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SWIFT sanctions against Israel

It is called the “ultimate sanction that would really hurt”. It worked in South Africa. It can work in Israel too. Swift sanctions against Israeli banks will isolate Israel from the world system of trading. Israeli banks will be unable to pay for imports or receive payment for exports.

Fellow Capetonian activist Terry Crawford-Browne used to be an international banker. Yet when South Africa was on the brink of a civil war in the 1980s, he became an activist. At the time he used his expertise to implement Swift sanctions against South Africa.

The importance of this intervention cannot be underestimated. The SWIFT sanctions were a game-changer. They were powerful, effective, immediate and they gave impetus to the non-violent resistance in South Africa. Now Terry advocates for a smiliar step against Israel.

The Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication system, known as Swift, is a secure messaging system used by more than 10,500 banks for international money transfers. Swift sanctions are also considered against Russia – as a “the ultimate sanction that would really hurt”. Read the article here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFour South African ecumenical accompaniers who served in the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). From left to right: Marthie Momberg, Terry Crawford-Browne, Corbin August and Carol Martin. The photo was taken in the South African Parliament on 6 February 2014.

You can listen to Terry explaining his plan on YouTube, and/or you can read a shorter version of his recent talk in Istanbul at the IPRA conference:

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SWIFT SANCTIONS AGAINST ISRAELI BANKS

by Terry Crawford-Browne

The international banking sanctions campaign launched in October 1985 by Bishop Desmond Tutu, Dr Allan Boesak and Dr Beyers Naude became the tipping point in South Africa’s relatively peaceful transformation from apartheid to constitutional democracy. It was a nonviolent strategy intended to avert a looming civil war. International trade and sports boycotts and numerous resolutions at the United Nations had created conscientiousness about apartheid, but in themselves could not defeat the system. The critical factor was the role of the US dollar as settlement currency in foreign exchange markets. Without access to the New York bank payment system, apartheid South Africa would be unable to pay for imports or receive payment for exports even from third countries such as Germany or Japan.

Under the “adopt-a-bank” strategy, the church leaders applied their influence with American churches to pressure the major New York banks to choose the banking business of apartheid South Africa or the pension fund business of the respective Anglican, Catholic, Presbyterian and other denominations. The City of New York later added the choice between the City’s payroll accounts or the banking business of apartheid South Africa. Even the Bush (senior) administration in October 1989 surprisingly issued an ultimatum to demand compliance by the apartheid government by February 1990 of the first three of five conditions, namely: (a) the end of the state of emergency, (b) release of political prisoners and (c) unbanning of political organisations.

That was the background to President FW de Klerk’s announcement on 2 February 1990. Mr de Klerk has subsequently conceded that the threat contained in that ultimatum to close off all South African access to the American financial system motivated his decision to release Nelson Mandela and to begin constitutional negotiations. The fourth and fifth objectives of the banking sanctions campaign were: (d) repeal of apartheid legislation and (e) constitutional negotiations towards a democratic, non-racial and united South Africa.

[…]

Three decades later, banking technology has advanced dramatically. The pressure point in the international payments system is no longer in New York, but is now at the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) which is headquartered in Belgium. In essence, SWIFT is a giant computer cooperatively owned by 10 500 international banks in 215 countries that daily authenticates interbank payment instructions for more than 20 million international financial transactions. SWIFT’s function has been to replace the cumbersome and labour-intensive authentication system traditionally known as “testing,” which verifies the payment instructions of correspondent banks.

SWIFT is overseen by the central banks of the G10 countries, with the National Bank of Belgium being the lead overseeing authority. Every participating bank has a SWIFT code, the fifth and sixth letters of which identifies the country of domicile. As examples, South African banks are identified by the letters ZA; Israeli banks by the letters IL.

The impact of SWIFT is such that a bank that is not part of the SWIFT network is essentially excluded from the international financial payments system. Banking is the lifeblood of any economy. Just as all South African banks were complicit in funding and upholding the apartheid system, so too the role of Israeli banks is fundamental to the Israeli government’s illegal occupation of Palestine. Money laundering and financial crimes are now regarded as serious international threats, and thanks to forensic auditing can increasingly be traced and identified. In fact, given the advances in technology, Israel is much more vulnerable to a banking sanctions campaign than was apartheid South Africa during the 1980s.

Israeli banks fund the construction both the “apartheid wall” and the settlements, which the International Court of Justice in 2004 found to be illegal in terms of international law. The banks provide heavily subsidised mortgages to induce over 700 000 Israelis to live in illegal settlements such as Ma’ale Adumin, Har Homa and Zufrim as well as providing regular banking services in those communities. Israeli banks are also a critical factor in repatriating the financial proceeds to Israel of blood diamonds, drug trafficking and Israeli arms exports, all of which are crucial to the Israeli economy.

Just as South African banks during the apartheid era were actively engaged in “sanctions-busting,” so too Israeli banks all blatantly participate in illegal transactions under the guise of “national security.” It is impossible to separate legitimate transactions of Israeli banks from illegal transactions that violate international laws on money laundering and war profiteering. Accordingly, all transactions to and from Israeli banks must be deemed to contravene banking protocols such as international obligations imposed on financial institutions to “know your customer”(KYC) and other due diligence procedures to mitigate financial crimes.

Major international banks such as JP Morgan Chase, BNP Paribas, HSBC, Barclays Bank, Credit Suisse have recently been heavily fined for failures to meet such obligations. Seventeen European governments, including the Belgian government, in June 2014 warned their citizens of the reputational and other risks involved in financial transactions to and from the settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. All countries, even including the United States, regard the Israeli settlements as illegal.

Norwegian, Danish and Dutch pension funds and banks are already blacklisting Israeli banks. SWIFT declares itself to be “neutral” in respect of sanctions. Since sanctions often only apply in certain but not all jurisdictions, SWIFT cannot voluntarily suspend transactions unless regulations are enacted by laws of its home jurisdiction, namely Belgium and the European Union (EU). To date, the EU government statements about financial transactions with the settlements are warnings rather than regulations, but the “writing is increasingly on the wall.” The image of the banking industry is currently poor, and SWIFT and its 10 500 members would certainly not wish to be publicly identified as complicit with Israeli war crimes.

