Back to Gaza
International release Sep 25, 2005
It is hardly surprising that so shortly after the withdrawal from Gaza we once again find ourselves deep in a cycle of bloodshed, of tit-for-tat bombings and missile launches. After all, nobody claimed that the Disengagement from Gaza was an act of peace, the least its author Ariel Sharon. It was not carried out in any spirit of reconciliation, but rather of distrust and bald threats, coupled with intensive activity aimed at deepening Israeli occupation on the West Bank.
And so, two weeks later Sharon is conspicuously placing artillery batteries on the border of the recently evacuated Gaza Strip and making explicit threats of shelling civilian populations in retaliation for the shooting of Qassam missiles. Not by chance, all this takes place on the very eve of Sharon's decisive showdown with his arch-rival Netanyahu.
Labour Party ministers seem to give their most enthusiastic support to Sharon's escalation efforts, which Minister Haim Ramon says "would cause the Palestinian civilian population to turn against Hamas."
(Forgotten, the lesson from March 1996 when then Labour PM Shimon Peres sought to bomb the Lebanese civilian population into rebellion against Hizbollah. But when more than a hundred Lebanese villagers got killed by Israeli artillery the outrage only contributed to Peres' own electoral defeat...)
The sudden escalation has given an additional significance to the peace rally, scheduled long in advance, which was held last night outside the Prime Minister's residence in Jerusalem - in close conjunction with a simultaneous Palestinian rally held at the Presidential Compound in Ramallah. By their very presence on the street on such a night, these estimated 7000 demonstrators expressed their defiance of the superheated nationalism and jingoism which seems to be gripping Israel in the past 48 hours.
The Y-net (Yediot Aharonot) news item on the Jerusalem rally included a quotation of Gush Shalom spokesperson Adam Keller, who was present among the crowd. Since this part was not included in the English version our translation follows.
The missing quote:
Among the demonstrators was also Adam Keller, spokesperson of Gush Shalom: "It is important that speakers here talk also about what happens in the Palestinian territories and not only about our suffering, and that there are also Arab speakers because sometimes organizers of such rallies pretend that there are only Jews in Israel. This represents not the full strength of the peace camp. I think that in the Rabin Memorial rally in Tel-Aviv there will be many tens of thousands. The events of the last twenty four hours give this demonstration a special meaning. What happens now in the Gaza Strip doesn't prove that withdrawing from there was mistaken, but that doing it unilaterally was wrong