Saturday, August 12, 2006  

Protect non-violent civil demontrations

I am printing this e-mail in full from Doris Bittar because a)I don't know how to do a follow post so if someone knows- please tell me how! and b) I think reading this in full is important. IM(H)O: a "democracy" doesn't do this kind of thing...
Dear Friends,

It is imperative that you are aware that a special convoy of "Internationals" from the International Solidarity movement not become targets of Israeli shelling as they cross into South Lebanon to bring peace, food and supplies to those who remain in the South. They are demonstrating in a non-violent way that all hostilities should end and the Lebanese be allowed to return to their homes. Among the most notable of these brave individuals are Huwaida Arraf and her husband, Adam Shapiro. Here is a message from Huwaida below that was sent to yesterday. Don't forget to contact officials in the list below to insure that harm does not come to these brave people who are forging new and non-violent ways of ending the siege and counter attacks. Doris

From Huwiada:

I haven't written much since arriving in Lebanon, and we're afraid this
will be short. It is now hours before our convoy to the south of Lebanon
takes off. Our eight days here have been sad, frustrating, infuriating,
and inspiring all at the same time. As many of you know, I came here as
part of a small group, which included my husband, Adam, to explore the
utility of establishing an international civilian presence in Lebanon to
support the people of Lebanon in confronting Israeli aggression against
their country. After a week of lots of debate, organizing, politicking
and arguing, we held our final preparation meeting at a café called Taa
Marbouta. This is a café that was due to open on July 20th, but because
of the attack on Lebanon, the owners changed their plans and instead
converted the café into a relief center. In the same building, which
still has a brothel on the 4th floor, there are 5 other floors of Lebanese
citizens from the south forced to flee by Israeli bombardment and
destruction of their homes. Tonight, well over 100 people came to
participate in the final preparations, receive instructions, and pick up
the rations of food and medicine that we will carry to villagers in the
south. While not much in terms of sustainable relief, this effort is
meant as a political act to reject Israel's efforts to impose its will and
challenge the international community's complicity in the suffering of the
Lebanese people.

Every night we hear the bombing by F-16 fighter jets, unmanned aircraft
and missiles fired from unseen Israeli ships off the coast as the bombs
smash into Beirut and its suburbs. Last night Israeli rockets brought
down 3 apartment buildings in the Shayyah suburb of Beirut. While these
buildings were empty, because Israel had warned the residents to leave the
day before, is this not terrorization? Israel seeks to absolve itself of
responsibility for the death of innocent civilians by dropping leaflets on
entire villages, towns and cities telling people to leave or die.
we consider this humane? Many of the 900,000 Lebanese civilians forced to
flee their homes in the south and southern Beirut don't have homes to go
back to now. Over 1,000 Lebanese civilians who did not or could not flee
have been killed. Monday night the Shayyah neighborhood was hit without
warning - one building took a direct hit causing an adjacent building to
collapse. Over 20 dead bodies were pulled from the rubble. I think that I
have become somewhat immune to devastation. Last week we were in Al-Dahiya
suburb of Beirut - normally home to tens of thousands of mostly poor
Lebanese. Many of these residents first moved to Beirut as a result of the
Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. As I walked through the rubble and
looked down streets of destroyed buildings, I was reminded of the remnants
of the Jenin refugee camp in Palestine, also reduced to rubble by Israel
back in 2002. For pictures of Al-Dahiya, see:

While the situation here in Lebanon differs from our experience in
Palestine - aerial bombardment of the country versus occupation soldiers
brutalizing people on the ground - the aggression I've witnessed is the
same, the destruction of lives and livelihood is the same, the war crimes
committed are the same, and the impunity with which Israel carries this
all out is the same.

A few hours ago we learned that the Israeli military hit a convoy leaving
Marjayoun (in the south) under UN 'protection', killing three. It had
received Israeli permission to move. The people here do not have any
reason to believe that Israel will not hit a purely civilian convoy
carrying relief. Indeed, UN workers have been killed by Israeli strikes,
ambulances have been hit, and civilian homes have been targeted. But this
initiative tomorrow represents the resolve of Lebanese civilians to reject
Israel's dictates and stand up for their country and their people. We are
all going knowing full well that Israel might hit us. And yet, one thing
that we agreed upon is even if we are hit and suffer casualties, this
campaign continues. If the convoy can continue on the same day, it will,
if it cannot, we will reorganize and advance again another day.