Given these developments. SWIFT earlier this year has expanded its operations to include compliance management registry, including sanctions screening and testing. To this purpose, SWIFT will conduct a two day conference in Boston, USA during 30 September to 1 October to establish standards to assist banks in addressing financial crime compliance regulations. This registry is expected to go live at the end of 2014.

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) — which met in Barcelona, London, Cape Town, New York and Brussels between 2010 and 2013 – has already collated a huge volume of evidence on Israeli government violations of international law, including that its behaviour towards Palestinians meets the legal criteria of apartheid as a crime against humanity.

The recent Israeli bombardment of Gaza prompted the United Nations Human Rights Council on 23 July 2014 to establish a commission of inquiry on Israeli war crimes. Similarly, the RToP has now decided to establish an extra, extraordinary session to be held in Brussels during 24 and 25 September 2014 to investigate the implications of the latest Israeli war crimes in Gaza. Just as the campaign against apartheid was driven by international civil society, so too it is now imperative for civil society to apply pressure upon EU governments to meet their obligations in respect of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Given the outrage over the disproportionate and illegal Israeli government actions in Gaza, there is increasing recognition of the need for a permanent resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Indisputably, just as the international community judged apartheid in South Africa to be a threat to world peace, so too is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Israeli government is a repeated violator of international law including the Geneva Conventions. SWIFT sanctions against Israeli banks offer a nonviolent instrument in the cause of peace in the Middle East to balance the scales between Israelis and Palestinians so that, unlike the failed US “peace process” and the Egyptian-brokered ceasefires, meaningful negotiations become possible.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign, which is supported by the broad spectrum of Palestinian society, has endorsed a proposal of SWIFT sanctions against Israeli banks. The proposal calls upon the EU governments and other members of the international community to require SWIFT to suspend transactions to and from Israeli (IL) banks until the Israeli government:

1. Agrees to relinquish its nuclear weapons, and to accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty,
2. Agrees to release immediately all Palestinian political prisoners,
3. Agrees to end its occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem, plus Gaza, and that it will dismantle the “apartheid wall,”
4. Recognises the fundamental rights of Arab Palestinians will full equality in Israel-Palestine,
5. Acknowledges the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

Being directed at Israeli banks, SWIFT sanctions are targeted at the financial and political elites who have the influence and clout to alert and warn the Israeli government of the consequences of financial isolation from the international community. The intention is not to destroy the Israeli economy but, instead, to bring the highly militarised Israeli government to its senses. Once the Israeli government agrees to these conditions, SWIFT sanctions can immediately be reversed in order to minimize economic damage to the Israeli economy.

Terry Crawford-Browne
19 August 2014

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SA Muslims on an Islamic State (IS): This is not Islam.

To South African Muslims the possibility of an Islamic State (IS) threatens not only non-Muslims, but also vigilant and conscious Muslims. All of us can live together in peace and in respect for one another they say.

I fully agree with their position whereby we as people from different faiths can share the same values.

Here is South Africa’s Islamic Unity Convention’s press statement:

image004PRESS RELEASE
September 2014

The core tenets of Islam include love, peace and unity and justice. These values however are not reserved for Muslims. It is therefore with abhorrence that the Islamic Unity Convention witnesses the crimes of the so-called ‘Islamic State’ (IS).

How can a group claiming to act in the name of Islam (the religion of peace) build a Caliphate on mass murders and human rights abuses?

The IUC condemns not only these actions but also the fundamentals of this so-called Islamic State.

While we are aware that some Muslim groups (including in South Africa) have at times supported, endorsed and even defended the actions of IS and other groupings which share its motives and methods; the IUC cannot condone such brutality, which is based on the foundation of sectarianism.
Inasmuch as the emergence of IS poses a concern to our brethren of other faiths, it is one of the biggest challenges being faced by vigilant and conscious Muslims. The IS while viciously targeting Christians, Druze and other communities has massacred scores of Muslims. We also note that despite attempts to characterise IS as a Sunni-interest group; this is inaccurate as the majority of this rabid group’s victims have been Muslims of the Sunni trend. The IS, al-Qaeda and other such groupings which preach sectarianism therefore cannot claim to act in the name of Islam.

We also have to remember that this militant group did not appear from thin air; it was militarily, financially and logistically bolstered for several years, with aid and protection of Arab regimes and the West.

The crimes of IS affect South Africans as much as they do the people of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the broader Middle East. A number of Muslim South African youth have been swept up by this phenomenon and some are even active in the IS’ army.

As the IUC, our position is clear:

  • The South African government should halt such elements from going over to create mayhem in the world.
  • The Muslim community bears the tough responsibility of educating, directing and guiding its youth such that they do not fall prey to the vices of the IS or any other groups (local ones included) which work to sow social discord and hatred.
  • Conscious South African Muslims need to stand up to and challenge those elements who for over three years now have been trying to create conflict among Muslims themselves.

The history of Islam demonstrates that Muslims, Christians, Jews and those of other persuasions can live together in a mutually productive and prosperous society founded on respect, sincerity and love. Our prayer is that all communities will recognise who the real enemy is and not be swayed by infighting and minor differences.

For comment, contact:
IUC Public Relations Officer: Magboeba Davids 083 746 4040
IUC Chairperson: Mansoora Africa (072 716 7772)

The original press statement is available here:
IUC Press Statement on IS September 2014.

Op soek na die waarheid

Op die vyftigste dag van die uitmergelende 2014 konflik tussen Israel en Gaza het ‘n groepie van vyf kerklidmate na ‘n DVD, Roadmap to Apartheid gekyk. Dié lede van die Fontaineblue Gemeenskapskerk (lid van die NG Kerk) wou graag meer verstaan van die konflik tussen Palestina en Israel. Dit mag onbeduidend klink – dit was immers net vyf mense. Tog het ek geleer dat ‘n verskuiwing in persepsies juis so kan begin – met een of twee mense wat kritiese, eerlike vrae vra.

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So skryf Ds Johan Pieters, leraar van die gemeente, op Fontianeblue Gemeenskapskerk se webblad oor die rol van Afrikaans-sprekende witmense en die soeke na waarheid:

Soos dit met hierdie kontroversiёle sake gaan is daar soveel mense, soveel menings. FGK se styl met kontroversiёle sake (soos homoseksualiteit, die bestaan van die bose, Belhar, saam-woon en die huwelik) is om te erken dat daar verskillende standpunte is. Ons glo ons taak is om te probeer om mekaar te verstaan, en dalk so ‘n gemeenskaplike konsensus te ontwikkel. Gesprek oor Israel-Palestina is dus ook nodig.

