NIMN, a Chicago-based group of Jewish and other peace activists, will hold a vigil on Sunday, August 4, 2002, between Noon and 1:00pm, in the park on Michigan Avenue at Pearson (830 N). We oppose the 35-year Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, and call for an end to all US military aid to Israel until this occupation ends.
On this occasion, our hearts are particularly heavy with the recognition that the brutal slaughter of innocent civilians is continuing. The attack on students at the Hebrew University, long known as a place where Jews and Arabs maintained a civil society, was a vicious crime against totally innocent people, many of whom were likely adamantly opposed to the Israeli occupation. Such an immoral act is unforgivable.
It is not, however, unpredictable. In fact, it is exactly what the conservative Israeli journalist, Alex Fishman, predicted in his July 23, 2020 article in the Hebrew daily, Yediot Aharonot www.gush-shalom.org/temp_pics/fishman.html). He explained that the bomb that was dropped on densely populated Gaza, which killed 15, including 10 children, was ordered by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Ben-Eliezar within 90 minutes of the finalization of a communiqué by the Tanzim, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad. This statement was to be published within 12 hours by the Washington Post and Palestinian and Israeli newspapers. It was to announce a unilateral ceasefire, ending all attacks on Israeli civilians, including suicide bombings and mortar attacks.
In order to prevent this ceasefire from being announced, Israel's leaders declared war on innocent Palestinian women and children as they slept in their beds. They surely must have understood what the results would be. Ariel Sharon gloated, "[T]his operation, in my view, is one of the great successes and of course demands that we will all be on full alert." (Ha'aretz 7/23/02).
Ariel Sharon's "great success" is that he prevented an imminent ceasefire, demonstrated to the Palestinians that he would rather murder them in their beds than try to seek peace, and lured death to the doors and universities of his own people. Yet our own leaders, while funding Israel's military machine, can only issue a mild rebuke, calling Israel's bombing "heavy-handed."
NIMN recognizes that a continuation of this fatal strategy will do nothing but cause more hatred, death, and misery for both Palestinians and Israelis. Our tax money, approaching $3 billion each year, is given to Israel in military aid. Without this gift, Israel's leaders would be forced to seek alternatives to war. We do not want our tax money to be used to support murderous and oppressive policies that are proven to result in hideous retaliations such as the one that occurred at the Hebrew University.