Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pidyon Shvuyim.Plan of Action to Deal with Mass Arrests of Spprters of Israel

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If you would like to help please email pidionshvuim@gmail.com and please forward to your lists. Robin

Dear Friends,

Women in Green received this important article from IsraelJustice.com

Very often, friends of Israel who reside out of Israel, contact us and ask: "what can we do to help Israel?". Below is an email giving you at least one activity all of you can be part of.

 Written by a group of Israeli citizens with American citizenship, it is an appeal for U.S constituents to join a network to call their congressman about the arrest of Jewish protesters in Israel.

 Please circulate this appeal far and wide.

 With love of Israel,

 Ruth and Nadia Matar

Women in Green

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 Protecting Our Children
A Plan of Action to Deal with Mass Arrests of Supporters of Israel
by IsraelJustice.com


The Threat:
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    Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, saved by the United States from his domestic rivals in wake of the Winograd Report, is under tremendous pressure to dismantle Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Olmert has promised to help Bush in the U.S. plan to establish a Palestinian state in Judea and  Samaria by 2009. This will demand the destruction of first the so-called unauthorized outposts, followed by communities established in the early 1970s.
    The government offensive has been planned by a triumvirate of Vice Premier Haim Ramon, Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter and Justice Minister Daniel Friedman. Friedman's job is crucial as he heads the effort to maintain a legal system meant to quickly stifle peaceful protest against the government plan. As a result, Friedman and his chief aide, Shai=- Nitzan, are preparing a crackdown on all dissent, including a ban on assembly, speech, movement and prayer in holy sites. The government has introduced new laws to prosecute political dissent on the Internet and cellular phones while building new prisons to handle the thousands of demonstrators expected to be arrested under the crackdown.

The Timetable:
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    Olmert has sought to delay the offensive against Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria . But he has become more vulnerable than ever, given the growing threat to Israel from Iran , Syria and the Hamas regime in the Gaza
Strip, which he believes would require increased support by and coordination with Washington . Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been meeting with Israeli officials and demanding that steps be taken in early 2008 that
would lead to a Palestinian state.

The Experience:
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    The Olmert government, and its predecessor, Ariel Sharon, have singled out Jewish supporters of Israel for special punishment. The feeling is that punishing Jewish dissidents, particularly residents of Judea and Samaria as well as their supporters, generates support from the governments of the United States , the European Union as well as their clients among the Israeli Left. Olmert and Sharon have pointed to the crackdown on the Jewish residents of the territories as proof of his willingness to take political risks to satisfy the international community.
    As a result, the government has refused appeals to pardon the thousands of Jews arrested prior and during the Israeli expulsion of Jews from their homes in the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria in 2005. The prosecution has refused to close the more than 700 indictments that stem from those cases. Today, Jewish minors, particularly girls, are held for months without charges because they refuse to cooperate with authorities. In all of the cases, the defendants were not accused of violent offenses. In January, several people were grabbed off the streets of Jerusalem for talking to foreign journalists during the visit by President Bush and charged with sedition.
    Experience has shown that the politicians are either afraid of Olmert and the police. Indeed, many Knesset members are threatened by police investigations or scandal that could turn into indictments at any time. The major print media, with interests in government-controlled companies, have ignored the Jews. Even Israeli human rights organizations, financed by the European Union and U.S. foundations to defend Arabs, have refused to become
involved. Members of the organized Jewish community in the United States have feared to speak out because they do not want to be seen as opposing an Israeli government propped up by Bush.

The Proposal:
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    Some Americans in Israel -- whose children or friends have been among the detainees -- have found one pressure point on the Olmert government that actually works: telephone calls from members of Congress or their staffers
to the Israel Embassy in Washington to request information about Jewish protesters arrested in peaceful demonstrations. Within hours, these detainees have been released from Israeli police custody.
    We would like to help build a network in the United States that would expand on this success. The network of supporters of Jewish rights in Israel would demand accountability for those arrested or beaten by police in peaceful demonstrations, including attempts to pray at holy places.
    The network would have two channels: One channel would focus on grassroots support; the other on political activists who have access to members of the House and Senate. The network, designed to generate constituency complaints, would encourage members of Congress to question the Israel Embassy in Washington and perhaps even the State Department to clarify alleged human rights violations of Jews. Supporters of this initiative would not need to take any position on the future of Judea and Samaria -- merely to call on Israel to account for reports of police brutality, arrest without charges and refusal to release Jews on bail for non-violent protests.
    We are hoping to build this network so that we can stop the impending Olmert offensive against the Jews in the coming weeks. We urge you to help us establish this network or set up your own pressure group. As few as five
people per congressional district willing to telephone a member of Congress can make a difference.
    The prospect of turning to the U.S. political system to intervene is something we don't relish. But we have to face facts: Olmert, whose approval ratings have approached zero, has survived purely because of the Bush administration and its hopes that the prime minister will unilaterally withdraw from Judea and Samaria and establish a Palestinian state over the next year. Indeed, when Bush visited Israel in January, Olmert called the U.S. president "my confidante."
    Our goal is to deter Olmert from draconian measures meant to destroy the Jewish community in Judea and Samaria and parts of Jerusalem . A network that monitors the arrests of Jews, particularly Americans, and asks members of
Congress to seek clarification could buy valuable time. It could also move American Jewish leaders to quietly warn Olmert that he cannot continue to trample on Jewish rights without a backlash from American Jews and their
supporters in Congress. Every Jew who is released is a Jew redeemed one of the most important mitzvot in the Torah. Can anything be more important?

Please send comments, suggestions or offers to be part of this network to pidionshvuim@gmail.com

 





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