Wat het ek so ver geleer deur na die DVD te kyk en daaroor met mede-lidmate te gesels?

Dit het algemeen geword om Israel se optrede “Apartheid” te noem. Blykbaar is Sen. John Kelly die persoon wat eerste keer die vergelyking getref het, maar dr. HF Verwoerd het al in die 60’er jare al oor Israel as ‘n Apartheidstaat gepraat. Die video gebruik ons Apartheidsgeskiedenis om die Israel-Palestina konflik, en die impak daarvan op mense, in perspektief te stel.

Die eerste saak is dat ons, veral Afrikaans-sprekende wit mense (jammer vir die etiketering), hierdie konflik moet probeer verstaan. Ek is oortuig dat ons nie net anders na ons eie geskiedenis gaan kyk nie – en daarmee bedoel ek nie dat ons onsself nou nog meer moet treiter en aan self-veroordeling moet deelneem nie. Ek dink ‘n poging om die konflik te verstaan kan ons selfs help met ‘n stuk genesing en perspektief oor wat met ons gebeur het, insig in wat ons blindekolle was. Die vrug kan wees dat ons met groter deernis na albei partye se posisie kan kyk.

Die tweede saak wat my bybly, is die vraag na die waarheid. Hoe kies ek “kant” in ‘n situasie waar daar soveel teenstrydige perspektief en aansprake op feite is? Feite wat ek baie moeilik kan kontroleer. Vir my lyk die antwoord dat ek ‘n geloofskeuse moet maak. So ‘n geloofskeuse het nie te doen met ek “glo” Israel, of ek “glo” Hamas is “reg” nie. Dit het te make met ‘n keuse wat versoenbaar is met ons Godsbegrip – wat natuurlik self ook nie ‘n eenvoudige saak is nie. Die geloofsuitspraak wat ek maak is: “Ek glo dat God ‘n God van lewe is”, daarom moet ek wat die saak betref keuses maak wat “lewe” sal bevorder. Met lewe bedoel ek nie maar net fisies lewe nie, maar ‘n lewe wat met waardigheid geleef kan word, in gehoorsaamheid aan ‘n roeping, met betekenis en ideale geleef kan word – natuurlik sluit dit in dat daar ook toegang moet wees tot die middele om so ‘n lewe te kan leef.

Ek dink nie dat die konflik vir enige burger van Israel of Palestina ‘n moontlikheid van so ‘n lewe bied nie. Die konflik is ‘n konteks van dood vir albei groepe – net soos Apartheid ‘n konteks van dood was vir wit en swart in Suid-Afrika. Ek is wel oortuig dat (selfs al is die DVD net 50% akkuraat) die Palestyne in hierdie konflik die weerloses is, en dat God op ‘n “besondere manier” (as ek Belhar se formulering mag gebruik) aan die kant van die armes, swakkes en weerloses is. Die sterker een, die een met die mag in hierdie konflik is Israel. Hulle word deur God geroep om aan God se kant te wees, m.a.w. om saam met God by die Palestyne te staan.

Hierdie konflik is veel meer as net ‘n reaksie op “Hamas het drie Israeli tieners doodgemaak, en daarom het Israel gereageer.” (Terloops dit is nog ‘n ope vraag of dit regtig Hamas was wat die tieners doodgemaak het!) Dit is ‘n dekade-oue konflik oor saam-leef en saam-bestaan, dit is ‘n konflik oor aspirasies en vrese, oor vryheid en veiligheid, oor identiteit en mens-wees. Dit is dalk so eenvoudig soos: Hoe kyk ek na jou? Is jy ‘n mens of nie, iemand of ‘n niemand?

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Die foto’s in hierdie stuk is in Oktober 2011 geneem in die Wes-Oewer, Palestina. Die fotograaf is Jan-Egil Bergh van Noorweë wat destyds saam met my menseregte-oortredinge gemoniteer het. (EAPPI is ‘n program van die Wêreldraad van Kerke. EAPPI program = Ecumenical Accompaniment in Palestine and Israel.)

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Jewish Holocaust survivors respond to Wiesel and call for justice in Gaza

40 Jewish survivors of the Nazi Holocaust and 287 descendants of survivors and victims issued a letter this weekend condemning Israel’s actions in Gaza. The letter, with signatories from 26 countries representing four generations of survivors, runs in the Saturday, August 23rd edition of the New York Times:

As Jewish survivors and descendants of survivors and victims of the Nazi genocide we unequivocally condemn the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and the ongoing occupation and colonization of historic Palestine.

Elie WieselElie Wiesel

Their letter is in reponse to a statement by Elie Wiesel, the Nobel prize-winning author, and Shmuley Boteach, an outspoken American-born Orthodox rabbi. An advert jointly written by Wiesel and Boteach called on David Cameron and other political leaders “to condemn Hamas‘ use of children as human shields”:

Elie wieseA part of the advertisement

The advertisement by Wiesel and Boteach was carried in US newspapers, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and the New York Observer. It compares the murder of children during the Holocaust to Hamas’ actions in Gaza. The Times of London declined to run it and the Guardian published a response for free. In an open letter on its website, the Stop The War coalition, the UK anti-war organisation, described the advert as a “wildly inaccurate and inflammatory advert from supporters of the state of Israel branding Palestinians opposing Israel in Gaza as ‘child killers’.”

The Holocaust survivors in turn expressed their dismay over Israel’s assault and misrepresentation of their shared history. Liliana Kaczerginski, daughter of a Vilna ghetto resistance fighter, said:

What Israel is doing goes against everything that my father fought for; it is a violation of my family’s memory and I am proud to honor them with my signature.

Hajo Meyer, a survivor of Auschwitz who lives in the Netherlands expressed outrage at the racism coming out of Israel:

The dehumanization of Jews is what made possible the Nazi genocide. In the same way, we are witnessing the escalating dehumanization of Palestinians in Israeli society.

 In their response letter, the survivors write:

We are disgusted and outraged by Elie Wiesel’s abuse of our history to justify the unjustifiable: Israel’s wholesale effort to destroy Gaza and the murder of more than 2,000 Palestinians, including many hundreds of children.

