Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Prominent Israeli Writers, Law Professors, and Intellectuals Back "Breaking the Silence"
On the front page of the print edition of yesterday's Haaretz, the following advertisement appeared: "Enforce the Law in Hebron! "For the past three years activists of the "Breaking the Silence" organization have been conducting tours in the city of Hebron. "More than 5000 people have participated in one of the 300 tours that the organization has conducted in the last three years. The aim of the tours, conducted by veterans who have served in the city either as regular or reservist soldiers, is to expose to the Israeli public what is happening in the city of the patriarchs. This activity has encountered from the outset violent opposition from the setters in the Hebron, and has had to overcome difficulties from the security forces. Over the last few days, certain persons in the Israeli Police, including the commander of the Hebron District, Avshalom Peled, have called the activists, "provocateurs," "militants," and "lawbreakers." Assertions such as these, which aren't supported with any real facts or evidence, arouse the suspicion of political persecution. The background for these absurd statments is the weakness of the police, and its unreadiness to discharge the state's commitment, within the framework of the petition against obstructing the tours, submitted recently to the High Court of Justice. In response to the state's commitment to the court to permit a renewal of the tours, the settlers increased their attacks, and they continue to obstruct physically the tours. Caving in to the settlers's violence, the police have prevented the tours from being conducted. As always in Hebron, violence pays. "We demand that the Israeli Police retract their scandalous and unsubstantiated assertions. "We demand that the Israeli Police enable "Breaking the Silence" to conduct the tours in Hebron. "We demand that the Israeli Police enforce the law with respect to the Hebron settlers. "We call upon the Israeli public to take part in these important tours and to see for themselves the horrible reality in Hebron." [Signed] Shulamit Aloni, Michael Ben Yair, General (res.) Shlomo Gazit, Ruth Dayan, Michal Zamora Cohen, A. B. Yehoshua, Prof. Yirmiyahu Yovel, Shomo Cohen (former chairman of the Israeli Bar Association), Amos Oz, Sami Michael, Colonel (res.) Paul Kedar, Yair Tzaban, Yehoshua Kenaz, Prof. Mordecai Kremnitzer, Judith Karp, Yair Rotloy, Yossi Sarid