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[1] A special case of land grab arrogance - your action requested
[2] Another Sharon scandal obliviating the real one - Avnery.
[3] Refusnik news
   # List of jailed refusniks
   # Clampdown on female refusniks
   # Ben Artzi interview
[4] Towards Vanunu's release
[5] Words have failed us - Amira Hass
[6] Fighting the fence - Gideon Levy

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N.B. With all the presently circulating viruses we will for the time being
NOT be sending messages with attachment. So it is simple: IF you happen
to get a message WITH attachment seemingly coming from Gush Shalom -
DON'Topen it - delete it. N.B: this is not the case for the special list
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[1] A special case of land grab arrogance - your action requested

Hebrew at request
עברית על פי בקשä

            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Yet another case: settlers taking over Palestinian land south of Hebron
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We received information of the latest in a long series of land grabs by
settlers, and we checked it with  Abdel Hadi Hantash of the Palestinian
Land Defence Committee (+972-59-838180, hantasha@hotmail.com).   
On February 29,  settlers of Karmel, Hebron District in the south of the West
Bank, invaded the land of the Palestinian Hadalin Family, inhabitants of
Yatta town, and started constructing a concrete base on which to place
mobile homes - all the while threatening the land-owner and his family
with weapons supplied by the Israeli army - supposedly for their "self defense."

The land which provides livelihood for an extended family of some fifty
people is under the registered ownership of Mr.Salah Hadalin; in this case
not even a  confiscation order was presented. We would like you to take
part in writing protest letters using the following sample letter or
composing your own text. NB: per email AND fax (if possible):

To:
Prime Minster Ariel Sharon - email  <pm_eng@pmo.gov.il; fax +972 2
6705475
Defence Minster Saul Mofaz - email <sar@mod.gov.il; fax +972-3-6916940
Foreign Minster Silvan Shalom - email <sar@mofa.gov.il; fax +972-3-
6916940
Military Government's Civil Adaministration - fax: +972-2-9977326, ph:
+972-2-9977341


copies to:

Spokesperson of the Prime Minister <dover@pmo.gov.il
Spokesperson Defense Ministry <info@mail.idf.il
Spokesperson Foreign Ministry <dover@mfa.gov.il
UN Special Coordinator <unsco@palnet.com
State Departement <secretary@state.gov
European Union <mailto@delwbg.cec.eu.int
Palestinian Land Defence Committee <hantasha@hotmail.com
Gush Shalom <info@gush-shalom.org

[for your concenience, here follow the combined email addresses:
pm_eng@pmo.gov.il, sar@mod.gov.il, sar@mofa.gov.il,
dover@pmo.gov.ilinfo@mail.idf.il, dover@mfa.gov.il,
unsco@palnet.com, secretary@state.govmailto@delwbg.cec.eu.int,
hantasha@hotmail.com, info@gush-shalom.org ]

[sample letter]

To the Israeli government

Nearly a year ago, the government of Israel has declared its adeherence to
"The Roadmap for Peace", of which a central item is the obligation upon
Israel to dismantle all settlement extensions created after March 2001,
and certainly to prevent the creation of new ones. In practice, however, the
expansion of settlements and encroachment upon Palestinian land is
continuing unabated.
The latest example are the settlers of Karmel, in the Hebron District on
the south of the West Bank, who on February 29 invaded the land of the
Palestinian Hadalin Family, inhabitants of Yatta town, and started
constructing a concrete base on which to place mobile homes - all the
while threatening the land-owner and his family with weapons which were
supplied to them by the Israeli army. It should be noted that the land is
under the registered ownership of Mr.Salah Hadalin, that no confiscation
order of any kind was presented, and that the land in question provides a
significant part of the (meagre) livelihood of an extended family
numbering some fifty adults and children. This illegal settler incursion and
intensive construction activity has been going on for nearly a week now, without
the Israeli military government taking any step to stop it and restore the
land to its legal owners.
The prevalence of such land grabbing cases by settlers in invarious parts
of the Occupied Territories, not only unhindered by the government of
Israel but often getting financial and logistical support from government
sources as well as military protection for the settlers involved, make me
strongly doubt the same government's declarations on its willingness to
make peace.

[your name and address]

***

[2] Another Sharon scandal obliviating the real one (Avnery).

Uri Avnery
5.3.04

עברית בקרוב באתר // Hebrew on the site soon
www.gush-shalom.org

"O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum."

     "O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum,
     How faithful are your leaves!
     You're green not only in summertime,
     But also in winter when it snows,
     O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum."
     (Old German Christmas song. "Tannenbaum" is the fir tree.)