Dr Hani Jamah, a Palestinian living in California who lost 30 family members in an Israeli bombing said:

When Israel started it’s bombardment of Gaza, I turned on the news and discovered that 30 of my aunts and cousins had died in a single bomb blast. Joining my voice with 40 survivors of the Nazi genocide adds power to our call that we must work together to bring justice to Gaza.

Said Monadel Herzallah, who is part of the US Palestinian Community Network and has family in Gaza:

With the growing number of people around the world holding Israel accountable for its genocidal crimes, I applaud the courageous statements by holocaust survivors and their families being on the right side of justice,”  “Our children and grandchildren inside of Gaza deserve a life of believing that Never Again means Never Again for Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime.

Raphael Cohen, grandson of survivors who lives in the United States, called on people to take action to demand justice for Palestinians:

It is my own government paying for this violence. When governments won’t do what’s right, individuals and communities must speak out. That’s why I support the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions.

The signatories hope that their letter will strengthen the claim that the legacy of Jewish suffering must mean never again for anyone, least of all, to be used in defense of Israeli violence.

Signatories will be hosting a press conference on Monday, August 25th, 2014 at 11:00 am Eastern Time

[8/22/14 San Francisco, CA]
Press Contact: Lee Gargagliano – survivorsletter@gmail.com

UPDATE ON CHILDREN IN GAZA:

A UNICEF field officer in Gaza reported that to date, 469 chjildren died as a result of violence against Gaza since early July. The report added “there is not a single family in the tiny enclave that has not been touched by the current violence.”

“The impact is has truly been vast, both at a very physical level, in terms of casualties, injuries, the infrastructure that’s been damaged, but also importantly, emotionally and psychologically in terms of the destabilizing impact that not knowing, not truly feeling like there is anywhere safe place to go in Gaza,” Pernilla Ironside, Chief of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Gaza field office told a press conference at UN Headquarters.

UNICEF has 50 psychologists and counsellors in Gaza reaching out to children directly impacted by loss. They have reached 3,000, but the needs are “staggering” as parents are also in a state of trauma, Ms. Ironside said, noting that today 373,000 Palestinian children need “immediate psycho-social first aid.”

Meanwhile, Defence for Children International Palestine reported how a Palestinian child was used as a human shield by Israeli forces:

humanshield.profile2.21august2014_0Ahmad Abu Raida was only 16 when Israeli soldiers repeatedly used him as a human shield for five days in Khuza’a, southern Gaza

Ramallah, August 21, 2014—Israeli soldiers repeatedly used Ahmad Abu Raida, 17, as a human shield for five days while he was held hostage during Israel’s ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.

Ahmad, from Khuza’a, near the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis, was just 16 years old when he was taken from his family on July 23. He was forced at gunpoint to search for tunnels for five days, during which time he was interrogated, verbally and physically abused, and deprived of food and sleep. Ahmad told DCI-Palestine in a sworn testimony that Israeli soldiers attempted both to extract information from him regarding Hamas members, and recruit him as an informant, before releasing him on July 27.

“The Israeli military has consistently accused Hamas of using civilians – particularly children – as human shields, but this incident represents a clear case of their soldiers forcing a child to directly assist in military operations,” said Rifat Kassis, executive director of DCI-Palestine. “Israeli officials make generalized accusations while Israeli soldiers engage in conduct that amounts to war crimes.”

Ahmad’s ordeal began on July 21, when Israeli tanks entered Khuza’a, a town where Israeli forces allegedly committed war crimes during the the ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. After two days of hiding at home, Ahmad’s family and neighbors attempted to flee intense artillery fire. As they tried to leave, however, Israeli soldiers assembled civilians, separating young men from others.

Ahmad was singled out, detained with his hands tied behind his back, and kicked and insulted by a soldier. His family was released, but lost sight of him as they fled the area.

In the days that followed, despite not being associated with Hamas, Ahmad was interrogated about his political affiliation and the location of Hamas tunnels. He managed to sleep for just two hours on the first night, sitting in a chair with his hands tied behind him. Every day he was made to search for tunnels, including at one point digging under the afternoon sun.

Speaking to DCI-Palestine, Ahmad said, “[The Captain and the soldiers] were walking behind me, with their rifles pointed at me. “Get in and see if there are tunnels or not,” [the Captain] ordered me. They made me search all the rooms for tunnels. Whenever I told them there were no tunnels, they would take me out and search the room themselves.”

The war of words in uncovering the truth about Palestine: Edwin Arrison and Charles Villa Vicencio

In South Africa, apartheid propaganda was ultimately cracked by the alternative media and some brave local and international journalists. This article was written by two leading South Africans:

The Power of Truth in Palestine

by Edwin Arrison and Charles Villa Vicencio

edwinEdwin Arrison

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History has a capacity to repeat itself, as seen in much of the media reporting on Israel’s attacks on civilians in Gaza and, now, the West Bank. The first casualty of war is invariably truth, driven by the spin of the aggressor. Writing in a different situation, the late Chinua Achebe observed: “Until the lion learns to speak, the tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter”. The level of energy expended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Defence Force and their acolytes around the world in ‘explaining’ Israeli aggression is reminiscent of the response of the apartheid government to the atrocities of its forces during the anti-apartheid struggle. Remember the bluster of PW Botha and the Muldersgate Information Scandal?

Apartheid propaganda was ultimately cracked by the alternative media and some very brave journalists in the mainstream media at home and abroad. Public opinion slowly began to change and today fewer and fewer people claim ever to have supported apartheid! This came at a huge cost. The Sowetan was banned in 1977 and its editor Percy Qoboza imprisoned. The Rand Daily Mail was closed in March 1985 and Anton Harber started the Weekly Mail, now Mail & Guardian. Max du Preez and Jacque Pauw launched the Vrye Weekblad in November 1988, which was driven into bankruptcy in February 1994 by legal costs that rose from defending its accusation that poison was being supplied to the security police to kill activists. Numerous community newspapers were banned or driven out of business.

The power of the pen penetrates slowly but ultimately undermines mainstream propaganda. It succeeds even when it fails. In the words of Emily Dickinson, “the truth must dazzle gradually … or all the world would be blind.”

