Thursday, November 02, 2006

02 November 2006
Editorial by Rela Mazali Published in Boston's "Jewish Advocate"
The following editorial written by Jerusalem Women Speak 12 participant Rela Mazali appeared in The Jewish Advocate newspaper of Boston, Massachusetts on Thursday, November 2, 2006.

Stand With Me for Justice
By Rela Mazali

The Jewish Advocate
Thursday November 2 2006

This week, Rela Mazali writes about standing in solidarity with her Palestinian colleagues.

Recently addressing audiences throughout New England along with two Palestinian partners, I find that many – especially Jewish people – expect me, as a Jewish Israeli, to take issue with my partners and represent what they perceive as “the Israeli standpoint.” Such expectations originate in the mistaken equation of the official Israeli line with what is held true by Israelis in general. They assume that Israeli government policies are in line with what is actually good for Israeli people. Repeatedly foiling these expectations, I fully endorse the descriptions offered by my Palestinian partners, Ghada Ageel of Khan Yunes refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, and Shireen Khamis of Beit Jala, adjacent to Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank.

Rather than arguing an alternative analysis, I tell our listeners that the first, most important comment I am able to add is how desperately urgent it is to take action toward stopping the catastrophe we are facing.

As all three of us tell our listeners, the systematic devastation the territories occupied by Israel on the pretext of a “war on terror” is taking place as we stand by. The near one-and-a-half million people in Gaza have been starved of salaries, food, medical supplies and access to the outside world for seven months following the results of fair elections.

Summary executions of untried suspects, word-washed as “targeted assassinations” by Israel, as well as daily incursions, kill dozens of Gazans on a weekly basis. The West Bank is paralyzed by more than 500 checkpoints and roadblocks denying freedom of movement and with it the right to education, to medical care, to freedom of worship, among many others which, it appears, are not inalienable under Israel’s rule.

The new Israeli government, after failing to realize the script it envisioned for its war in Lebanon, is now attempting to show itself to be “strong,” while confusing strength with state violence.

While Israel’s government claims to be seeking peace, it continues to confiscate and settle Palestinian land, most recently taking over about 40 acres in the vicinity of Hebron. Meanwhile, spiraling military spending is leading to slashes in social budgets while well over one third of Israeli children already lived below the poverty line in 2005 and 40 percent of Holocaust survivors currently live in poverty in Israel.

Over the years preceding the recent war in Lebanon, the number one cause of deaths among Israeli soldiers was suicide, and large numbers of veterans are disabled by depression and drug abuse.

The U.S. military industry is making enormous profits from this conflict. Seventy-five percent of U.S. military aid to Israel (to the tune of more than three billion a year) is earmarked for purchases from American producers. We call on Americans to stand for truth and justice.

Rela Mazali, Shireen Khamis and Ghada Ageel are three women (a Jewish Israeli, a Christian Palestinian and a Muslim Palestinian) traveling in the United States as the 12th national “Jerusalem Women Speak” tour sponsored by Partners for Peace. The tour visited New England communities this October. More information is available at

© 2006 The Jewish Advocate. All rights reserved.


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