(TOI-Billboard) No barrier too high

Submitted by Editor on Mon, 30/08/2004 - 04:09

Action reports & must read articles

-- Chronicles of the week --
{} Monday: "I'm going to jail today"
Laura Milo's open letter, translated from Hebrew
{} Friday, in Abu-Dis
Major Israeli-Palestinian rally around Arun Gandhi visit
{} Sunday, at US Embassy in Tel-Aviv
No to settlements ! Bush, bad for Israel, bad for peace !

-- Reports and articles --
{} Of law and infrastructure -- by Jonathan Ariel
{} Between violence and non-violence -- by Amira Hass
{} Applying the Geneva Convention -- by Meron Benvenisti
{} Sharon betrays Israel's founders -- by Henry Siegman
{} The Geneva Accord is Sharon’s nightmare -- by Menachem Klein
{} The fence, the ugly darling -- by Gideon Samet
{} Settlement Growth:
Bad for America, Worse for Israel -- by M.J. Rosenberg
{} Nuclear Solutions Lost In Ambiguity -- by Mary La Rosa

The Other Israel
August 30, 2004
NO BARRIER TOO HIGH -- TOI-Billboard August 29, 2004


It is especially felt in a week where the world watches the Olympic games: between politics and sports there is a connection. Apart from the jubilation over the first Israeli gold ever, Israeli papers spent attention to the apparent popularity of Palestinian sporters and to the support they get from the public benches in Athens.

Also the non-Olympic Palestinian alpinism in Abu Dis (see below) made it to the Israeli screens.

Furthermore, the fact that words, ignored when we say them, are given abundant attention when they come from the mouth of the grandson of Gandhi - maybe the peace movement should draw some conclusions from all this.


-- Chronicles of the week --

{} "I'm going to jail today" -- refusnik update

--Laura Milo's open letter, translated from Hebrew
--Daniel Tsal released after 112 days

Laura Milo went to the military prison for another term. On the day that she entered Prison-4 (August 23) her open letter "I'm going to jail today" was published in Ha'aretz-Hebrew. Her Supreme Court appeal against the denial to her of CO status ended in failure. Read about it in http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/462003.html

(a few quotes from Laura's open letter)

I'm (joining the others who) refuse to shirk responsibility and become mere cogs in a system that destroys us as a society and as individuals.

All I ask is to continue my community service that I have done for two years,in Yeruham, in the old neighbourhoods of Ashkelon, in Kiryat Moshe in Rehovot, in Jesse Cohen, Holon, in the Katamons of Jerusalem, in Shlomi, Acre and other places that have need of me.

The IDF and the Supreme Court have managed to turn the fact that we are political people into a curse. I'm not a destructive virus, and I won't allow anyone to turn me into one.

Laura needs your support. Please send e-mails via her parents to: danielmilo@barak-online.net [also for full text of her letter]

More on her case:

About the five court-martialed COs who will soon finish their two years behind bars: http://www.refuz.org.il/

see also: www.refusersolidarity.net

N.B. CO Daniel Tsal released after 112 days

A relieved Daniel Tsal thanks all who made their support felt and thereby helped him tremendously during his 112 days in military jail. [Tsal was exempted on the grounds of "incompatibility for military service".]
{} Friday, in Abu-Dis
Major Israeli-Palestinian rally around Arun Gandhi visit

At the call of Gush Shalom and Ta'ayush 500 Israeli activists joined 2000 Palestinians in Abu Dis in a protest rally in honor of Arun Gandhi, the grandson of the great Mahatma.

"This wall reminds me of South Africa during the apartheid regime" said Gandhi, who was holding a one-day fast in solidarity with the prisoners. Other speakers: the Palestinian PM Ahmed Kurei, Hulud Badawi (Ta'ayush), Uri Avnery (Gush-Shalom), as well as religious and civic leaders

The rally reached its climax when a daring protester started climbing to the top of the 8-meters high concrete wall. He threw down a rope and immediately half a dozen Palestinian youth joined him on the top. The non-violent defiance of the 8-meter obstacle was a perfect illustration of the Gandhi method and got the event much publicity in the Israeli media.
(full report & photos from: info@gush-shalom.org)


{} Sunday, at US Embassy in Tel-Aviv
No to settlements ! Bush, bad for Israel, bad for peace !

Today Sunday 29.8 when hundreds of thousands will protest in New York against the Bush administration, we (Israelis Americans and those who are both) will demonstrate also against the damage it is causing to the prospects for peace.

Particularly by approving settlement expansion this week.