The Standing for the Truth campaign in the 1980s exposed the abuses of the South Africa security forces. Groups within the church prayed for the “downfall of the government” in a high-profile campaign, the Belhar Confession declared apartheid to be a heresy in 1982 and the 1985 Kairos Document exposed the hypocrisy of both “church theology” and the use of religion in “state theology” to justify apartheid and security force atrocities. Grassroots South Africans were mobilised, calling for the country to be made ungovernable. The boycott of South African goods, a ban on the sale of weapons to the South Africa state and an economic disinvestment campaign spread around the world. Eventually, even Margaret Thatcher’s government in the United Kingdom and the Reagan administration in the United States of America (USA) called the South African government to heal – primarily, out of self-interest as street protests, campus unrest and boardroom challenges intensified.

Signs are beginning to emerge of similar trends against Israel’s recalcitrance and claims of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Anglican Prayer Book includes liturgy for the renewal of baptismal vows that calls us to turn our backs on the “father of all lies”. The unmasking of truth is a requirement for Christians who seek to live out their baptismal promises.

The spread of technology on a mass scale constitutes a major step forward in the pursuit of peace, with Twitter and Facebook opening the way for new levels of “Citizen Journalism”. This helps to counter some of the propaganda that undermines the quest for truth, with several sites committing themselves to valuable fact-checking on media releases that accompany the episodes of violence in Gaza – as well as reports on social media. Someone observed: “You are entitled to your own opinions but not to your own facts!”

The struggle for press freedom in Israel and among Israelis living abroad continues, and the response of spokespersons for the Israeli government intensifies against them. Responding to the January 2009 Gaza War, Gerald Kauffman, a prominent back-bencher in the British parliament, whose parents fled Poland and whose ailing grandmother was shot dead in her bed by Nazis, insisted that she “did not die to provide cover for the killing of grandmothers in Gaza”. He was branded a self-hating Jew at the time, but undeterred and exasperated, he has liked the current activities of Israeli soldiers to those of the Nazis. The strident voice of Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe, is similarly dismissed in his exposure of the abusive use of religion to promote ultra-nationalist propaganda by some Zionists “who do not believe in God but believe [God] gave them Palestine.” The language-game intensifies and the list of ‘self-hating Jews’ grows ever-longer. Someone recently indeed suggested that even Jesus Christ would today have been called a self-hating Jew and anti-Semite.

There are also brave journalists that in balanced and restrained ways expose the atrocities of the Israeli invasion in a graphic manner. Channel Four’s Jon Snow describes the impossibility of not killing children as Israeli bombs and mortar-fire are used in Gaza City and its surrounds, hitting schools, make-shift clinics and UN facilities. The Washington Post reports on Israeli reservists refusing to be part of the invasion. The increase of such reporting in the United States of America, the European Union and the Gulf States has led to marches and protests in the major cities in these countries. This ultimately increases the pressure on pro-Israeli governments to rethink their support for Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights and political integrity.

In the meantime, the war of words, accusations and counter-accusations continues, while desperate deeds multiply. This is a context within which one asks why Hamas continues to fire rockets into the steel dome protecting Israel. It is a strategy that Israel exploits to its own benefit. The overkill of Israel in the slaughter of civilians is, however, even more perplexing. Palestinian children, who have never know peace in their entire lives are being killed, parents and family members fight back and a generation of desperate young people is being socially-engineered into determined enemies of Israel. With each child killed, a new wave of retaliation is unleashed.

The old adage that if you have the capacity to tell a lie consistently enough, it will be regarded as the truth, is only partly true. The Israeli propaganda war is being increasingly undermined by the ‘tales of the hunted’, as was the case in media reports of the killing of Hector Peterson, Ashley Kriel and other brave martyrs in the South African struggle.

The reality is that there are more Western interests at stake in the Middle East than there are in South Africa, tucked away on this southern tip of Africa. It is also clear that some Gulf States are offering support to Israel as a way of pursuing their own interests in the broader Sunni-Shite conflict. These realities make the Palestinian conflict a more difficult one to overcome than the struggle against apartheid. War, violence and slaughter is likely to ebb and flow in Palestine for the foreseeable future and this has a capacity to wear down even Israel’s loyalist supporters. It is not going to go away until Palestinian human rights are recognised, borders are opened and the democratic rights of Palestinians are recognised in the land of their birth. The apartheid government was forced to concede this reality.

So what is the way forward?

  • Support for an unconditional cease-fire between Israel and Palestine, executed under even-handed international supervision, with an irrevocable timetable for delivery on the lifting of the Israeli siege, the opening of borders and the beginning of a peace process in an ever-intensifying conflict.
  • An immediate start of unconditional negotiations between the authentic, elected leaders of both Israel and the Palestinians, which includes Hamas. Like them or not, Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections, and currently Hamas and the Fatah faction of Palestinian Authority are exploring rapprochement initiatives.
  • The exposure of the truth underpinning a conflict that has endured since 1946. This needs to include the squeezing of Palestinians into ever-smaller pieces of land, reminiscent of South African Bantustans.
  • The end to Jewish settlements on the West Bank. Israel already occupies 78% of what was formerly called Palestine, while continuing to build illegal settlements on the West Bank. This squeezes the Palestinian people out of their own land, making a two-state solution increasingly impossible.
  • Solidarity with the Palestinian people as reflected in the Palestinian Kairos Document.
  • In the absence of an agreed seize-fire, accompanied by a timetable for lasting peace, there needs to be unqualified support for the boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign. This is one of the few viable ways of supporting the non-violent campaign of the Palestinian people. Failure to do this makes us complicit in the violence that continues to unfold in Gaza and the West Bank.
  • Remembering that the United Nations declared apartheid to be a crime against humanity, campaigns need to be intensified to ensure that Israel’s policies in the occupied territories are dealt with in a similar manner.
  • Truth, resistance, solidarity and unfettered negotiations are limited endeavours. They offer no quick-fix. They do provide a modest alternative to war. What is clear, is that the churches have a responsibility to stand with people of other faiths and all people committed to truth and human dignity to affirm the words of Nelson Mandela: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” We can say no less, and commit ourselves to act accordingly.

The Geo-Strategic significance of Gaza

Ordinary citizens in all parts of the world without exception, want radical changes in the way the global commons is governed: politically, economically, financially and socially. There is a deep discontent with the “the way the world is organized and works”.

Andre ZAAIMAN - MindSIGHT

PONDERING POINTS: Short, quick-and-dirty pieces of thinking out loud

PP1: The The Geo-Strategic Significance of Gaza

©Andre ZAAIMAN 2014

“Thus in the beginning the world was so made that certain signs come before certain events.”  

