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Boycott Calls Against Israel
Support for Sanctions from Israelis
( July / August 2006)

The following letter of support was issued in response to the
resolution passed on May 27 by the Ontario branch of the Canadian
Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

The resolution reads as follows:  "CUPE Ontario will, with Palestine solidarity and human rights
organizations, develop an education campaign about the apartheid
nature of the Israeli state and the political and economic support of
Canada for these practices; Support the international campaign of
boycott, divestment and sanctions until Israel meets its obligation
to recognize the Palestinian people's inalienable right to self-
determination and fully complies with the precepts of international
law including the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their
homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194; Call on CUPE
National to commit to research into Canadian involvement in the
occupation and call on the CLC [Canadian Labour Congress] to join us
in lobbying against the apartheid-like practices of the Israeli state
and call for the immediate dismantling of the wall."

Signatories as of July 3, 2006 (out of over 100) include Jonathan
Amitay; Steve Amsel; Haim Baram; Hanna Braun; Ehud Ein-Gil; Prof.
Emmanuel Farjoun; Dror Feiler, musician, artist; Pnina Feiler; Neta
Golan; Jeff Halper; Matan Kaminer; Teddy Katz; Adam Keller; Hava
Keller; Moshe Machover; Dorothy Naor; Israel Naor; Susan Nathan,
author; Rabbi Baruch Rabinowitz; Elena Wesley; Sergio Yahni; Rabbi
Moshe Yehudai; Beate Zilversmidt.

Signatories can send their names to Dorothy Naor at
dor_naor@netvision.net.il. The subject line should read: Please add
my name. The list of signatory names (updated daily) can be seen at
www.geocities.com/liveletlive2001/signatories_so_far.htm.
- Eds.

As Israelis we express our support of the CUPE boycott of Israel,
honour your courageous initiative, and fervently hope that it will
set an example for many others to follow. We assure CUPE that it is
no more anti-Semitic to criticize and oppose Israeli government
policies than it was anti-American to oppose the Vietnam war, or is
anti-Canadian to oppose the present war in Afghanistan. It is never
anti-Semitic to oppose injustice, destruction, gross inequity, and
inequality. We also assure CUPE that Israel, having the fourth most
powerful military in the world, is in no existential danger.

As citizens devoted to the promotion of peace and democracy in the
region, we denounce the international community's continued economic
investments in our country, which directly and indirectly support
Israel's daily violations of international law and accelerated
colonization of the occupied territories. We fear the potentially
irreversible damage created by Israeli occupation, by Israel's
unilateral plans, and by the international community's impotence in
ending Israel's occupation. We realize that Israel's Occupation of
Palestinians and their lands will very likely not end without
international sanctions.

Israelis, as well as Palestinians, will benefit from ending the
Occupation. Symmetry does not exist between occupier and occupied,
oppressor and oppressed. Yet Israelis suffer from loss of life,
increase in militarism, and a steady devaluation of human life. This
latter is particularly evident in the socio-economic sphere and the
affliction of post-traumatic distress.

Successive Israeli governments have spent enormous amounts of money
on expansion, to the detriment of social benefits for the Israeli
population. While it is true that had there been no Occupation,
Israeli governments might not have spent the money on social
benefits, the fact that expansion continues apace reveals Israel's
intention to rid the West Bank of as many Palestinians as possible
and to prevent the emergence of a Palestinian state.

To this end, money is spent on maintaining a large military presence
in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, on erecting the apartheid
wall at four million dollars a mile, with 400 miles planned (twice
the length had it been built on the "Green Line"), and constructing
6,000 more units in highly subsidized settlements (this past year
alone, some 12,000 new settlers moved into the West Bank, 4,000 more
than were evicted from the Gaza Strip). Much money goes also for
constructing super-highways for Israelis-only in the Occupied
Territories, as well as for new lookout towers (that can double as
sniper towers), and checkpoints galore (mainly separating Palestinian
communities).