Sunday 29.8 6 PM

71 Hayarkon St in front of the American embassy

For more details call Rona 054-764-1230 or kobi 056-387-845


-- Reports and articles --

{} Of law and infrastructure -- by Jonathan Ariel

In this article which appeared in Maariv, Aug. 20, Ariel compares a considered treatment of the "illegal settler outposts" with the decades-long fate of the unrecognized Arab villages within the Green Line -- and maybe unintentionally throws some light on different aspects of a bizar reality.

{} Between violence and non-violence -- by Amira Hass

At the occasion of the Mahatma Gandhi's grandson visit to Palestinians who invited him to advance the idea of a non-violent popular struggle against the Israeli occupation, journalist/peace activist Hass drives home the point that we Israelis should also conduct a discussion of non-violence, as occupiers. (After the url follows an excerpt)

Even without tanks and helicopter fire, the Israeli presence in the West Bank and Gaza is violent and has been so since 1967, including the years 1994-2000, when most Israelis liked to believe that we had left the territories. Violent are the orders expropriating Palestinian land for "public purposes" that is only for Jews; violent is the way Israel distributes water - as much water as they want for the settlements near villages that aren't even connected to water lines; violent are the occupation lawyers who defined "state land" as land Palestinians are not allowed to develop (...) violent are the planners who drew boundaries around the Palestinian towns and surrounded them with settlements (...) violent is the Israeli prohibition that prevents native-born West Bankers and Gazans from returning to their homes if they happened to be out of the country in 1967; violent is the concept that Divine Promise is a license to impose a regime of discrimination based on ethnicity.

{} A Very One-Sided War -- by Uri Avnery

The IDF generals declare again and again that we are at war. The state of war permits them to commit acts like “targeted eliminations”, which, in any other situation, would be called murder. But in a war, one kills the enemy without court proceedings. And in general, the killing and wounding of people, demolition of homes, uprooting of plantations and all the other acts of the occupiers that have become daily occurrences are being justified by the state of war.

But this is a very special war, because it confers rights only on the fighters of one side. On the other side, there is no war, no fighters, and no rights of fighters, but only criminals, terrorists, murderers.

{} Applying the Geneva Convention -- by Meron Benvenisti

August 26

Good Lord! The attorney general has proposed to the cabinet an "in-depth examination" on the application of the [Geneva Conventions] to the territories. A major explosion threatens to bring down a giant, complex and twisted legal construct, which for more than 40 years was put together carefully and creatively, deceitfully, and through a Byzantine conspiracy of silence and intentional ambiguity, casuistry and winks all around.

Suddenly, the Israel government's top legal advisor admits that the Israel-haters may have been right - the legislative and legal system that determined, and determines, the lives and fates of millions, and which provided the legal underpinnings for the de-facto annexation of the territories and the establishment of the settlements and the fence, is illegal in terms of international law.

{} Sharon betrays Israel's founders -- by Henry Siegman

Many observers of the Middle East believe "something good is stirring," but Siegman (an American Jewish leader and senior fellow on the Middle East at the Council on Foreign Relations) sees it differently -- in IHT Aug. 20.


{} The Geneva Accord is Sharon’s nightmare -- by Menachem Klein

"On the eve of the Likud referendum on Sharon’s disengagement plan, he threatened that if it failed, Geneva was the alternative" - with these words Menachem Klein opens his comparison of Sharon’s Disengagement Plan and the Geneva Accord, of which he himself is one of the trailblazers.

{} The fence, the ugly darling -- by Gideon Samet

Samet buys an icecream in a desolated shopping center cut off from its buyers and reflects about the "classical Israeli solution: one that exacerbates the problem with an improvisation"

Ha'aretz Aug. 27

{} Settlement Growth:
Bad for America, Worse for Israel -- by M.J. Rosenberg

Rosenberg (email: mj847@aol.com) is the Director of Policy Analysis for Israel Policy Forum, and a long time Capitol Hill staffer & former editor of AIPAC's Near East Report

{} Nuclear Solutions Lost In Ambiguity -- by Mary La Rosa

While Mordechai Vanunu awaits further reprisals, perhaps further punishments for what he continues to declare proudly his act of good conscience, a dynamic new company in the same country that does not want him but also does not want to allow him to leave, has acquired a contract to clean up some of the nuclear mess for which Vanunu has sacrificed almost 20 years of his life. This nuclear clean up does not begin in the Negev, but will take place in Chernobyl and is projected to be only the beginning of an enormous projected profit as well as long awaited remedy for that which Vanunu has been trying to get our attention and that which his government has denied exists yet alone has ever acknowledged as a radioactive problem.