Cicero

The current violent assault by Israel on a territory (Gaza) and a people (Palestinians) that it has displaced and occupies – and on Hamas in particular – has, at a tactical level, its domestic roots in the 2005 unilateral “withdrawal” of Israel from Gaza by the then Government of Ariel SHARON. It signaled the end of the “peace process” which had already by then, especially following the 1995 murder of Yitzhak RABIN by a fellow Israeli Jew and the death of the Palestinian leader Yasser ARAFAT in 2004 – a year after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq – started to morph from a real peace process into a mere extension of war-by-other-means.

As…

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The world’s writers, poets and journalists condemn Israel’s targeting of specific journalists in Gaza

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As a member of PEN Afrikaans who is affiliated with PEN International, I welcome the following statement:

pen gazaSince 8 July 2014, when the Israel Defence Force (IDF) began ‘Operation Protective Edge,’ Israeli forces have reportedly killed seven journalists and media workers.

PEN International condemns the killings and the reported deliberate targeting of certain journalists, media organizations and their infrastructures that have taken place during Israel’s offensive in Gaza.

“Freedom of expression has an invaluable role to play in time of war,” said John Ralston Saul, president of PEN International. “Only through a wide spectrum of reporting can the public come to understand and form opinions on what is happening.”

This wide spectrum of reporting is dependent upon the ability of journalists and writers to function in conflict situations. All governments are obliged to ensure that journalists are afforded their right to protection as civilians in a war zone.

Since 8 July 2014, when the Israel Defence Force (IDF) began ‘Operation Protective Edge,’ Israeli forces have reportedly killed seven journalists and media workers and wounded another fifteen, six of whom were reporting on protests in the West Bank.

The most recent killings occurred on 29 July, when – in separate attacks – the IDF struck the home of Ezzat Abu Duhair, a young correspondent with the Al-Huriya Media Network; he and four members of his family were killed. That same day, Bha’a al Graieb, the manager of the Hebrew news department of Palestine TV was killed by an aerial strike whilst taking his daughter to a hospital in Rafah City.

Media outlets have also been attacked or destroyed during the bombardment, including the offices of the National Media Agency, the offices of Wattan Radio station, the offices of Aljazeera TV and three offices belonging to the Hamas Al-Aqsa TV channel and radio station.

Israel has issued a press release saying that it would not accept responsibility for injury to journalists or damage to equipment suffered during reporting from the field.

International journalists can often alert the IDF to their positions – and so avoid some danger. Not all Palestinian journalists have the means to do this.

The fact that some media serve as propaganda tools does not justify making them a military target. The deliberate targeting of journalists and media outlets is a violation of international law and denies reporters their right to protection as civilians in a war zone.

For more information contact Sahar Halaimzai, Communications and Campaigns Manager: sahar.halaimzai@pen-international.org +44 (0) 207 405 0338

Pen International promotes literature and freedom of expression. Founded in 1921, the global community of writers now spans more than 100 countries. PEN International is a non-political organisation which holds Special Consultative Status at the UN and Associate Status at UNESCO.

To see the article on PEN International’s website, click here.

For more, click here.

Israel’s “right to defend itself” critiqued by Palestinian liberation theologian, Naeem Ateek

Israel, with support from the US, propagates that its actions in Gaza are carried out only because “Israel has the right to defend itself”. Rev. Dr. Naeem Ateek states in the piece below why he does not agree. Naim

naim 3Naeem Ateek is well known as a Palestinian Christian theologian. He co-shaped the Palestinian liberation theology and was the first to articulate it in his book, Justice, and only Justice, a Palestinian Theology of Liberation.

Sabeel, Jerusalem – For the sake of the burning children of Gaza
July 30, 2014

One of the most common refrains repeated by President Obama and other western leaders since the beginning of Israel’s massive military offensive against Gaza is, “Israel has the right to defend itself.” This refrain is not new and has been declared so often, it has become a cliché. Some leaders parrot it without even thinking. Israel has used such clichés as a justification for its actions as well as an excuse to further its carnage. As of July 29, the death toll in Gaza is over 1100 people, mostly civilians, and includes 243 children (http://www.ochaopt.org). In addition, around 53 Israeli soldiers and 3 Israeli civilians have died.

Under these circumstances, is Israel able to justifiably claim this right to defend itself?
First, we should consider that there is no clear “self” for Israel to defend. Israel steadfastly refuses to define its borders. Israel’s expansionist policies under the pretext of security have extended its “borders” deep into the Palestinian territories and the Syrian Golan Heights, in contravention of international law. Furthermore, as a state that is occupying another state that includes Gaza for the last 47 years, Israel stands in violation of international law and humanitarian law. In light of the fact that Israel has no defined borders and is occupying another state, it is not even possible to define the “self” that Israel has a right to defend.

Second, it is important to note that Israel does not have a moral or legal right to claim that it is “defending” itself so long as it is occupying another state. Let us take the Iraq-Kuwait war as an example. Suppose after Iraq occupied Kuwait, some of the Kuwaitis started firing rockets at Iraqi cities as their way of forcing Iraq to end its illegal occupation. In such a circumstance, would we consider Iraq as having a right to “defend” itself? Or would we rather see Iraq as the instigator and aggressor?

Morally speaking, so long as international law and the United Nations consider Israel as occupying Palestine, Israel is not defending itself, it is defending its occupation and its Zionist project. When the occupation ends, Israel possesses the legal and moral right to defend itself, and with that we can all stand. But so long as it is defending its occupation through collective punishment and disproportionate military might, which is illegal under international law, its claims appear deviously deceitful and hollow. Furthermore, Israel can get away with impunity.

Finally, are Obama’s words about Israel’s security and her right to “defend itself” credible in the presence of the burning children of Gaza? Is the war Israel is conducting credible in light of these children, held captive and unable to leave Gaza, killed for the crime of being born on the wrong side of an arbitrary border, killed while hiding in their homes, playing soccer on the beach, and taking refuge in UN safe spots? Nothing can legally or morally legitimize the indiscriminate killing of a captive civilian population. No statements, no claims, no actions, no matter how profound, can hold up in the presence of the burning and torn up little bodies of innocent children. They are utterly meaningless, reprehensible and blasphemous.

