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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Israeli Refuseniks: Yesh Gvul

Summary of Yesh Gvul Activities: 2005 and first half of 2006

Here is an annual summary of Yesh Gvul's activity in 2005 (better late than never!). We hope you take the time to read it, provide feedback and think of ways in which you can participate with us in the struggle against the occupation and for a better society in Israel.

Yesh Gvul
Annual Report
2005

May 15, 2006


The time has come again, albeit a bit late, to report our activities and ask for your support this year. In the past, year, as before, we initiated, organized and participated in numerous actions. In this update, we wish to share our experience and ask you to join us, in order to act together against the corrupt and corrupting occupation, and promote a peaceful solution which will benefit all residents of this land. Needless to say, any assistance, support or donation would be most welcome

The Refusal Index

Last year, more than in previous years, it turned out that the IDF abstained from imprisoning refusers. In spite of the rise in the number of refusers, only 9 draftees and 7 soldiers were imprisoned for refusing to take part in the occupation. During many months last year no occupation refusers were in prison .

Traditionally, we have been operating in three dimensions: personal support of refusers - as a kind of "labour union" of refusers, political action towards ending the occupation, and public education as a tool for social change.

Personal Support of Refusers

Due to the low number of imprisonments, fewer prison vigils took place, and the Yesh Gvul Fund was less active.

Prison Vigils

When refusers were imprisoned, we kept up our tradition of holding solidarity vigils in front of military prisons. These vigils were joined by members and supporters of other refuser groups. Vigils took place on 2/4/05 , 2/7/05, 22/10/05 and on a few other occasions. When new refusers are imprisoned, we shall return to the mountain overlooking military prison 6 or the fence surrounding military prison 4. Photos from previous solidarity vigils can be viewed on our website.

Hotline for soldiers and draftees: The line has been active for 24 years. Anyone who needs information about refusal can consult us before they decide what to do.

Supporting Families of Refusers

Last year, as before, we continued to assist families of refusers in prison.

Yesh Gvul Fund

For 24 years the fund has assisted refusers who run into financial difficulties in case they do not receive their salary or the social security payment. Due to the low number of imprisonments, the fund supported only 2 refusers in need, and paid a total sum of 4620 NIS. Please note that in spite of the fact that the fund supports ALL refusers, regardless of their organizational affiliation, Yesh Gvul is the ONLY group which funds this fund.

Political Action towards Ending the Occupation:

*Anti-Occupation Vigils

As one of the groups in the peace camp, we continued to initiate and participate in demonstrations against the occupation, and against the separation wall. During the last months of the year we participated in the "Harvest Coalition" and our members, along with members of numerous organizations, helped in harvesting olives in the occupied territories. In addition, we initiated and participated in petitions and protest ads against the occupation.

*Hearings at the Supreme Court

We started the campaign against the automatic immunity granted to IDF officers who take part in alleged war crimes in the petition against General Dan Halutz. The supreme court heard our petition, filed in cooperation with prominent Israeli public figures (Nathan Zach, Sami Michael, Ronit Matalon, Amos Keinan, Yitzhak Laor and others), and presented by attorneys Sfard and Feldman. We asked for an order nisi to cancel the decision by the senior military attorney and the state attorney not to start a criminal investigation to check whether criminal acts had taken place in the planning and execution of the killing of Hamas activist Salech Mustafa Shechade in Gaza city in 22/7/02. 15 people were killed in this action and scores were wounded, due to the use of a one ton bomb in the heart of a densely populated neighborhood. The Supreme Court is yet to rule on this matter.

*Public Education as the Means to Social Change

Ending the age of immunity: The central educational topic for yesh Gvul nowadays is war crimes and the IDF's "targeted killing" policy. The Shechade case is the main example.

The main case on which we have focused was the dropping of the 1-Ton bomb on a residential area in Gaza in July 2002, a bomb which was supposed to "thwart" Hamas' senior activist Salach Shechade. With him 14 other people were killed 14 (of which 9 were children and infants), and about 150 other civilians were wounded.