While all this is taking place at considerable economic cost, poverty
in Israel has increased sharply. Israel now has the dubious notoriety
of having the worst poverty level in the Western world. Over a
quarter of Israelis now live under the poverty line. One out of every
three children goes to bed hungry. And every fourth elderly person is
poor. No wonder, then, that Israel's elderly are "suicidal," as
Yedioth Ahronot revealed in a report showing that over 50 percent of
suicides in Israel every year are committed by people aged 65 and
over. There are additional worrying trends. Not only are the few rich
getting richer and the numerous poor getting poorer, but also many in
the middle class who have jobs are sliding into poverty due to low
wages.

One result of the increased poverty is that now 25% of Israelis
forego medical care because they cannot afford it. 75% of the poor
cannot afford medication. But of all the sad statistics, one of the
more shocking is that 40% of Holocaust survivors-170,000 aged
individuals-now live in desperate straits. It is shameful that of all
places in the world, in Israel Holocaust survivors live in dire
poverty and misery. The worsening economic conditions contribute, in
turn, to escalation of violence. Thus, for instance, one of every
five elderly Israelis is subject to abuse, mainly by spouses or
children. And the Israeli police recorded a 24% increase in violence
among youth in the first months of 2006. A direct cost of Occupation
and a threat to Israel's welfare is post-traumatic stress, which can
result in addiction to drugs and alcohol, and can also contribute to
violence.

A counselor at a rehabilitation center terms the malady "a ticking
bomb." Help, he relates, is unavailable for many soldiers who have
gone "into terrible distress of drugs, beatings, violence, impatience
... soldiers who clashed with a civilian population, and when they
were discharged understood that they had been wrong." Hundreds, he
reveals, "are roaming about with the feeling that there is no point
to living, and the path to suicide and drugs is very easy. We are
afraid that former soldiers will commit criminal acts as a result of
their distress."

On the Palestinian end of the Occupation, the situation is far worse,
both economically and security-wise. For Palestinians, Occupation
means a loudspeaker in the middle of the night ordering residents out
of their homes, regardless of winter or summer, hot or cold, wet or
dry. Occupation means long waits at checkpoints, even in emergencies.
Occupation means that one needs permits to go to one's fields,
permits that are often not given, and even when given, the
Palestinian farmer often finds that the military gates that control
accessing his fields are closed and fail to open, and, for that
matter, fail to open also for children on their way to school.
Occupation means land theft and the uprooting of olive trees, some of
which are hundreds of years old, all of which are means of
sustenance, some now the only means. Occupation means curfews, during
which sick people can and do die. Occupation means that one's home
can turn into rubble in minutes, as bulldozers or explosives demolish
it, along with its furnishings, toys, family photograph albums,
computers, and all else. Occupation means imprisonment. In January
2006 as many as 9,000 Palestinians were incarcerated in Israeli
facilities. Israeli Occupation means apartheid. Four instances of
this are water, roads, home construction, and checkpoints.
Palestinians are allowed to use only one-tenth of the 960 million
cubic meters of water generated in the West Bank. The rest goes to
Israelis. On average, a Palestinian citizen in the West Bank is
allowed to use no more than 36 cubic meters of water per year, while
Israeli settlers in the West Bank can use up to 2,400 cubic meters.
Palestinians are not allowed to use "settler" roads, which are highly
superior to Palestinian ones in the Occupied territories, are not
allowed to build houses or even to add rooms, while Jewish settlement
building continues uninhibited.
Checkpoints have also recently become separated. Israelis, tourists,
and Jews from abroad can go from the Territories to Israel via many
checkpoints, but Palestinians having permits are allowed to enter
Israel through only 11 of them, forcing Palestinians fortunate enough
to have a permit to enter Israel to travel far out of the way on
their way to work or to medical care.

For all the above reasons, we Israeli Seekers of Peace and Justice
express our sincere gratitude to CUPE's boycott initiative. Boycott
and divestment are non-violent means of pressuring governments to
change their policies-means now sorely needed to compel the Israeli
government to end its occupation of Palestinians and their lands.

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