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ISM Reports: Context Is Everything

ISM Media Office. Undod Palesteina. ISM Aberystwyth. Aberystwyth Peace Network | 26.08.2003 02:46 | Anti-militarism | World

The Latest ISM Reports

After the August 19 bus bombing in Jerusalem, the ISM received a number of emails asking if the ISM was going to make a statement and we received some of the usual, "why isn't the ISM riding Israeli busses?" comments.  One email suggested that if we don't speak out against this bombing, we are "party to it".  Again our response is that we are working to stop all violence in the region, not by issuing statements, but by working to end the root cause of the violence against Israelis and Palestinians - the ongoing, brutal Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and lives.  Sadly, no Palestinian nor ISMer is surprised that the "road map" isn't doing so well, and that unabated Israeli violence was met with Palestinian violence.  We were warning about this daily and called on the international media to pay attention to what was happening on the ground while the leaders talked about a "peace process."
In the few short weeks after the hudna was announced on June 29, 2003, up until August 9, 10 days before the bus bombing in Jerusalem, the Israeli military killed 10 Palestinians, 5 of them children, wounded 348 Palestinians, 65 of them children, arrested 435 Palestinians, damaged or completely demolished/destroyed 211 Palestinian homes, and uprooted or destroyed over 10,050 Palestinian fruit and olive trees.  This is not to mention the vehicles and businesses damaged and/or destroyed, the thousands of dunams of Palestinian land confiscated or isolated from its owners, the number of new settlement structures that were built, the bypass roads created, the Israeli military outposts erected, the continued work on the apartheid wall, the continued denial of access to Palestinians to their land, and the ongoing daily abuse at checkpoints....
We are not going to issue statements. We stand against the killing of all civilians and are saddened for the families of the victims of that bus bombing.  At the same time we're frustrated with the politics of governments and the complacency that is allowing this to continue.  Without a check on the Israeli government and military, this will continue.  There can be no hudna or "road map" without restraints put on the Israeli military and government.
We are going to keep telling you what's happening on the ground in Palestine and urge you to take action.  We are going to continue to organize to resist the Israeli occupation nonviolently, and urge you not to ignore us.
1) Context is everything _ Steve Q.
2) Olive Harvest 2003
Context is everything
Sunday, August 24, 2003
Tel Aviv
I came to Tel Aviv from Jayyous on Thursday evening
intending to stay for one night, but I awoke on Friday
morning with one of my all-too-familiar sinus
infections.  I saw a doctor, got some antibiotics, and
extended my stay at the Tel Aviv hotel until my
departure in the wee hours of Monday morning.  It's
Sunday afternoon now and I'm fever-free, although
still a little nervous about flying with congestion.
My hotel is right on the beach, and it's lovely here.
Lots of people out and about, bar-restaurant-cafes
right out on the sand, streets bustling until late
into the night.  Jayyous is 10km from here, and my
friends there haven't seen the sea for 4 years.  You'd
never know here that there's so much suffering so
close, being inflicted by the Israeli army.
On Wednesday night two Palestinian-American friends
were staying at the same hotel.  They were not
permitted to bring their Palestinian Israeli friends
to the room--the armed security guard was quite
insistent.  I, in contrast, have had free run of the
place, welcome to come and go as I please, even when I
was their late-night guest before I registered at the
hotel myself.
I've been pretty starved for news all summer. I've
been living without radio or TV, in communities where
all the newspapers are in Arabic.  Poor email access
kept me away from Internet news sites.  Now that I'm
in Tel Aviv, lolling about in front of the TV and with
English-language newspapers, I see how the present
grisly turn of events is being framed.
Israeli media are forefronting the suffering inflicted
by the bombing in Jerusalem.  This is perfectly
reasonable.  It was a horrific attack, and its
ultra-Orthodox victims conjure up images of terrible
Jewish suffering in Europe in the 20th century and
before.  The sequence of events presented in the U.S.
and Israeli press seems to be (1) bombing in
Jerusalem, (2)assassination in Gaza (3) end of Hudna
[cease fire].  Journalists (or their editors) don't
seem interested in what happened prior to the
Jerusalem bombing, in what the Hudna was really like.
A look at the website of B'Tselem, the Israeli
Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied
Territories ( shows that between July
1 and August 13 of this year, 9 Palestinians (1 of
them a minor) were killed by Israeli security forces
in the Occupied Territories.  In addition, the
construction of the Apartheid Wall and destruction of
Palestinian property continued apace, as did the daily
violence and humiliation that is part and parcel of 36
years of military control of a civilian population of
During the same period, 4 Israeli civilians (none of
them minors) and one member of the Israeli security
forces were killed by Palestinians.
Then came the Israeli attack on Askar Refugee Camp in
Nablus, in which 4 Palestinians were killed by Israeli
security forces.  The Rosh Ha'Ayin and Ariel bombings
followed, with one Israeli death in each case,
followed by the Israeli assassination of an Islamic
Jihad student activist.  Then the bombing in
The attack on the bus of worshippers was not
justified.  It was sickening.  Its planners and its
perpetrator distort Islam beyond all recognition.  But
it was, without a doubt, provoked, and the Sharon
government knew it.  They knew it when they attacked
Askar, and they knew it when they went into Hebron.
Now the situation has spun out of control again,
Israelis will again see their buses, cafes, and
restaurants blowing up, and Palestinians will die (as
always, in much larger numbers) as the occupation army
storms through Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarm, and Gaza.  The
Israeli media today are proudly showing photos of
dozens of tanks assembled at Erez Checkpoint ready to
reinvade Gaza; I can only think of the 1.3 million
desperately poor Palestinians packed into ramshackle
housing in the tiny Gaza Strip, and what these killing
machines are going to do them.
So now Bush and Powell and Rice have stopped bugging
Sharon about the Apartheid Wall, and Mayor Bloomberg
is flying to Jerusalem tomorrow to stand with Israeli
victims of terror, even as the Israeli army creates
untold numbers of Palestinian victims of state terror
in the Gaza invasion.  So it seems like the Sharon
government got exactly what it wanted.
I'll he home tomorrow afternoon.  I'm looking forward
to doing lots of public speaking about the occupation,
as well as reconnecting with family and friends.
Olive Harvest 2003

Please make plans to join us in Palestine for this year's olive harvest.  The ISM Olive Harvest Campaign will begin on October 5 and extend until November 20, 2003.  Training will begin on October 3 and 4 and be held every Friday and Saturday throughout the duration of the campaign. 
More information and registration will be available on our website shortly.  For preparation and contact information, please see our website - or write to

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