We considered the unbearable ease of the mass killing of innocent civilians, and could not understand the decision-making process which allows the dropping of a 1000-kg bomb on a densly populated neighbourhood. Therefore, we asked the Chief Military Attorney to order an investigation. The Attorney's reply was that he will not do so. A second request to reexamine his decision not to investigate was rejected as well. Since in a democratic society citizens are not supposed to just hang around while war crimes are taking place, we appealed - in September 2003 - the Supreme Court of Justice, Israel's highest juridical instance, and asked it to order the State's Attorney General and the Chief Military Attorney to start an investigation. The court made a note of the appeal. In September 2005, during the last session dedicated to the appeal, we heared the words of Hon. Judge Heshin who "freezed" the discussion of the appeal until an unknown date. After two years of ongoing requests to start an investigation we concluded that all these delays are not accidental. We reached the conclusion that the Israeli law authorities - both civil and military - shirk their duty and are not willing to provide any legal aid to those horrified by the military's conduct in the occupied territories.

We understood that those responsible for - or suspect of - committing war crimes might remain uninterrogated, hence not be punished, because of the legal system's evasion from dealing with these issues. therefore, facing a legal system which refuses to discuss the issue, we publicly supported addressing non-israeli courts - whether international or of other nations - so those suspect of committing war crimes will not go without investigation and punishment. Gen. (res.) Doron Almog's hiding in the airplane in order to avoid being arrested in England; the charge sheet presented to Avi Dichter (former head of the General Security Service) and Maj. Gen. (res.) Moshe Yaalon in the United States and the Chief Military Attorney's recommendation to Brig. Avib Kohavi not to visit the UK - all these mark the end of the age of sweeping immunity for the IDF's officers and soldiers.

The beginning of legal processes abroad and the justified apprehension of many senior IDF officers regarding going to Europe and the US are only one part of the story. the other part is what IDF soldiers should do when receiving orders which might be suspected as orders to commit war crimes. Therefore we launched a public campaign about The End of the Era of Immunity, preparing a pocket booklet about war crimes to be distributed to soldiers.

Conferences

The first main conference we held this year was a moral preparation to service in the IDF, held as a part of the Activism Festival. Speakers from groups such as "Breaking the Silence", "Seniors' Highschool Letter" and "MachsomWatch" all took part in the event which included testimonies by soldiers and observers on the happenings in the territories as well as discussions about the democratic right to refuse and the duties of citizens in democracy. It was accompanied by singers and bands preforming protest songs.

The second conference dealt with war crimes and the sweeping immunity given to soldiers and officers of the IDF. It took place at the Sokolov House in Tel Aviv on September 27 th, moderated by journalist Dani Rubinstein. Discussing the issue were Prof. Moshe Zimmermann, Prof. Menahem Hoffnung, Adv. Michael Sfard and Dr. Ishai Menuchin.

Alternative Beacon Lighting Ceremony

On Wednesday, 11/05/2005, eve of Independence day, we held for the 8th time an alternative beacon lighting ceremony at the Emil Gruenzweig Square, in front of the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem. we lighted he beacons for a more just, more equal and more moral society in Israel; for the immediate stopping of the needless war and the occupation of the territories, for repairing the unjustice we do, for improving the way we treat the weak among us and the for peace with all our neighbours.

This year the beacons were lit by: Smadar Ben Natan (Lawyer); Hayim Bar-am (Journalist); Nurit Hajaj (the oriental democratic rainbow); Zeev Tene' (food engineer and a rock poet); Ruhama Marton (founder and president of "Physicians for Human Rights"); Alex Luebeck (press photographer and Israel prize laureate for photography); Zohar Milchgrub (Yesh Gvul); Shimri Tzameret (conscientious prisoner); Shaul Tzfani (Chairperson of the Metrodan workers' union); Anna Shlonski (the Seniors' Letter). Artists who played music : David Beinart, Yair Dalal, El-ad Horwitz and Noam Faust.

