halt demolition of Palestinian homes...

Another 209 reservists have signed the recent
petition not to fight in the Occupied West
Bank and Gaza  , but kept deliberately
independent of Yesh Gvul. They have also refused
all  interviews with the foreign media, to avoid
being part of an international campaign to
denounce Israel. To appreciate the courage of
their actions, one needs to understand the
pivotal role of the army in Israeli society.
Military service is considered not just a duty
but also an honour, conferring social benefits
as well as lifelong friendships.

The petition has ignited flickers of hope.
Peace Now, virtually dormant for the past 18
months, is holding Saturday-night vigils
outside Ariel Sharon's Jerusalem residence.
Last Thursday it launched its first new
campaign since Sharon took office: "Leave the
settlements - stop the terror". Yesh Gvul has
just begun a leafleting campaign directed at
soldiers and all citizens of military age;
8,000 people attended a demonstration against
the occupation in Tel Aviv on Saturday night.
Halper says that the ICAHD's experience of
working alongside the Palestinians as guests in
their territory has challenged them to try to
"decolonise themselves".

The Israeli government has been exhorting
diaspora Jews to holiday in Israel, to
demonstrate their support for the Jewish state.
Those of us who believe that the best way of
doing this is to encourage the creation of a
Palestinian state, prefer to give succour to
the myriad Israeli groups working to that end.