Similar to Mr Vanunu's ambiguous existence as "free" man, and similar to the Israeli government's position on its nuclear weapons count and policy about its count, Israel's nuclear waste follows in much the same ambiguity, or perhaps until this future Plasma-Gasification-Melting process can begin to work an ambiguous miracle at home as well contracts abroad.

Ambiguity is a word that serves political agendas better than it does justice to individual citizens, unless of course you live in a country where you are innocent until proven guilty. Ambiguity in Israel has not afforded Mordechai Vanunu any benefit, either in benefit of doubt for his good conscience or benefit of justice for his completion of eighteen and a half years' retribution, most of which was spent in solitary confinement with ongoing torture provided by an ambiguous prison authority.

Mordechai Vanunu's unique case as a whistleblower in a country that seems not capable of even self scrutiny or criticism, further challenges that government's policies of ambiguity about a variety of legal , moral and ethical issues . Other Israeli citizens also make such challenges and continue to suffer from ambiguity in how a government assumes or will not assume its responsibility in assurances and /or compensation for complete, in depth reportage on public safety and illnesses that have predominated among those who have worked or live(d) near nuclear reactor activities.

Israel's Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) has always denied any negligence or culpability with regards to radiation levels and the hazards of working with nuclear energy. And the AEC in Israel makes very good use of the state’s policy of ambiguity by avoiding any sort of inspections while continuing to deny any problems from the past have ever existed. The average citizen is left to wonder about exposure and the official denials, especially as they become ill due to sicknesses associated with radiation.

"The reactor said I did not work in radioactive elements but my medical records show I had uranium in my urine," said one former employee from Dimona.

In 1999, while Mordechai Vanunu was still languishing in his prison cell, a Jerusalem pro environmental lawyer named Reuven Laster questioned the authority of the state in its denial that any problem exists and began to represent groups of people who worked at the reactor in the early years, fifties, sixties and seventies.

This American born lawyer has a record for championing the environment as well as individuals who suffer from health hazards in their living environment. Mr Laster represents clients who press for accountability of official but ambiguous policies involved in the failure to monitor workers who were specifically active in chemical or radioactive accidents.

Obviously,trying to prove a link between the exposure and the illness has been extremely difficult for any kind of legal procedure and even after a struggle to obtain a full review of all the medical records from the reactor during certain periods of time, Mr Laster found various years 'suspiciously' deleted. Now partner in a larger law firm, this advocate continues to pursue justice for employees who worked at risk at Dimona where exposure to harm seems to have led to cancers and /or an early deaths. The number of clients he represents is growing but there are those who will never know just and fair compensation , because those in government who have been silent choose to remain silent, without the good conscience required to afford justice to those who have suffered illness and death by ambiguity and silence of government officials. Recent evidence of migratory birds seems to point to the suffering of wild life as well.

In the midst of this dismal guessing about exactly how harmful old nuclear reactors are, comes such bright news and such hope for the world at large that one simply must pause and consider why hasn't there been a celebration in all mainstream medias around the world? One can also only wonder why entire countries and governments do not sell off every other project in order to get some clean up sooner rather than too late. Add to the discovery a way of turning harmful waste products into an energy source other than oil and it seems too much of a good fantasy.

A process called PGM , Plasma-Gasification-Melting works the remedy by using plasma (ionized gas) in a reactor in order to melt down the radioactive materials. A fairly new (2002) Israeli company called Environmental Energy Resources, Ltd. ( EER ) has developed the PGM method for changing nuclear waste into a variety of useful byproducts such as electricity. The contract for the Chernobyl clean up is spread over 20-25 years with annual gross revenues estimated presently at $30-35 million. EER is under management of Itschak Shrem, one of Israel’s top financial wizards of venture capital and a partner in the premiere investment house, SFK (Shrem, Fudim and Kelner). Shrem has plans to raise money from international sources as well as homeland.

According to Isra Cast Technology News, "The PGM process was originally designed and developed over twenty years ago at the Russian Research Center,'Kurchatov Institute'. The development and adaptation of the PGM Technology involves active participation of Russian scientists who are among the original developers of this technology."

The process by which to change radioactive waste into something less harmful, however, could NOT have come as revelation to the Institute of Industrial Mathematics in Beersheva Israel, where previous to Environmental Energy Resources, IIM had worked out a deal to lease its technologies to an American nuclear physicist called Dr Paul M. Brown who had developed a process with similar end results called GHR in 2001. GHR tritium removal technology involves the irradiation of specific radioactive isotopes to force the emission of a neutron, thus producing an isotope of reduced atomic mass (...)

(from here the article relates to other countries)

Mary La Rosa is a librarian and artist living in ambiguity 20 miles from NYC

Full article available from

Daily updates prisoners' hunger strike at:

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