Yesh Gvul in Writing

During the last year we began to edit a book about "occupation and refusal", which is supposed to be published this coming June, in November Books, first in Hebrew, and later in other languages (please contact us if you need more info).

Distribution of Leaflets to Soldiers

This year we continued to distribute leaflets to soldiers, asking them to think about the implications of their actions as soldiers in the occupied territories.

Finally, our expenditures this year for political and educational action were 145,000 NIS. together with the Yesh Gvul Fund's support for jailed refuseniks, the total amount of our expenditures was 149,600 NIS.

All our income is dedicated to activities and supporting the prisoners. Yesh Gvul does not hold any office, neither does it have any paid workers - we are all volunteers! If you would like to join us and take part in our activities - prison solidarity vigils, leaflets distributions, accomanying families of prisoners or house meetings of value-preparation tio the IDF - please contact us.

May 15, 2006

Come Tuesday, 16.5, refusers Aviv Sela and Ma'ayan Pedden will return to the induction base at Tel Hashomer, and are likely to be jailed again for their refusal to serve the occupation and the militarisation of society. Wewill be with them in support of their struggle. The demonstration will take place at 8:30 at the gates of Tel Hashomer. Busses will leave at 7:45 from theHabima parking lot and at 8:00 from the El Al terminal at the cerntral train station. For details:Haggai 0523881213

May 15, 2006

Dear Friend

1. Our alternative beacon lighting ceremony was sucessful, even though we had a problem with our generator. The statements delivered by the beacon lighters will be available (In Hebrew only, for now...) on our website soon. Due to the generator malfunction, some of them had to deliver their statements in a somewhat loud voice...

2. We would like to point your attention to a new book which we will publish soon, first in Hebrew, and later, hopefully, in other languages. Information in Hebrew is already available here:
http://www.yeshgvul.org.il/articles.asp?id=fb919302d870755a0de993c71071bfa8

And an order form is available here:
http://www.yeshgvul.org.il/info.asp?id=9298dcf90574192b5a5db23ed28b7446

May 28, 2006

Dear Friend

Yesh Gvul has prepared a booklet on war crimes. We intend to distribute it all across Israel, to Israeli soldiers and to high school students. We would appreciate any help in distributing the booklet.

If you would like to help us by distributing at a place of your choice, please contact us. The booklet (in Hebrew) can be read at the following link:

http://www.kibush.co.il/downloads/yesh.pdf

The first distribution will take place on Sunday 4/6 in Jerusalem.

Thanks
Yesh Gvul

June 1, 2006

Update on Imprisoned Objectors in Israel
30 May 2006

- Please distribute widely -

In today's update:
CO Aviv Sela
CO Maayan Padan
Recommended Action
Dear Friends,

Three conscientious objectors currently stay in the military prisons of Israel.

CO Wasim Hir has been released from prison and will probably return there within a few days (on which we will update when it happens).

CO Eyad Raleb Sif continues his prison term, reported in our previous update. Please continue working on his behalf, and sending him letters to:

Eyad Raleb Sif
Military ID 7406109
Military Prison No. 6
Military Postal Code 01860, IDF
Israel

CO Aviv Sela

CO Aviv Sela returned to the military Induction Base to be imprisoned for the second time in a row, on 16 May. He was sentenced to 28 days in prison, which he is serving in Military Prison No. 6. Before going back to prison, Aviv has made the following statement:

After my first term in military prison, I remain determined not to take part in the policy of occupation carried out by the IDF, and I am glad that I have the opportunity to present other youths with the option of avoiding military service.


Aviv is due to be released from prison on 9 June. In the meanwhile, you can write him at:

Aviv Sela
Military ID 6883615
Military Prison No. 6
Military Postal Code 01860, IDF
Israel

CO Maayan Padan

CO Maayan Padan has also returned to prison for a second term. She was first sentenced to 7 days in prison for her refusal to enlist on 16 May, and then on 21 May she was given 21 more days in prison for staying AWOL between prison terms. Maayan has begun serving her prison term of 28 days in total on 21 May in Military Prison No. 400, and is due to be released on 15 June.

