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Home  » International Day of Action—June 5, 2003   »  INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ACTION

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ACTION

On June 5, 2003, the thirty-sixth anniversary of the Israeli occupation of
the West Bank and Gaza, we call for linked actions by Palestinian,
international, and Israeli peace groups to protest the escalating violence
against the Palestinian community and international human rights workers in
the occupied territories. We demand protection for Palestinian civilians and
for internationals, a moratorium on construction of the apartheid wall and
its associated land confiscations and home demolitions, and an end to the
occupation.

I. Who is Initiating this Call?

The United for Peace and Justice is initiating this call together with
Palestinian based, Israeli, and other international peace groups. Committed
convening groups include the Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA),
the International Women's Peace Service, and the International Solidarity
(ISM) Movement, which attempts to protect civilians and supports the
nonviolent resistance within Palestine, and the US Campaign to End the
Israeli Occupation. We seek and welcome endorsements by all groups and
individuals that support our points of unity.

II. What Would Happen on June 5?

* Demonstrations and acts of nonviolent resistance by Palestinians and
internationals within the occupied territories of Palestine.

* Sister demonstrations, vigils and nonviolent direct actions by Israeli
peace groups within the pre-1967 borders of Israel.

* A massive campaign of lobbying at the United Nations and of the U.S.
Congress culminating on June 5.

* Teach-ins and educational programs in communities around the world.

* Demonstrations, vigils, and nonviolent occupations of Israeli embassies
and consulates worldwide, and at offices of corporations that profit from
the occupation.

III. Why This Call?

There can be no true peace or security in the Middle East without justice
for the Palestinian people. In the wake of the war on Iraq, the Sharon
government has stepped up a campaign of land confiscation, enclosure and
isolation of Palestinian communities, and attacks on nonviolent human rights
workers.

The Sharon government is rapidly moving ahead on the second phase of
construction of a mammoth "security fence" in reality an apartheid wall
which dwarfs the Berlin wall. A thirty-foot high concrete wall with gun
towers in some areas, in others, a giant electrified fence surrounded by a
wide swathe of "no-mans land," it strays far from the 1967 borders to
confiscates more than thirty percent of the proposed Palestinian state. It
encloses the illegal settlements that have undermined peace negotiations
since Oslo, annexes water resources and the traditional lands of Palestinian
villages without compensation, and will turns Palestinian cities into giant,
open-air prisons.

In Gaza, construction of the security zone along the Egyptian border has
resulted in destruction of olive groves and homes. On March 16, Rachel
Corrie, a human rights worker with the International Solidarity Movement,
was deliberately killed by an Israeli Occupation Forces bulldozer driver
while trying to prevent home demolitions. The Israeli military has refused
to seriously investigate her death, and the United States government has
declined to pressure them.

The result has been tacit encouragement of attacks on nonviolent peace
workers and inconvenient witnesses. In Jenin, Brian Avery was shot in the
face on April 5 by soldiers in an armored personnel carrier that opened fire
on clearly visible, unarmed members of the ISM. On April 12, ISM member Tom
Hurndall was shot in the head by an Israeli soldier on the Rafah border as
he attempted to rescue children who were under fire from Israeli sniper
tower. On April 20, Palestinian journalist was shot dead by a gunman from an
Israeli tank as he attempted to cover an incursion into Nablus.

These attacks on human rights workers make visible the ongoing violence
against Palestinian civilians. In Rafah, more than two hundred and fifty
people have died since the beginning of the intifada; forty-five of them
were children.

Unless the international community responds strongly to these attacks, no
human rights workers, medical personnel, journalists or NGOs will be able to
operate safely in the occupied territories. Without those who are prepared
to intervene against, witness, or report on acts of aggression by the
Israeli military, the way is open for even further escalations of violence
and repression against the Palestinian people.

Linked actions by groups within the territories, within Israel and by the
international community would send a powerful message to the Israeli
government. Moreover, they would break the isolation of the Palestinians,
encourage and support the nonviolent resistance within Palestine, making
that aspect of the struggle more visible, highlight the ongoing violence
against Palestinian civilians and shift the climate of public opinion that
allows this injustice to continue.

