Israeli peaceniks show their strength

IssueJune - August 2002
News by PN staff

As Peace News went to press more than 60,000 demonstrators were in Tel Aviv taking part in largest peace rally since the second intifada began 19 months ago, demanding that Israel withdraw from the Palestinian territories

IDF tanks at the Bab Al-Zqaq crossroads between Betlehem and Beit Jala

The rally, organised by an umbrella group of peace groups, took place on the same day that around 150 members of the Arab-Jewish group Taayush (coexistance in Arabic) arrived at the Kissufim crossing point between Israel and the Gaza Strip, calling on soldiers to return home.

At the beginning of May support group Yesh Gvul released refusenik statistics for April in which they said: The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) onslaught on the Palestinian enclaves in April prompted a massive emergency call-up of reservists, producing a rash of refusals. In the course of the month, an unprecedented 69 refuseniks received prison sentences. The number jailed since the beginning of the intifada now numbers 114. At this moment, 28 are held in military prisons Four and Six.

And finally... a group of international activists who had been removed by the IDF from the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem were being held in an Israeli prison; several of their colleagues had been forcibly deported.