The Guardian April 10, 2002


Arabs and Jews unite in call for peaceful coexistence

Yehudith Harel, a member of Gush Shalom (Israeli peace bloc) reports 
that around 3000 people, Jews and Arabs, men and women, from all over the 
country, representing the Anti War Coalition of all the Peace Movements and 
Organisations took part in a checkpoint march. They expressed their 
solidarity with the Palestinian people and protested against the crimes of 
the Israeli occupation.

The women who initiated the protest march were leading it shouting slogans 
against the occupation, to End the war, to End the onslaught against the 
Palestinian people.

"We were calling for Two Sates, for a peaceful solution and Coexistence 
between the two peoples based on Equality for all. While waiting for the 
trucks to arrive all of a sudden the border police or whoever those uniform 
wearing hooligans were  they started to shoot tear gas right into the 
middle of the crowd", said Ms Harel.

"The gas was very strong and they shot many many times. The smoke spread 
quickly in a heavy and concentrated form and people were choking. Me too. I 
couldn't breath at all. People started to run some fell into the mud.

"I found refuge in one of the neighbouring Palestinian homes. After a while 
we gathered again and kept on standing and waiting and shouting slogans. 
About the time the trucks arrived once again without any provocation that I 
could have witnessed and I was standing close to the checkpoint in the 
first row they started shooting again.

"This time the police came out and started chasing the fleeing crowd 
pushing people brutally, making some of them stumble an fall into the mud 
and hitting them with their sticks....

"Two Israeli faces surfaced on April 3. One is the decent and humane face 
of the Israeli Anti war movement  an alliance of Israeli citizens Jews 
and Arabs, adamant to struggle together for Justice for the two peoples.

"The second is the ugly and brutal face of the Occupation mentality and 
practices threatening to crush us as well", said Ms Harel.

"We are committed to continue our joint struggle, side by side with you in 
our spirit, despite the physical barriers and the different methods. We 
know that eventually we will gain an upper hand."

Around 500 people attended a protest outside the Defence Ministry in Tel 
Aviv, feeling sick with anger at the cynicism of those in power doing 
everything to further escalate the situation.

Their placards read: "Withdraw the tanks", "International Intervention 
Now!", "Get out of Ramallah now", "Stop the madness", "Tanks against 
civilians breed suicide bombers".

A group of 1000 Israeli citizens call on the Secretary General of the 
United Nations, Kofi Annan, to convene an urgent meeting of the Security 
Council. They demanded that the UN send an International Intervention force 
to stop the War declared by Israel.

UNRWA, the United Nation's Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees, 
has expressed deep concern at the worsening humanitarian situation in the 
West Bank following the Israeli military assaults on Ramallah, Bethlehem, 
Tulkarm and Qalqilya.

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