II. Seeking Peace Bulletin
On Monday, April 15th, the American Jewish community will be gathering in Washington, DC for a national solidarity rally in support of Israel. The rally will be held at 1 PM on Capitol Hill. Amtrak is sponsoring a train from NY to Washington for $100 a person -- for further information about the train, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Reform rabbis from the New York region interested in attending by charter bus, please contact Amy Hersh at the UAHC at email@example.com. Further information and details will be posted shortly to www.israelrally.org.
"What can you do to help the people of Israel?" That is the question on everyone’s lips as we watch the unfolding of events in the land of Israel. The continuing violence touches all of us, and we feel an urgent need to find ways to respond, to reach out to our Israeli family to help in this time of need.
The UAHC has established an Israel relief fund for those in Israel most affected by the violence. Money raised by this fund will be used for the following three purposes: 1) relief for the victims and their families; 2) emergency medical equipment and supplies; and 3) support for children and the elderly by way of counseling, food and other social services. For more information, please log on to www.uahc.org/israelrelief.
By the end of March, 16 IDF reserve soldiers were serving up to a month in jail for refusing to do service in the territories. These soldiers argue that their presence in the territories does not provide greater security to Israel. There are currently 409 reservists who have signed the petition refusing to serve in the territories. To hear some of these soldiers’ personal testimonies who have patrolled the West Bank and Gaza, click on www.seruv.org.il. (Ha’aretz, 04/01/02)
In a New York Times article on April 10, Israeli reserve soldiers serving in the West Bank were interviewed about their thoughts on the military operation. Most of them were supportive and eager to continue with their operations in the refugee camps and town. One of them, Ofir Halberstat, was quoted as saying, "I’d rather see soldiers killed in battle than people blown up in coffee shops. Another soldier, Amri Katz, stated: "I still think it is very important to be here because I agree there is a need for this military operation." (The New York Times, 04/10/02)
Israelis Still Favor Creation of a Palestinian State, Split on Unilateral Withdrawal
In a poll taken last Friday, 73% of Israelis said that, if terrorism stops, Israel should enter into negotiations for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the framework of a final peace agreement. 25% said Israel should not, and 2% had no answer. When asked about unilateral withdrawal, 46% were in favor, 50% were against and 4% had no answer. The poll was conducted by the Dahaf Institute, and had a margin of error of 4.5%. (Yedioth Achronoth, 4/5/02)
And Movement for Unilateral Separation Holds Opening Meeting
700 people attending the founding meeting for the "Movement for Unilateral Separation." This movement calls for the establishment of a fence separating the Israelis from the Palestinians along the Green Line. Speakers included Israeli writer A.B Yehoshua and Haifa Mayor Amram Mitzna. Mayor Mitzna was quoted as saying, "I do not believe that there will be peace here unless we withdraw from most of the territories in Judea and Samaria and all of Gaza." (Yedioth Achronoth, 4/8/02)
While the Peace Coalition Continues to Demonstrate
Last Saturday night, the Peace Coalition in Israel held a demonstration outside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv. There were estimates that between 10-20,000 people participated. The Peace Coalition has been calling upon the government of Israel to withdraw from the territories. Another demonstration is being planned for May 11 in Rabin Square. (Yediot Achronoth, 4/08/02)
IDF Intelligence States that March Military Operations Made Terror Worse
In mid-March, an IDF intelligence report stated that the recent incursions taken by the IDF into the occupied territories made the situation worse and prevented the Palestinian Authority from taking action against terror. The report states that the operations created a tremendous desire for revenge on the Palestinian side. According to the report, the Air Force bombings and assassinations had a negative effect on the ground, creating motivation for revenge.
These operations included mainly the conquest of West Bank cities and pinpoint IDF operations in the refugee camps. The report authors noted. The reports also say that the IDF actions seriously damaged the ability of the Palestinian security organizations. The authors of the report noted that bombing buildings and cars seriously damaged the Palestinian security organization’s vehicles and that the IDF actions impelled some senior Palestinian security officials to cooperate with the terrorist organizations. (Yedioth Achronoth, 3/20/02)
Jordanian and Israeli Security Officials Cooperate in Nabbing Terrorists
In late March, Israel and the Jordanian security services cooperated in the capture of four terrorists near Kibbutz Tel Katzir, near the Jordanian border. A high-ranking Israeli security officials praised the cooperation, saying "Throughout the course of the entire event, we enjoyed full cooperation from the Jordanians and we intend to make them privy to our operational investigation," he said. (Ma’ariv, 03/25/02)