Therefore, it is important to emphasize the following points:

  1. The international community needs to empower the UN to resolve the conflict between Israel and Palestine. We have been caught in a destructive cycle. Every few years the situation reaches its boiling point, warfare begins, and thousands of Palestinians are killed and injured, mainly civilians – women, children, elderly, and disabled. The international community has been lethargic, impotent, and unwilling to implement its own resolutions on Palestine. The international community has the responsibility to resolve this seemingly intractable conflict. The UN needs to be empowered to do its work.
  2. International law unequivocally gives occupied people the right to shake off the yoke of the occupier through various means including the armed struggle. While this is true and needs to be remembered in considering this situation, Sabeel has always stood for the moral right of liberation through nonviolent means.
  3. The Palestinian rockets from Gaza have an important message that Israel refuses to understand and the western powers, especially the United States, are unwilling to comprehend. The message of the rockets addresses the core issues and the root causes of the problem – STOP THE ISRAELI OCCUPATION AND FREE PALESTINE. If this does not happen, the war will occur again and again and again, and the casualties will be mainly women and children. This conflict will continue to flare up, despite anyone’s best efforts to contain it, unless the systemic injustice of occupation is dismantled. A recent statement from Israeli academics cuts straight to the point: “Israel must agree to an immediate cease-fire and start negotiating in good faith for the end of the occupation and settlements, through a just peace agreement”( http://haimbresheeth.com/gaza/an-open-letter-to-israel-academics-july-13th-2014/statement-by-israeli-academics-july-2014/).
  4. Our plea is to all people of conscience in Israel. You need to become engaged. The present political course is driving Israelis and Palestinians further apart and is leading us to an impending disaster worse than we are witnessing today. We all must stop nurturing extremism. Israelis and Palestinians have to live together in this land. God has put us here, we need to share it. The alternative is untenable.
  5. A stable peace can only be realized when justice, in accordance with international law,is achieved for both Israel and Palestine.Source: http://necefsabeel.ca/?p=713

SA-EAPPI calling on South African society, churches and government for action re Israel

South Africa’s members of the World Council of Churches EAPPI programme fully endorses the newly formed NC4P (National Coalition for Palestine) and they ask for more steps:

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STATEMENT BY SA-EAPPI ON PALESTINE AND ISRAEL
31 July 2014

We, as a group of 70 South African ecumenical accompaniers who have monitored and reported human rights abuses in Palestine cannot remain silent at a time like this. We remember how often Palestinians told us that if we as South Africans can have a just freedom, then it must be possible for them too.

South African ecumenical accompaniers have worked side to side with other internationals in occupied Palestine since 2004 in the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine Israel (EAPPI). EAPPI was established by the World Council of Churches in response to a call from the Heads of Churches in the Holy Land. EAPPI provides protective presence to the vulnerable Palestinian communities and supports Palestinians and Israelis working together for peace. We have witnessed multiple and layered injuries and losses by Palestinians whether Christian or Muslim. We value and recognise the safety and dignity of all those in Israel and Palestine. Yet we are not impartial when it comes to international law.

SA-EAPPI is appalled and devastated with the ongoing bombings, shelling and rocket firing in Israel and Palestine. However we absolutely reject any arguments that position the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis as two equal sides. The disproportionate killing of civilians including so many children horrifies us. That people are deprived of shelter, food, electricity, water and the hope of freedom is a source of shame to all who value the sacredness of life and the protection of international law. The current escalation in the conflict is not a war, let alone an act of self-defence, but a punitive, planned, strategic, militant expedition by a regional super-power to deepen Israel’s military occupation of Palestine. Moreover, Israel’s systematic, systemic, institutionalised oppression of the Palestinians that violates international law on a daily basis makes the conflict a-symmetric.

SA-EAPPI endorses the Memorandum to the South African Government issued by the National Coalition for Palestine (NC4P) on 28 July 2014 in Cape Town. In addition, we appeal to:

  • South African citizens to not buy any Israeli produce or services;

  • all faith communities to critically review their interpretations of sacred texts in a quest to uphold those values and principles that foster the flourishing of life for all;

  • South African churches to take a clear and unequivocal stand for justice and a viable peace;

  • the South African government to break its resounding silence and to demonstrate to the world what sustained, visible solidarity can mean for the freedom of an oppressed people;

  • the United Nations’ Security Council to agree on resolutions to end both the conflict and the occupation, and to appoint an honest and an impartial broker for peace talks between Palestine and Israel; and

  • the international society to ensure the consistent implementation of international law.

 

Twee Suid-Afrikaanse EAPPI span: Carol in die agtergrond, en Zodwa in die voorgrond.  Zodwa neem by Carol oor in die Jayyous span.

East-Jerusalem: Carol Martin and Zodwa Nsibande during the handover ceremony between EAPPI Teams 40 and 41 in September 2011.

Hiroshima to Israel: Stop indiscriminate killings in Gaza

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We the citizens of Hiroshima, the city that was completely destroyed by indiscriminate atomic bombing 69 years ago, demand that the Israeli Government immediately stops indiscriminately killing and injuring Palestinian civilians. So far more than 500 people have been killed and about 3,600 injured as a result of continuous aerial bombing and bombardment on the ground, which started on July 8 and July 18 respectively. More than 80 percent of these casualties are ordinary civilians, in particular, women and children, not members of Hamas that Israel calls terrorist Islamic fundamentalists. Clearly such indiscriminate killing and injuring of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli military forces are crimes against humanity and war crimes. More than 60,000 people are now displaced within the Gaza Strip and struggle to survive under intense fear for their lives. Yet, the Israeli government is planning to further escalate indiscriminate attacks on the Palestinians. We strongly condemn such actions, which cannot be rationalized in any way.

The reason for the present mass killing is said to have been the discovery of the dead bodies of three missing Israeli boys near Hebron in Palestinian territory on June 30. Hamas denies responsibility, but Israel’s Prime Minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, claims they were murdered by Hamas, hence the retaliation. On July 7, a 16-year-old Palestinian boy was abducted and killed after his body had been doused in kerosene and set alight. Yet, it should be remembered that one month before the murder of the three Israeli boys, two Palestinian boys were cold-bloodedly killed by Israeli soldiers. This incident is also related to the vicious cycle of escalating violence.

