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Jews! Stand Up and Be Counted!

Only interantional sanctions can stop Sharon from repeating the mass ethnic cleansing perpetrated under the cover of the 1948 war, and expel the Palestinian people from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip - this time under the cover of "war against terrorism"

Uri Davis

11 Apr. 2002, Sakhnin

I write as an individual citizen of the State of Israel; Chair of AL-BEIT: Association for the Defence of Human Rights in Israel; and expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Honorary Research Fellow at the Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, University of Durham and the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter.

Witnessing on TV news bulletins the Israeli armour roll into Ramallah and other cities in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip; and shocked by the intensifying war crimes and state terrorism perpetrated by the Israeli occupation army against the Palestinian people allegedly in response to Palestinian individual and/or militia acts of terrorism; and dismayed by the invasion of the Israeli tanks into the Headquarters of President Yasser Arafat in Ramallah - I am motivated to write and urge fellow members of my tribe, men and women, people of Jewish background committed to the values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to intensify their action to stop the atrocities caused by the Israeli occupation and perpetrated by the Israeli occupation army.

As an individual human person I have the humanitarian duty, like all other human persons worldwide, to raise my voice and mobilize to the best of my ability against injustice and against the perpetration of war crimes wherever they may be committed. As a citizen of the State of Israel, let alone a citizen of the State of Israel classified as a Jew, I have an additional responsibility to shout in protest louder and mobilize more urgently against injustice and war crime perpetrated by my Government, since, as a citizen of the State of Israel, and as a Jew, these atrocities are, alas, committed in my name.

I therefore raise my voice as loud as I am able to and shout: NOT IN MY NAME! Not in my name as an individual person. Not in my name as a citizen. Not in my name as a Jew.

As an expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict I am acutely aware that the Palestinian people, expelled and ethnically cleansed from their homeland under the cover of the 1948 war, resisting for nearly forty years the Israeli occupation of 1967, and struggling for their survival in the ugly shadow of the Sharon Government, are now threatened with the horrific dangers of additional massacres and renewed ethnic cleansing.

The Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is fully committed to the maintenance and expansion of the illegal Israeli settlement project in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Unless the Government of the State of Israel is firmly made to understand that its failure to end the Israeli occupation and illegal Israeli settlement projects will meet with US, European and international sanctions - it will, I am afraid, not be deterred.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and a good many of his Ministers, seem to believe that, if necessary, they would be justified to advance their illegal designs for the occupied West Bank (including Jerusalem) and Gaza Strip also through the perpetration of war crimes on a massive scale, attempting to repeat the mass ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Israeli army under the cover of the 1948 war, and expel the Palestinian people resident in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip - this time under the cover of "war against terrorism".

I appeal to my fellow Jews in this critical circumstance, those of us committed to the values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, please urgently intensify your action in defence of the Palestinian people victimized by the Israeli occupation and threatened with renewed mass massacres and ethnic cleansing. Do not allow the fact that Israel will not mass annihilate Palestinians in gas chambers and burn their bodies in crematoria blind you to the cruel inhumanity of the Israeli occupation and the real danger hanging over the Palestinian people of massacres and mass expulsion from their home villages and towns.

At this time Israeli troops are sealing off Ramallah and other Palestinian cities. I get e-mail reports to the effect that people are not allowed to go out nor allowed in. Those travelling, desperately searching for alternative ways and traveling in groups, have Israeli troops firing upon them. Women with infants and toddlers in their arms, who were trying desperately to flee from Ramallah, together with their young children, are reduced to running along in the rain through the fields, slipping and falling on the rocks, trying to reach safety, while Israeli jeeps speeding across the terrain pulling up from every direction shoot at them, chasing down people, hunting them in the fields.

With Ramallah and other Palestinian localities under total and extended curfew, Israeli troops are reported to systematically break into homes, tear families asunder, take away every man 15-60 years of age and herd them into detention camps and/or dump them in the Gaza Strip. Many families are not able to trace their relatives and fear for their lives. People of Jewish background, committed to the values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in concert with all persons similarly committed to universal values must act, mobilize and lobby without delay and apply whatever leverage they has vis-à-vis the State of Israel demanding SANCTIONS against the State of Israel NOW with the view to effect an end of Israeli violations of UN Security Council resolutions, notably the recent UN Security Council Resolution 1402, and not wait until we hear that hundreds if not thousands of Palestinians have been annihilated in mass massacres similar to Sabra and Shatila twenty years ago and Deir Yasin, Duwayma and Tantura fifty odd years ago.

I regret to say that unless the Government of Israel is faced with withdrawal of Jewish contributions, suspension of US aid to Israel, suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement and UN sanctions - the Government of the State of Israel, a rogue state, is likely not to heed the voice of humanity as reflected in the values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Nothing short of sanctions will do.

Jews! Stand up and be counted! Shout so that the entire world hears: NOT IN OUR NAME!

 
 

Dr Uri Davis is an anthropologist ordinarily resident in Sakhnin, an Arab city in Central Galilee, and Chair of AL-BEIT: Association for the Defence of Human Rights in Israel; a critical researcher of Israel and author of a number of titles on Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, most recently Apartheid Israel: Possibilities for the Struggle Within (Zed Books, 2004, buy from an independent book shop, buy from Amazon). Observer-Member of the Palestine National Council. Uri Davis (Dr), PO Box 99, Sakhnin 20173, Israel.