Once again, the drairy parking lot opposite the Defence Ministry in Tel- Aviv, the place where we find ourselves when horrors fill the TV screens. Some three hundred people, representing a variety of groups, came there today to once more express shock, anger and disgust.
"We have come here because civilians are being killed by the dozen every day, houses demolished in multitude, trees and whole orchards made into desert, in a feat of primitive vengefulness which is immoral, dangerous and achieves the opposite of the declared government aims" said Uri Avnery to the Associated Press camera. On the opposite side, police and security operatives were massing as to defend the ministry gate from a rush of furious demonstrators.
It was Gush Shalom which took the initiative to organize a protest, in spite of a feeling of futility "but, still this is the least we can do, and we have to do it", and gradually the others came to join. Courage to Refuse was conspicuous with their "It won't end, if we don't refuse" banners. The Anarchists arrived directly from their confrontation with the wall-builders at Beit-Awa where they had been subjected to police clubs and teargas.
From Jaffa came a large group of Arabs, many of them with relatives at Jabaliya Refugee camp, the focus of the army rampage. Among all this, the Gush Shalom two-flag emblems were held aloft together with the text: "Sderot and Jabaliya - both victims of the occupation." - A pregnant woman with a sign "Mom, what is your boy doing in Gaza?" Alex Maor, father of the recently released CO Adam Maor asked "Dad" the same question. At his side, a big cartoon of Sharon riding a tank, with the caption "Death and destruction in the service of the occupation."
The veteran Latif Dori held a sign in Hebrew and Arabic "Sharon, you have murdered the peace dove!" At his side, youths were waving the European Rainbow peace flag. Meanwhile, the Gush spokesperson Adam Keller, just back from a coast-to-coast US tour and hardly recovered from jet-lag, ran around between journalists dragging with him the sign "Tayas Amitz Lo Maftzitz!" (a daring pilot doesn't bomb).
Upon the arrival of a whole bunch of youngsters the chanting started. "Peace - Yes! Occupation - No!", "Stop Killing - Start Talking!", "Soldier Listen - You Can Refuse!", "All the Ministers, War Criminals!", "Soldier Stop! War Crime!", "Pilot Stop! War Crime!" ("A pilot can't stop in mid-air" shouted somebody, whereupon the slogan was amended to "Pilot, Turn Back!"). Meanwhile, organizers from different groups discussed the idea of a follow-up action for the coming Saturday (October 9).
On the way to the bus, a blaring TV news broadcast from a nearby cafe: "Army forces at Rafah mistakenly shot to death a 13-year old girl on the way from school." The poor girl had been thought to have explosives in her schoolbag. "It's the first time this week, that they didn't say they killed one more terrorist" remarked an activist.
[photos soon at http://www.gush-shalom.org/english/index.html]