We reject, on principle, any kind of coordination with the Israeli
military, but we've done as much as we can to make it known to Israel that
this is a civilian convoy. On CNN this morning I reiterated our plans and
asked, in the face of this civilian act of resistance, "what will Israel

Tonight a journalist asked me, "aren't you scared?" I answered honestly,
"no." I really don't think about it. While this is a dangerous initiative,
I believe that doing nothing is more dangerous. The United States, instead
of backing an immediate ceasefire that could have saved hundreds of
innocent lives, expedited a weapons transfer to Israel. For the past 4
weeks, the United Nations has been paralyzed; every day innocent civilians
are being killed. When governments and international bodies fail to act,
average civilians must. And so I am honored to be part of this convoy. I
am heartened by the love and dedication of the dozens of civilians from
all over the world who traveled to Lebanon answering our call to join the
civilian resistance; I am strengthened by the tens of thousands that will
be demonstrating all over the world tomorrow; and I am proud to have
worked with amazing people that are the spirit of Lebanon that will not be

The convoy of internationals who are traveling from Beirut to South Lebanon with food and other necessary humanitarian supplies is probably leaving as I write this.

The practice of the Israeli Air Force is to apologize *after* bombing such convoys even though permission had been granted for such movement. In the latest bombing of such a convoy, 43 people were killed. (Actually, no apology has been offered for that one yet -- as if it mattered.)
Please contact appropriate officials, listed below, informing them again of this convoy, stating that they themselves will be held accountable if the convoy is bombed. The convoy has been well announced. Several posts have appeared on this mid-east news group, for instance, including the latest letter from Huwaida.

Please call. Peoples' lives are in imminent danger.

New York Israel Consulate General (212) 499-5000
Houston Israeli Consulate (713) 627-3780
San Francisco Israel Consulate (415)-844-7500
Los Angeles Consulate General (323) 852-5500
MidWest Israel Consulate General (312) 297-4800
Boston Israel Consulate General (617) 535-0200
Miami Israel Consulate General (305) 925-9400
Israel Emabssy Washington DC Political Department
Tel: (202)364-5581/2
Fax: (202)364-5490
New York Israel Consulate General (212) 499-5000
Houston Israeli Consulate (713) 627-3780
San Francisco Israel Consulate (415)-844-7500
Los Angeles Consulate General (323) 852-5500
MidWest Israel Consulate General (312) 297-4800
Boston Israel Consulate General (617) 535-0200
Miami Israel Consulate General (305) 925-9400
Israel Emabssy Washington DC Political Department
Tel: (202)364-5581/2
Fax: (202)364-5490

U.S. Citizens, Internationals and Lebanese risk safety to bring
humanitarian aid to devasted Southern Lebanon.

U.S. Press contact based in Lebanon:
Ali Tonak
961 70 150 247

Lebanon Contact:
Rasha Salti
+961 3 970855

On August 12, at 7 am, Lebanese from throughout the country and
international supporters who have come to Lebanon to express
solidarit y will gather in Martyr's Square in Beirut to form a civilian
convoy to the south of Lebanon. Hundreds of Lebanese and international
civilians will express their solidarity with the inhabitants of the
heavily destroyed south who have been bravely withstanding the assault
of the Israeli military. This campaign is endorsed by more than 200
Lebanese and international organizations. This growing coalition of
national and international non-governmental organizations hereby
launches a campaign of civil resistance for the purpose of challenging
the cruel and ruthless use of massive military force by Israel, the
regional superpower, upon the people of Lebanon.

August 12 marks the start of this Campaign of Resistance, declaring
Lebanon an Open Country for Civil Resistance. August 12 also marks the
international day of protest against the Israeli aggression.

"In the face of Israel's systematic killing of our people, the
indiscriminate bombing of our towns, the scorching of our villages,
and the attempted destruction of our civil infrastructure, we say No!
In the face of the forced expulsion of a quarter of our population
from their homes throughout Lebanon, and the complicity of governments
and international bodies, we re-affirm the acts of civil resistance
that began from the first day of the Israeli assault, and we stress
and add the urgent need to act!," said Rasha Salti, one of the
organizers of this national event.

After August 12, the campaign will continue with a series of civil
actions, leading to an August 19 civilian march to reclaim the South.
"Working together, in solidarity, we will overcome the complacency,
inaction, and complicity of the international community and we will
deny Israel its goal of removing Lebanese from their land and
destroying the fabric of our country," explained Samah Idriss, writer
and co-organizer of this campaign.

"An internation al civilian presence in Lebanon is not only an act of
solidarity with the Lebanese people in the face of unparalleled
Israeli aggression, it is an act of moral courage to defy the will of
those who would seek to alienate the West from the rest and create a
new Middle East out of the rubble and blood of the region," said
Huwaida Arraf, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement and
campaign co-organizer. "After having witnessed the wholesale
destruction of villages by Israel's air force and navy and having
visited the victims (so-called displaced) of Israel's policy of
cleansing Lebanese civilians from their homes," continued Arraf, "it
is imperative to go south and reach those who have stayed behind to
resist by steadfastly remaining on their land."

Israel has been indsicrimately bombing civilian targets and the convoy
recognizes that they place their life in peril by trying to bring aid
to the thousands that are dying of hunge r, thirst and lack of medical
care in Southern Lebanon as a result of Israel's relentless bombing

zazou, she's couragous indeed...
sad Ingrid,
when oh when will this change? A ceasefire 5am monday morning so people can still die tomorrow? how ludicrous..
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