Before returning to prion, Maayan made the following statement:

Today, after my first prison term, I am stronger in my stand, that we should struggle to dismantle military organisations as such and to stop entrenching militarism in society. Children looking up to 'soldier heroes' interpret violent acts in a positive light and shape their characters and worldviews around them. Parents dress their babies as soldiers. Our sould are sacrifised in the name of land, but this sacrifise is a fiction, used as excuse to continue the systematic occupation, oppressing the spirit of the Palestinian people and creating deep grievances eventually leading to the desperate protest of terrorism. It is our duty to pose an alternative and to struggle for its right to exist.

Maayan's prison address is:

Maayan Padan
Military ID 6151802
Military Prison No. 400
Military Postal Code 02447, IDF
Israel
Fax: ++972-3-9579348

Recommended Action

First of all, please circulate this message and the information contained in it as widely as possible, not only through e-mail, but also on websites, conventional media, by word of mouth, etc.

Other recommendations for action:

1. Sending Letters of Support

Please send the imprisoned objectors letters of support (preferably postcards or by fax) to the prison addresses above.

2. Letters to Authorities

It is recommended to send letters of protest on behalf of the imprisoned objectors, preferably by fax, to:

Mr. Amir Peretz,
Minister of Defence,
Ministry of Defence,
37 Kaplan St.,
Tel-Aviv 61909,
Israel.
E-mail: ar@mod.gov.il or pniot@mod.gov.il
Fax: ++972-3-6976711

Copies can be sent to the commanders of the military prisons (note the updated fax number for prison No. 6) at:

Commander of Military Prison No. 6,
Military Prison No. 6,
Military postal number 01860, IDF
Israel.
Fax: ++972-4-954-05-80 Commander of Military Prison No. 400,
Military Prison No. 400,
Military postal number 02447, IDF
Israel.
Fax: ++972-3-9579389

Another useful address for sending copies would be the Military Attorney General:

Avichai Mandelblit,
Chief Military Attorney
Military postal code 9605, IDF
Israel
Fax: ++972-3-569-43-70

It would be especially useful to send your appeals to the Commander of the Induction Base in Tel-HaShomer. It is this officer that ultimately decides whether an objector is to be exempted from military service or sent to another round in prison:

Amir Rogowski,
Commander of Induction Base,
Baqum, Tel-HaShomer
Military Postal Code 02718, IDF
Israel.
Fax: ++972-3-737-60-52

Copies of appeals can also be sent to:
Head of Incompatibles Unit
Induction Base (Baqum)
Tel-HaShomer
Military Postal Code 02718, IDF
Israel.
Fax: ++972-3-737-67-05.

For those of you who live outside Israel, it would be very effective to send protests to your local Israeli embassy. You can find the address of your local embassy on the web.

Here is a sample letter, which you can use, or better adapt, in sending appeals to authorities on the prisoners' behalf:

Dear Sir/Madam,

It has come to my attention that [name & military ID], a conscientious objector, has been imprisoned [his/her] refusal to perform military service for the [n-th] time in a row, and is held in Military Prison No. [400/4/6].

The imprisonment of conscientious objectors such as [name] is a violation of international law, of basic human rights and of plain morals. The repeated imprisonment of conscientious objectors is an especially grave offence, as it means sentencing a person more than once for the same offence, and has been judged by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to constitute a clear case arbitrary detention.

I therefore call for the immediate and unconditional release from prison of [name], without threat of further imprisonment in the future.

Sincerely,



3. Letters to media in Israel and in other countries

Writing op-ed pieces and letters to editors of media in Israel and other countries could also be quite useful in indirectly but powerfully pressuring the military authorities to let go of the objectors and in bringing their plight and their cause to public attention.

