"The government is drowning us all - we must strive for peace!"

by Gush Shalom

Weekend demonstrations will call for an international investigation, for letting the "Rachel Corrie" through to Gaza and a general lifting of the siege – as well as calling for a complete end to the 43 years' old occupation.

For several weeks the peace movement in Israel has been organizing to mark June 5, the 43rd anniversary of the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. Demonstrations and rallies were planned - some in cooperation with Palestinian groups – calling for an end to the occupation.

Following the lethal takeover of the Gaza relief flotilla, the focus changed. As now planned, a central role will be given to the call for an international investigation of the killings on the sea - as the organizers place no confidence in the ability of Israel's military authorities to look into their own deeds and possible misdeeds. The demonstrators will also call upon the government to allow the Irish aid ship "Rachel Corrie", now en route on the Mediterranean, to reach the port of Gaza, and in general to lift the siege of Gaza. As long as the Gaza Strip is under siege, it still remains under a de-facto Israeli occupation, and the naval commando attack on the Turkish aid ship in effect expanded the occupation from Gaza deep into sea.

The Gush Shalom movement cooperates with the rest of the Israeli peace camp in organizing and mobilizing supporters for these demonstrations.

Contact: Adam Keller, Gush Shalom Spokesperson 03-5565804 or 045-2340749 

1) On Friday, June 4, at 11:00 am, a convoy of Israeli activists will depart from Makabim Junction and move along Highway 443 which bisects the West Bank. South of the highway, they will join with Palestinians for a march and a rally at the village of New Beit Nuba (adjacent to Beit Lycia) at 12:30. Expected speakers include former MK Uri Avnery of Gush Shalom, MK Haneen Zoubi who participated in the Gaza flotilla rally, Mustafa Barghouti, Maher Re'naem, Minister for the Fence in the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian Legislature Members Kaes Abdul Karim (Abu Leyla) and Mahmoud Al - 'Alul. In addition to the general issues of the occupation and the siege on Gaza, the action will take up the issue of Highway 443, from which Palestinian traffic is in practice still excluded despite the Supreme Court;s ruling, as well as of the villages of Yalu, Emaus and Beit Nuba in the Latrun enclave, which were destroyed by Israel immediately after the conquest in 1967. Many of their displaced inhabitants will participate in the demonstration

Contact: Jonathan 054-6327736; Yusef (Arabic, English) 059-8464054, 054-5571328, Eilat Maoz (Hebrew, English) 050-8575729

2) March and rally in Tel Aviv, Saturday June 5. The march will leave at 19:00 from the Rabin Square (corner of Frishman) and culminate with a rally at the Museum Plaza on 20:00. This is intended as a mass demonstration protesting the Netanyahu-Barak-Lieberman Government's dangerous escalation of regional violence, as well as marking 43 years of occupation. The main slogan would be "The Government is drowning all of us – we must strive for peace." The rally's manifesto read: "It's time to return to sanity and save our society from ruin. Without a solution of two states for two peoples and two capitals in Jerusalem, the whole region's future is in doubt." The organizations co-sponsoring the demonstration include Gush Shalom,

the Hadash Communists, Combatants for Peace, Meretz, Physicians for Human Rights, Peace Now and Banki.

Contact: Yoni 054-7276587

3) A special demonstration of the Women in Black at Paris Square in central Jerusalem, Friday June 4 at 13:00. The Women in Black movement is holding a regular weekly vigil at this square, since the time of the first Intifada, call for an end to the occupation. On the occupation anniversary, the movement invites other peace groups throughout the country - women and men, Jews and Arabs - to join in.

Contact: Gila Svirsky 02-6725293 / 0523-334986

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