IV. Demands

1. Protection and Accountability:

* We demand that the U.S. and British governments, the United Nations, and
the world community hold the Sharon government and the Israeli Occupation
Forces accountable for the death of Rachel Corrie and the shootings of Brian
Avery, and Tom Hurndall which make visible the ongoing violence against
Palestinian civilians. We demand a full and impartial investigation of these
and other attacks on nonviolent human rights workers.

* We call for an immediate deployment of UN international observers in the
West Bank and Gaza Strip.

2. Moratorium on the Wall:

* We call for a moratorium on the building of the so-called "security wall,"
an end to the land theft, home demolitions, appropriation of water and
resources, destruction of villages and of livelihoods that this apartheid
wall requires.

*End the Occupation: We call for an end to the policies of control and de
facto imprisonment that violate the human rights of Palestinians: closures,
curfews, checkpoints, roadblocks, incursions, snipers, and ongoing attacks
on civilians. An end to attacks on the Palestinian economy and civil
society, the obstruction of education, health care, emergency services that
are part of an ongoing assault on daily life. An end to the occupation.

V. Points of Unity

Nonviolence For this campaign, we ask that groups that participate commit to
nonviolent actions that maximize respect for life, and that embody the
openness, creativity and compassion we are calling for.

Palestinian focus—Attacks on international human rights workers are an
important focus of this campaign, but we ask that they always be seen in the
context of the overwhelming daily violence directed against the Palestinian
population.

Diversity We represent a very broad coalition of groups that may hold out
different visions for this issue. As a coalition, we can unite around the
specific goals named for this campaign. Individual groups are free to pursue
their own broader goals and demands in their own names.

Independence We welcome support from a broad variety of political groups and
organizations, but as a coalition we do not identify with or align with any
political party or affiliation.

Tolerance Jewish and Israeli peace groups are part of this campaign, and
allies in this struggle. Charges of anti-Semitism are often hurled at anyone
who challenges the Israeli government. We refuse to be silenced or
intimidated by those charges, while we also recognize that some recent
attacks on Jewish institutions do betoken a resurgence of actual
anti-Semitism. Our campaign is directed against the policies of the
Sharon-led Israeli government and military, and the U.S. funding and support
for those policies, not against Jews or Israelis as a people.

Only justice for Palestinians can assure real security in either Palestine
or Israel. We cherish the lives of Israelis and Palestinians. While we
especially condemn attacks on civilians, whether Palestinian or Israeli, we
understand that attacks on Israeli civilians are a response to the
conditions of the occupation, that are only furthered by the policies of
collective punishment and brutality practiced by the Sharon government. At
the same time, we understand that such attacks stir fear and rage among
Israelis that lends a spurious legitimacy to brutal actions of the Sharon
Government.

We encourage participating groups to be proactive in reaching out to their
local Jewish communities to begin dialogues and discussions around this
issue, and to hold out the hope that even those who are now our opponents
may change their views.

Autonomy—Within the framework of these points of unity, local groups are
free to plan their own actions and campaigns. Local groups know best how to
organize in their own areas, and how to speak to their own communities.

VI. Structure

The June 5 coalition would be a loose network of affiliated groups,
providing coordination and support for autonomous actions within the
framework of the points of unity. Convenor groups would take responsibility
for coordination nationally or regionally, in Palestine, Israel, the U.S.,
Europe, and other regions. A central website would be created and
maintained, where support materials could be posted and where a list of
planned actions and contacts could be maintained. Media coordination could
be centralized regionally.

Funding would be sought for the website and to support media centers. Groups
would fund their own actions independently.

For more information contact http://www.peacejusticestudies.org/palestine.php

or:

Starhawk at stella@mcn.org and http://www.starhawk.org

Simona Sharoni at sharonis@evergreen.edu; 360-867-6196

ISM press office (Beit Sahur, Palestine): info@palsolidarity.org
972-2-277-4602

For a map of the wall, see http://www.gush-shalom.org/thewall/index.html.

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