Antiwar sentiment in Israel: an analysis


Richard Moore

From: "Global Network" <•••@••.•••>
To: "Global Network" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Anti-war demonstrations continue in Israel
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 2006 16:13:54 -0400

International release, July 31.

Day 20 of the Lebanon carnage

And more than a month since the tanks rolled into Gaza

Adam Keller

We got up with the news of Condoleezza Rice at last putting down her foot (or at
least, giving this impression on TV) and forcing a temporary halt to the 
systematic Israeli bombing of Lebanon's towns and villages. The declaration was 
made from Washington, after Israel's Defence Ministry agreed to announce it but 
failed to do so.

The halted bombings gave a respite also to the communities of Northern Israel, 
where those who had not run away had been living in bomb shelters for the past 
three weeks.

It was, of course, in the aftermath of yesterday's atrocity at Qana, the second 
mass killing perpetrated in the same unfortunate Lebanese village. What happened
yesterday was just too big and too horrible to ignore, as the smaller daily 
killings of Lebanese civilians were ignored - with the images from Qana 
reverberating endlessly throughout the world, from every TV screen.

As reported in the morning papers, the generals were "greatly surprised" and 
highly displeased with the order to stop the bombing raids for at least the next
48 hours. As the day wore on, there were more and more bellicose pronouncements 
and declarations from ministers and generals: there is and will not be a 
ceasefire any time soon; the "regrettable" mass killing in Qana was the fault of
the victims themselves "who were warned and did not run away"; ours was and 
remains "The Most Moral Army in World"; the ground offensive into Lebanon will 
not only be continued but will be greatly intensified; the air force is still 
authorized to assassinate Hizbullah militants "wherever they are found"; the air
offensive will be soon resumed and inhabitants of South Lebanon are warned to 
run away today or be killed in the new bombings tomorrow; "maximum fire-power" 
should and would be used "in the most intensive way"... In the evening it 
culminated with the mock-Churchilesque televised speech of PM Olmert, complete 
with the promise of "pain, tears and blood".

The streets are still full of patriotic posters, most of them put up by banks 
and big corporations and bearing the promoter's logo beside the Israeli national
flag and the stirring slogans "United We Will Win!",  "Israel Is Strong!", 
"Everybody Embraces Our Soldiers!". But only a few citizens seem to have taken 
up the call to raise the national flag over their own homes and cars. Meanwhile,
at least many in the mainstream Left who in earlier days remained silent or 
outrightly supported the "Justified War Against Hizbullah Aggression" have been 
shocked or moved by the Qana carnage. Meretz leader Yossi Beilin has at long 
last came to the conclusion that the "continuation of the war is useless and 
counterproductive" and that it should come to an end. A few hours before he made
this statement, a leader of the Meretz Youth declared her resignation, feeling 
"sick and tired of being involved in a peace movement which supports war". And a
whole group of Meretz activists, led by former KM's Naomi Hazan and Yael Dayan, 
participated in yesterday's protest outside the Defence Ministry gates.The 
influential dovish commentator Nahum Bar'nea wrote in today's "Yediot Aharonot":
"Except for the lunatic fringe leftists, no one disputes that Israel had to 
react to the killing and kidnapping perpetrated by Hizbullah in our territory 
(...). I have confidence in the army's High Command, but having confidence does 
not stop me from having painful questions. Didn't the government, the army, the 
political system, the media, all let themselves be carried away by blind 
enthusiasm which serves only the enemy? I have heard Defence Minister Peretz 
boasting that he had "released the army from all restrictions" about harming 
"civilian populations which live at the side of Hizbullah militants". We saw the
results of this "release" yesterday, with the bodies of women and children taken
out of the house in Qana" (...)

So, there is every reason for the anti-war movement to continue and  intensify 
its own "offensive". Demonstrations take place every day in various cities. 
Tonight at the basement of the Kibbutz Movement Headquarters - actually, not far
from where the Inner Cabinet ministers met to approve a wide-scale extension of 
the ground invasion into Lebanon - Gush Shalom representatives took part in a 
coordinating meeting of the main peace groups, which resolved on holding a 
larger protest in the weekend.

The speeches of PM Olmert are full of bombastic cliches on "our heroic boys in 
uniform", but the 32-year old Reserve Captain Amir Fester was not convinced: he 
went to prison yesterday rather than obey the order to enter Lebanon. "He is not
of the radical left, but in the last few days has been feeling more and more 
that the war is not justified" his girlfriend Nitzan Lahav told Yediot Aharonot.
"The more the war continued he was increasingly troubled. In the beginning we 
like everybody supported the war, but we came to the conclusion that within two 
weeks there will anyway be an agreement with the Lebanese. So why not stop it 
now and end the killings?"(See also Ha'aretz)



A note to those who missed our messages in the past week: in exactly this 
critical time, we were faced with the unfortunate combination of the health 
problems of some of our staff, the holiday of others (a holiday planned long 
since, with the assumption that "nothing special happens in July") and pesky 
computer problems which needed time and energy exactly when these were in short 
supply, and were spent more on organizing the actions than on reporting them.

We hope you found your way to the Gush Shalom website with the frequent war 
comments by Uri Avnery and where you also find a report of yesterday's 
demonstration and by scrolling down many earlier ones, and last but not least 
the text of the now daily little ads we have been publishing in Haaretz.


Footage of the recent protest marches can seen on "The Social TV" at




(voice in Hebrew but quite comprehensible also to non-speakers).

GUSH SHALOM p.o.b. 3322 Tel Aviv 61033
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