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Stop Israeli Occupation of Palestine
Silent Vigil in Black

Press Communique from the PAJU and the JAAO

Beginning on February 9, 2001, PAJU (Palestinian And Jewish Unity) and JAAO (Jewish Alliance Against the Occupation) will be holding a silent vigil every Friday at noon, open to all who wish to come, outside the Israeli consulate in Montreal. We are inspired by the example of WOMEN IN BLACK, an Israeli peace group which, for many years, has held silent vigils every Friday in Jerusalem and other Israeli cities to protest their government's continuing occupation of Palestinian lands and the harsh conditions the Palestinian people live under.

For 33 years Israel has occupied the lands of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, home to 3 million Palestinian people. Since the provocative visit of General Ariel Sharon to Al-Aqsa, in the company of a large contingent of armed Israeli soldiers, the situation of the Palestinians has rapidly deteriorated. After months of struggle, it is clear that Israeli governments have not found a way out of this crisis, except to react with more violence. The suffering of the Palestinians has now reached a breaking point.

In the last 4 months Israeli soldiers and armed settlers have killed about 400 Palestinians and wounded more than 12,000. Many of the wounded will be maimed or handicaped for life. Under the Israeli policy of closures, essentially a form of collective punishment of the civilian population, the Palestinian people are presently confined to their municipalities because roads linking communities have been destroyed and barricaded. Labourers are unable to go to their jobs in Israel and thus cannot provide for their families. Sick people in small towns are prevented from reaching hospitals in other cities and some, including children, have died as a result. Stored food supplies are rapidly running out. Schools have shut down. Malnutrition, sickness and misery increase daily.

The Oslo peace process has achieved little more than to advance an unacceptable system of land division for the Palestinian People. In the last seven years, the Israeli government, while negotiating with the Palestine Authority, has installed and subsidized 50,000 new settlers on the very lands that were to be returned to the Palestinian people. Many of the settlers are armed. In all, there are an estimated 300,000 settlers in the occupied territories. It is only recently that the fate of more than 4 million Palestinian refugees has been taken into consideration. The refugees have lived for years, many since 1948, and 1967 in UN-administered camps in Lebanon, Jordan and elsewhere.

Throughout the world increasing numbers of Jewish people, including community leaders and intellectuals, are alarmed at the political impasse brought about by Israel's intransigence. In Israel itself, there is much opposition to the government's policies. Thousands of Israelis refuse to serve in the Army.

We will stand before the Israeli Consulate, every Friday, in response to the failure of Israel to abide by numerous United Nations resolutions, including the recent Security Council resolution that condemned Israel for "excessive use of force", for which Canada voted. We affirm the demands of virtually all international communities for an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. Military solutions to the problems of the Middle East threaten not only the Palestinians and the Israelis themselves, but the peace of the region and even the world. We condemn Israel's failure to exist in reciprocity with the other nations of the region and reject the claim that Israel acts in the name of the Jewish people.


Co-sponsored by:
PAJU(Palestinian and Jewish Unity).
JAAO(Jewish Alliance Against the Occupation).

Contacts:
PAJU:
Rezeq Faraj, (450) 348-0528, rezeqfaraj@videotron.ca.
Bruce Katz, bkatz@total.net.
JAAO:
Prof. Lillian Robinson, robinson@vax2.concordia.ca.
Freda Guttman, Freda_Guttman@hotmail.com.

Location:
Israeli Consulate(Peel and René-Lévesque, Montreal).

Time:
12noon - 1pm.

Commencing Date:
February 9th, 2001.


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