Here are some contact details for the main media outlets in Israel:

Ma'ariv:
2 Karlibach st.
Tel-Aviv 67132
Israel
Fax: +972-3-561-06-14
e-mail: editor@maariv.co.il

Yedioth Aharonoth:
2 Moses st.
Tel-Aviv
Israel
Fax: +972-3-608-25-46 Ha'aretz (Hebrew):
21 Schocken st.
Tel-Aviv, 61001
Israel
Fax: +972-3-681-00-12

Ha'aretz (English edition):
21 Schocken st.
Tel-Aviv, 61001
Israel
Fax: +972-3-512-11-56
e-mail: letters@haaretz.co.il

Jerusalem Post:
P.O. Box 81
Jerusalem 91000
Israel
Fax: +972-2-538-95-27
e-mail: news@jpost.co.il or letters@jpost.co.il
Radio (fax numbers):
Kol-Israel +972-2-531-33-15

and +972-3-694-47-09
Galei Zahal +972-3-512-67-20
Television (fax numbers):
Channel 1 +972-2-530-15-36
Channel 2 +972-2-533-98-09

We will continue updating on further developments in the reported cases. Please refer to our previous updates for further details.

Thank you for your attention and action,
Sergeiy Sandler – New Profile.

************************

Note: Yesh Gvul is part of the coalition behind this demo:

Stop punishing the Palestinian people!

Saturday, 3.6.06
19:00 Protest march from Rabin Square along Ibn Gabirol Street

20:00 demonstration in front of the Tel Aviv Museum

· Stop the sanctions and the siege!
· Begin negotiations without conditions with elected Palestinian leaders!
· 39 years of occupation -stop the occupation!

Speakers: Sholamit Aloni, Salman Natur, Yehuda Shenhav, Terri Bulatta,Samiya Bamiya.

Artists: Tamer Nafer, Zeev Tene, Artists without Walls,Tal Haran, Raging Grannies.

Demonstration in Ramallah will be held at the same time calling to stop the sanctions against the PA government, for a just peace and a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders. It is organized by a coalition of Parties and civil society organizations.

Please bring black flags to mark 39 years of occupation

The demo is organized by a large coalition of Peace movements and Political parties and we intend to have a massive demo:

coalition of women for peace * gush shalom * machsomwatch * taayush

bat shalom * aic * icahd * hadash * balad * banki * yesh gvul

the campus is not silent * coalition of students – ta university * artists without walls

raging grannies * our colors-the glbt youth movement of meretz

June 3, 2006
Dear Friend

This month Yesh Gvul is publishing a new book, Occupation And Refusal, a collection of articles, photos and drawings by Israeli and International writers and artists (among them - Susan Sontag and Slavoj Žižek). The book will be published first in Hebrew, but we hope to translate it to other languages in the future.

More details (in Hebrew) about the book follow below, in text and in the attachment. Those who wish to buy the Hebrew edition, but cannot read Hebrew, may contact us for details.

Thank You
Yesh Gvul

June 9, 2006
stop killing civilians!

The Israeli government is drowning us all in a sea of blood and violence

Demonstration in front Dan Halutz's House, Saturday 10.6.06 18:30

If you can't attend the demo, It is recommended to send letters of protest preferably by fax, to:
Mr. Amir Peretz,
Minister of Defence,
Ministry of Defence,
37 Kaplan St.,
Tel-Aviv 61909,
Israel.
E-mail: sar@mod.gov.il or pniot@mod.gov.il
Fax: ++972-3-6976711

The Israeli army continues its brutal attacks against innocent civilians including children, women and old people. Only today at least 12 people were killed while sitting on the beach and dozens were injured.

Together with Olmert and Halutz, Amir Peretz, "a man of peace" and the "leader of the working class", is leading a ruthless attack on Palestinian civilians and is committing war crimes no less than the former minister of defense, Shaul Mufaz.

The Israeli government is doing everything possible in order to avoid negotiations with Palestinian representatives. Now in the face of a possible Palestinian unity around the the "prisoners document" that might influence the Israeli unilateral plans, the Israeli government is determined to provoke Hamas and drag it back to the circle of violence.