According to one source, during the search for the above-mentioned three Israeli boys, Israeli occupation soldiers murdered 7 Palestinians (including a 13 year old child), injured dozens, kidnapped nearly 400 people, demolished many houses, destroyed the contents of hundreds of homes that they invaded in the middle of the night and blocked travel attempts by hundreds of thousands of people. They continue to imprison thousands of others, many of whom are on hunger strikes for being held without charge for months.

In retaliation for such actions by Israeli soldiers, Hamas began launching rocket bombs at Israel, thereby intensifying the reciprocal military violence. The recent attempted rocket attack on the Dimona Nuclear Power Plant in southern Israel by Hamas is of particular concern. It is extremely lucky that this attempt failed. As Japanese citizens, we are well aware of the devastating consequences of the use of nuclear weapons and nuclear power accidents, due to our personal experience of such disasters on our home soil. It is this knowledge that causes us to strongly condemn both the possession of nuclear weapons by Israel and the rocket attack on the Israeli nuclear power plant by Hamas.

To date, Israel has repeatedly violated international law by indiscriminately attacking Palestinian civilians and their domains. From the year 2000 until immediately before the recent onset of aerial bombing, 1,407 Palestinian children were the victims of indiscriminate attacks by Israeli forces. In other words, over the past 14 years on average two children were killed every week. In May this year alone, 214 minors were arrested, detained and tortured without charge or trial. For years many children in the Gaza Strip have suffered malnutrition, resulting in anemia, due to the shortage of food and medicine as a result of the blockade by the Israeli government. In addition, many children suffer serious psychological problems caused by intense and long-lasting fear, due to repeated aerial bombing and bombardment.

We urge Israeli politicians, military officers and soldiers, as well as civilians to imagine the pain and sorrow of Palestinian children and parents, in particular those of parents who have lost their children because of your indiscriminate and inhumane attacks. Such horrific acts upon Palestinians will only cause them to hate Israel more, and thus produce no solution at all. This logic is self evident from your past actions repeated over many years.

It is crystal clear that the real cause of the present tragedy is not the recent reciprocal killing of boys, but the illegal occupation and colonization of the Gaza Strip and the grave violation of Palestinian human rights by Israel over the last half-century. A situation where 1.8 million people are confined to an area of 360 km square, suffering from acute poverty and intense violence, cannot be called an “autonomous region.” It could more appropriately be called a “detention camp.” It is indeed tragic to see a nation, which suffered so badly as a result of the horrendous holocaust by the Nazis during World War II and which lost so manly lives as a consequence, committing “crimes against humanity” against a neighboring nation over the past 50 years or so. As citizens of the city, which became the victim of a nuclear holocaust, we urge you to take the following actions. These are based on our commitment to non-military violence or any other form of violence, in particular the killing or injuring of others. We beg you to

1) Immediately stop the indiscriminate aerial bombing of Palestinian civilians
2) Immediately stop the ground targeted bombardment of Palestinian civilians
3) Immediately stop killing Palestinian civilians, in particular children
4) Stop violating the human rights of Palestinian civilians
5) Stop the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories

We strongly urge you to cease your on-going illegal actions, to respect basic human rights of all people including Palestinians, and to establish and implement new policies based on peace and justice as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely
July 21, 2014

Yuki Tanaka, a citizen of Hiroshima, on behalf of the following 14 organizations in Hiroshima:

  • The August 6 Peace Assembly in Hiroshima (Representative: Dr. Yuki Tanaka)
    Tenma-Cho 13-1-810, Naka-Ku, Hiroshima City, 733-0022, Japan
  •  Kure YWCA (Representative: Ms. Hiroko Kimura)
  • Saiwai-cho, Kure City, Hiroshima Prefecture 737-0028, Japan
  • The Northeast Asian Information Center (Representative: Mr. Yukio Yokohara)
    Itsukaichi Chuo 4-14-1-205, Hiroshima City, 731-5128, Japan
  • The Peace Link Hiroshima, Kure and Iwakuni (Co-Representatives: Mr. Hideki Nitta, Mr. Yukio Nishioka, Mr. Jungen Tamura) c/o Kure YWCA, Saiwai-cho, Kure City, Hiroshima Prefecture 737-0028, Japan
  • The Hiroshima Association of Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution (Representative: Ms. Sumiko Fujii) Ujina Miyuki 1-9-26-413, Minami-Ku, Hiroshima City, 734-0015, Japan
  • The Hiroshima Civil Association for No Nuclear Power (Representative: Mr. Shoji Kihara)
    Ebizono 2-17-9, Saeki-Ku, Hiroshima City, 731-5135, Japan
  • The Hiroshima Association for the Establishment of the Future with Friendly Environment (Co-Representatives: Ms. Maki Tokioka, Ms. Noriko Yumiba, Ms. Ayako Nagahashi) Phone: +81-80-1934-0866
  • The Hiroshima Cooperative Center for Japan’s Constitution and Peace (Representative: Mr. Kazuyuki Senko) Ote-Machi 4-2-27, Naka-Ku, Hiroshima City, 737-0051, Japan
  • The Hiroshima Association for the Establishment of Peaceful, Democratic and Reformed Japan (Representative: Mr. Katsumi Toshimoto) Ote-Machi 4-2-27, Naka-Ku, Hiroshima City, 737-0051, Japan
  • The Hiroshima Committee of AALA Solidarity (Representative: Ms. Noriko Hayashi)
    Ote-Machi 4-2-27, Naka-Ku, Hiroshima City, 737-0051, Japan
  • The Committee of Social Concerns, West Chugoku Area, the United Church of Christ in Japan (Representative: Yoshihiro Jinbo) Minami Sakae 3-1-29, Otake City, Hiroshima Prefecture 739-0602, Japan
  • Hiroshima YWCA (Representative: Ms. Yasue Nakarai) c/o Hiroshima Shujo Church, Wakakusa Cho 6-7, Higashi-Ku, Hiroshima City 732-0053, Japan
  • The Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (Co-Representatives: Dr. Katsuaki Aoki, Dr. Yuki Tanaka, Ms. Haruko Moritaki) c/o Adachi Shuichi Law Firm, Jyohoku Building 2F, Hakushima 18-4, Naka-Ku, Hiroshima City, 730-0005, Japan
  • The Religious Association of Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution (Representative: Mr. Shozo Muneto) c/o Nobori Machi Catholic Church, Hiroshima City, 730-0016, Japan

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