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Links to Israeli Peace GroupsFrom Alain Epp Weaver, MCC's peace development worker-when he isn't living under curfew in Bethlehem.
This fall saw the release of a remarkable collection of essays, edited by Roane Carey and Jonathan Shainin, entitled The Other Israel (New York: The New Press, 2002). The volume brings together essays by over 20 Israeli journalists, academics and peace activists who collectively make up a portrait of an "Other Israel," one which believes that peace and Israeli security will be built upon foundations of justice instead of imposed by tanks, bulldozers and machine guns. Some of Mennonite Central Committee's partners, such as the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement between Peoples, the Wi'am Center for Conflict Resolution, and the Badil Resource Center for Refugee and Residency Rights, work on specific projects (olive harvesting, conflict resolution workshops, a Hebrew-language packet on the rights of Palestinian refugees) with some of these "Other Israelis." Part of the job description of MCC's peace development worker-when he isn't living under curfew in Bethlehem-is to cultivate contacts with this "Other Israel."
Below you will find links to the websites of some of the Israeli peace groups who make up the "Other Israel," along with short descriptions of the groups, most of which are taken from their websites. Together, these organizations provide a timely reminder that there are not simply "two sides," Israelis and Palestinians, but that there are Israelis who join with Palestinians in working for a future of reconciliation and peace built on a foundation of justice.
Rabbis for Human Rights: http://www.rhr.israel.net
"RHR was founded in 1998, in response to serious abuses by the Israeli military authorities in the suppression of the intifada. The indifference of much of the country religious leadership and religiously identified citizenry to the suffering of innocent people seen as the enemy was a cause of concern to RHR's organizers."
Gush Shalom: http://www.gush-shalom.org/english
Gush Shalom calls for Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories and for Jerusalem to be the shared capital of the State of Israel and a future Palestinian state.
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions: http://www.icahd.org
"ICAHD is a non-violent, direct-action group originally established to oppose and resist Israeli demolition of Palestinian houses in the Occupied Territories. As our activists gained direct knowledge of the brutalities of the Occupation, we expanded our resistance activities to other areas - land expropriation, settlement expansion, by-pass road construction, policies of "closure" and "separation," the wholesale uprooting of fruit and olive trees and more. The fierce repression of Palestinian efforts to "shake off" the Occupation following the latest Intifada has only added urgency to our efforts. As a direct-action group, ICAHD is comprised of members of many Israeli peace and human rights organizations. All of our work in the Occupied Territories is closely co-ordinated with local Palestinian organizations."
Yesh Gvul: http://www.yesh-gvul.org/english.html
Yesh Gvul (Hebrew for "There is a Limit!") "is an Israeli peace group that has shouldered the task of supporting soldiers who refuse assignments of a repressive or aggressive nature. The brutal role of the Israel Defense Force (IDF) in subjugating the Palestinian population places numerous servicemen in a grave moral and political dilemma, as they are required to enforce policies they deem illegal and immoral. The army demands compliance, but many soldiers, whether conscripts or reservists, find that they cannot in good conscience obey the orders of their superiors."
New Profile: http://www.newprofile.org/english
We, Israeli women - Jewish and Palestinian - oppose the occupation of the Palestinian people and refuse to take part in any of its destructive aspects. We refuse to live as enemies We refuse to fulfil the roles that women are expected to fulfil during wartime We refuse to pay the economic and social price of the occupation We refuse to be ignorant and to succumb to terrorizing and silencing We refuse to raise children to war, poverty and opression We refuse to remain silent A collective refusal of women can change reality. A feminine refusal means an alternative voice and a language opposed to the language of power.
Ta'ayush means "coexistence" in Arabic. The Jewish-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli members of Ta'ayush live out coexistence as they join to help Palestinian farmers harassed by Israeli settlers harvest their olives or make solidarity and relief visits to Palestinian Bedouin in the Hebron hills threatened with eviction by Israeli settlers and the military.
Bat Shalom: http://www.batshalom.org
"Bat Shalom is a feminist peace organization of Israeli women. We work toward a just peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors that includes recognition of a Palestinian state side-by-side with Israel and Jerusalem as the capital of both. Within Israel, Bat Shalom works toward a more just and democratic society shaped equally by men and women."
The Alternative Information Center: http://www.alternativenews.org
"The AIC is a Palestinian-Israeli organization which disseminates
information, research and political analysis on Palestinian and
societies as well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while promoting
cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis based on the values of
social justice, solidarity and community involvement."