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Impressions from the convoy to Beth Lechem Latin
by Yulie Khromchenco of Indymedia Israel 8:54am Sun Apr 28 '02

A group of several hundred activists from the joint Arab/Jewish non-violent direct action group Ta'ayush arrived this (Friday, April 26) afternoon to Beit Jala (near Bethlehem), accompanied by four trucks loaded with food and water, in order to help ease the besieged inhabitants of Beit Jala and the surrounding region.
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Impressions from the convoy to Beth Lechem

Yulie Khromchenco of Indymedia Israel

A group of several hundred activists from the joint Arab/Jewish non-violent direct action group Ta'ayush arrived this (Friday, April 26) afternoon to Beit Jala (near Bethlehem), accompanied by four trucks loaded with food and water, in order to help ease the besieged inhabitants of Beit Jala and the surrounding region. The activists arrived in a convoy of cars, to the west of Beit Jala, with a portion of the food supply. The four trucks loaded with the rest of the staple-food aid continued along the road, crossing through the army blockade, and as far as is known to the organizers, the trucks arrived safely to the various distribution sites: the refugee camps of Deheisheh and Aeidah, the Red Crescent medical teams, and to the village of El-Khader.

The convoy arrived to Beit Jala at about 14:00. The curfew, normally enforced around the clock by the Israeli Army, had been lifted for a few hours for the first time in days. However, few people were seen on the streets - a family that hurried to vacate a relative for medical treatment, several young people who observed us from the balcony and two young girls who ran between us giggling shyly; except for them the street was silent. "Most of the people will use the lifting of the curfew for their own needs," one of the organizers informed us in case we were offended by the absence of a welcome.

Instead of the inhabitants, we were received by several Israeli soldiers, policemen and border-guard troops. Instead of opposing the army, we brought them with us. This is the paradox of being Israeli peace activists in a time of war.

From, the moment we arrived, like a premeditated drill, a transmission line was created, carrying sacks of food from the private cars to vans which distributed the food, accompanied by the restless clapping of hands. Soldiers barred a group of the demonstrators who attempted to follow alongside the van carrying the food to its destination point. To calm the situation, an organizer stated, "We are not a political demonstration, first of all we are a humanitarian convoy. Leave the politics, protests and slogans for the Saturday protest in Tel-Aviv" and indeed, the action passed quietly.

The head of the of Beit Jala municipality, Raji Zaidan, and the local "Fatah"
leader, Hassan Abed Rabo thanked the activists who came, and spoke about the terrible situation which has been taking place in the region in the last month, as a result of the Israeli occupation army’s actions: house destruction, blockades, damage to agricultural fields and infrastructures, the basic sources of employment and food for the Palestinian people.

"Your being here gives us hope that inside the dark tunnel that we are situated in, is a path of light," said Abed Rabo. "We hope that a significant number of the Israeli people will call on the Israeli government to end the occupation and enable the creation of Palestinian state.” The crowd applauded.

Uri Pines, one the organizers of the demonstration, called for the Israeli soldiers that stood around to return to the their homes and to cease actions of the occupation that prevent people from working to receive medical treatment and to cultivate their lands. "The by-pass roads, for Jews only, are apartheid roads." Pines adds, "These by-pass roads prevent the Palestinians from using their right to travel on their own land." The road we traveled on to bring the food in was of course one of these by-passes, a tunnel that was notoriously built in order to enable the settlers of Gush Etzion to arrive to the their homes without having to cross any of the Palestinian towns on route. Another Israeli paradox.

Several people in their houses waved for peace. One of the inhabitants of Beit Jala passed between us all and gave us green chickpeas. Several of the activists could not resist trying convince the soldiers to understand where they situated and whose goals they are serving. The soldiers ignored, several agitatedly stroking their guns.

Four trucks, we all agreed, are merely a drop in this sea of atrocity. We left quietly thinking that nobody will hear of this activity on the news this evening. On the radio, during the drive back home, the newscasters spoke about the continuation of the military’s activity in the town of Qalqiliye.

indymedia.org.il

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Felicitations for your actions Latin
by Jan Boeykens 7:41pm Wed May 1 '02
[email protected]

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I was very unhappy with the situation in the Middle-East and I was thinking that the peace-movement was still not existing in Israel by the repression of the Sharon-government and the attitude of S. Peres.
So I was very happy to see that you were organising actions and the Jewish-Arabic peace-movement was giving food to the people in Betlehem.
Please can you send me regularely information about your peace-actions ? I am working for a free-non-commercial radio in Antwerp and every day I am working and discussing on a discussion-forum of Planet Internet about the Middle-East.

My felicitations for the hopefully work that you are doing during this difficult situation !

Jan Boeykens
Verlatstraat 13
2000 Antwerp
Belgium

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information Latin
by Galit Hughes 11:34pm Sat May 4 '02

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I would like to get a contact address or E-Mail address for Ta'ayush. Can you add it to the artical?

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