       This is a well-established Israeli ritual: One takes a trivial
matter, declares it to be the center of national life, decorates it and dances
around it, all in order to escape from the real national problems that are so
exasperating and frightening.
     This time it really is a fir tree. A gentleman called Elhanan Tannenbaum.
He was a prisoner of Hizbullah. In order to bring him back home, together
with the bodies of three soldiers, Ariel Sharon released several hundred
"terrorists". Since then, the whole country has been in uproar, day after
day, week after week.
     Why did Sharon make the deal? This week the terrible secret has come
out: this fir tree is the former son-in-law of somebody who had some
business with Sharon 30 years ago, when an American Jewish billionaire
helped a poor army officer by the name of Ariel Sharon to acquire the
biggest private farm in the country.
     Did Sharon release hundreds of "terrorists" to help a former son-in-law
of a former business associate? Is this a giant scandal? A most terrible
case of corruption?
     Even if it were so, I can answer only with two Hebrew words, which
translate literally as "the delight of my grandmother". Or, in American:
"big deal!"
     As usual, the media do not pose the right questions, because the
right questions might annoy some important people. For example: the security
chiefs.
     This Tannenbaum is a colonel in the reserves. In this capacity he was
party to one of the most secret military projects in Israel. According to
leaked hints, this project is no less secret than our nuclear activities
(see Mordecai Vanunu, below.)
     Now it transpires that Tannenbaum was, in civilian life, a
professional crook, compulsive gambler, with an irregular family life, steeped in debt
and closely connected with Lebanese drug dealers. How did such a
person become a party to the most top secret project?
     Well. Nobody knew what he was doing. Nobody inquired. He did not
mention it to the chief of internal security of the defense establishment,
a certain Yehiel Horev. And if nobody tells Horev, how is he to know?
     When Tannenbaum went to Dubai, and then found himself in Hizbullah-
land in Lebanon, the security establishment was shaken to its very
foundations. A person who carries with him such awesome secrets is in
the hands of our enemies? What has he told them, and what is he going to
tell?
     Because of this, the security establishment was ready to pay any
price to get him back as quickly as possible: 50 "terrorists"? 500 "terrorists"?
5000 "terrorists"? Doesn't matter. The main thing is that he be returned
at once.
     That is understandable. If Tannenbaum had told what he knows, he
would have caused "irreparable damage" (as official sources emphasized)
to national security. In such cases, it is essential to find out if he did spill
the beans or not. Therefore he was bought back for a high price, and since
then he is being investigated, investigated and investigated.
     The former son-in-law of the former friend does not come into it. The
connection is intriguing, but not important.
     A more significant question is: How did a person like Tannenbaum
become a colonel? How inefficient must a security apparatus be for such a
fiasco to become possible? And how come that Horev, one of the best-
paid civil servants in Israel, was not kicked out?
     Furthermore: if hundreds of "terrorists" can be released for one living
crook and three dead bodies, perhaps their imprisonment was not really
necessary for the security of the state? Perhaps the continued stay in
prison of 7000 more of them is pointless? And if so, why were they not
released in the cause of peace, to strengthen the position of Arafat in 1993
or Abu-Mazen not so long ago?
     Horev and Co. are angry with Tannenbaum because he has revealed
their incompetence. They are also angry with Mordecai Vanunu, for the
same reason.
     Vanunu was a minor technician at the Dimona nuclear reactor, a site so
secret that for a long time it was forbidden to mention its very existence.
When it became impossible to deny its existence any longer, the
government pretended that it was a "textile factory".
     At this site, the most highly guarded in Israel, Vanunu freely took
pictures. Then he went abroad, became a Buddhist, converted to
Christianity (or the other way round) and passed his information and
photos to a British paper. On the basis of this information, scientists
decided that Israel has 200 nuclear bombs.
      The disclosure was credible but unofficial. Thus it strengthened
Israel's deterrence, without the government being obliged to confirm it.
This was so convenient for the government that, at the beginning, many
people believed that Vanunu was really a Mossad agent.
     But he was not. On the contrary, he represented a catastrophic failure
of the security structure that was - and still is - headed by the above
mentioned Horev. The reaction was drastic: Vanunu was kidnapped in
Rome and brought to Israel in a box - just as Tannenbaum was kidnapped
in Dubai and brought (apparently) in a box to Beirut. Vanunu succeeded in
conveying this to the media by writing it on the palm of his hand and
waving on the way to court.
     This infuriated Horev and Co. even more. For many years they kept
Vanunu in prison in total isolation. Now that he has completed his whole
sentence, they do not want to release him. And if the court does no allow
them to keep him in prison, they want to prevent him from going abroad or
speaking to journalists.
     Why? The argument is that even now, 20 years later, he may be in
possession of information that could endanger the state.
     By the way, a similar argument is used by the American security
agencies for refusing to release Jonathan Pollard, who spied for Israel
and received a life sentence. They believe that Pollard knows the identity of
an Israeli mole in the highest circles of the American administration, who
told Pollard which documents to steal and transfer to Israel.
     Tannenbaum, Vanunu, Pollard - all these are intriguing stories,
useful for increasing the circulation and ratings of the media. And, more
importantly, they distract attention from the real dangers that threaten
us: the building of the monstrous wall in the occupied territories, Sharon's
plan to annex more than half of the West Bank, the ongoing effort to
destroy the Palestinian Authority, the daily bloody cycle of  targeted
killings - suicide bombings - assassinations, murder and revenge, and the
destruction of all chances for peace.
      Who wants to think about that? Who wants to deal with it? It is much
more pleasant to sing and dance around the fir tree: "O Tannenbaum, O
Tannenbaum."