On Saturday 10.6.06 at 18:30 we will demonstrate in front Dan Haloz House in Tel Aviv, Zahala Neighborhood, Barokh Agadati St. 19 B, and call to stop immediately the attacks on Gaza, to end the occupation and to start negotiations.

Taayush, Courage to refuse, Coalition of Women for Peace, Gush shalom, Yesh Gvul, Breaking the silence, Anarchists against the Wall

June 26, 2006

Alleged War Criminals

Doron Almog
Binyamin Ben Eliezer
Avi Dichter
Dan Halutz
Moshe Yaalon
Aviv Kochavi
Harel Knafo
Shaul Mufaz
Ehud Olmert
.
.
.
.
.
Amir Peretz?

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" - Mahatma Gandhi

On saturday night, 1/7/06, at 20:00, we will meet in Jerusalem at Paris square, for a protest vigil in front of the Prime Minister's residence.

Stop the war crimes!

We call on the Israeli and Palestinian governments to stop using military force against civilian population.

We call on the Israeli governemnt to accept the democratic vote of the Palestinian people, and start negotiating with its elected representatives, knowing that violence begets only more violence, and that there is no solution to Qassam rockets, other than the political solution.

June 29, 2006

More War Crimes Coming Up?

"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" - Mahatma Gandhi

Stop the war crimes!

We call on the Israeli and Palestinian governments to stop using military force against civilian population.

We call on the Israeli government to accept the democratic vote of the Palestinian people, and start negotiating with its elected representatives, knowing that violence begets more violence, and that reoccupying the Gaza strip will not help to release prisoners of war.

On saturday night, 1/7/06, at 20:00, we will meet in Jerusalem at Paris square, for a protest vigil in front of the Prime Minister's residence.


July 2, 2006

Dear Friend

1. Since we are busy with numerous tasks, we would like to ask for help in translating to English the war crime booklet which Yesh Gvul is currently distributing all over Israel, primarily to soldiers. One of the reasons is our wish to let our non Hebrew speaking supporters know more about what is going on. Any help with this, including partial translation, would be most welcome. The booklet, in Hebrew, can be read here:

http://www.yeshgvul.org.il/docs/yesh.pdf

Please contact us if you can help.

2. Our vigil last night in Jerusalem was attended by more than 500 people (the exact figure is somewhere between 500 and 1000), and got Israeli media coverage, for example:

http://www.ynetnews.com/Ext/Comp/ArticleLayout/CdaArticlePrintPreview/1,2506,L-3269764,00.html
(including photos)

Updates about anti occupation activities in Israel can be read on http://www.kibush.co.il

Participation

If you live outside Israel, you can help us in various ways: financial support, adopting an imprisoned refusenik (contact us for details) , and lobbying against the occupation and your government's policies on the issue..

We would like to thank all our supporters who help us and contribute to our activities.

Contributions can be sent to our address, or via the Refuser Solidarity Network or transferred directly to our bank account.

*Address: Yesh Gvul, PO Box 6953, Jerusalem 91068, ISRAEL
Telephone: + 972 2 6250271

*In the United States you can make a tax deductible donation by sending a check to:

Refuser Solidarity Network
P.O. Box 53474
Washington DC
20009-9474
(202) 232-1100

Please write "Yesh Gvul" on the memo line!

Or you can do the same with a secure credit card donation, through Refuser Solidarity Network. Select "Yesh Gvul Projects" in the box titled "Projects you would like to support"

*Address for bank transfers (This option is less useful for small sums) : Bank Account: Yesh Gvul, Acct no. 366614. Bank Hapoalim, King George St. Branch (690), Jerusalem, Israel, Transfer Code (important) : TOALILITJLM


In order to receive updates from us (not everyday, just once in a while!), send a blank e-mail to:

yeshgvul-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Yesh Gvul
www.yeshgvul.org.il

972-2-6250271
PO Box 6953, Jerusalem 91068, ISRAEL

Thanks For Your Support!
The Yesh Gvul Team
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2 comments:

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