Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Call to Action!

Dear Friend,

Too often, I send you information, with no call for action. This is a call for action. Take a few minutes to understand this appeal.

Click on the links. Register your opposition to this proposed action by the Israeli Miliary to destroy this village's energy source.

Faithfully yours, and with thanks to Pauline Coffman of the PCUSA IPMN (Israel/Palestine Mission Network). JRK

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: EAPPI Advocacy Officer
Date: Thu, Nov 10, 2011 at 7:27 AM
Subject: URGENT ACTION APPEAL: Israeli Military to Demolish Clean Energy Supply Serving 390 PalestiniansTo: EAPPI Advocacy Officer


The Israeli military plans to demolish a set of solar panels in Imneizil, a village in the south Hebron hills, cutting off the power to forty families, a health clinic and a school. The solar plant is the village’s only source of electricity, and is subject to a military order effective from today (Thursday, 10 November 2011).

Imneizil is off the electricity, water and sewage networks due to military restrictions on Palestinian development in Area C (62 percent of the West Bank). Two years ago, a Spanish NGO installed solar panels on land belonging to the village, replacing expensive gasoline generators. The Israeli military refused to grant a building permit for the panels.

A few weeks ago, villagers found a demolition order near a fence around the panels. Israeli organization Rabbis for Human Rights launched a legal campaign against the demolition, arguing that the panels did not require a building permit in the first place, and that electricity is a basic humanitarian need. Yet, after 39 appeals, the order remains and hope is fading that the half-million dollar project can be saved.

The prospect of being cut off again horrifies Mohammad Yousef, Imneizil School’s headmaster.

“Without electricity, the educational process comes to a standstill,” he says. “For instance there is the computer.The printer. And then maybe you have a documentary film to show the students. You become unable to provide educational materials.”

Additional Information:

The solar panels were installed by SEBA, a Spanish NGO, in coordination with Al-Najah University in Nablus. The total cost was €365,500 of which the Spanish Cooperation supplied €290,000. For more information on the project, please contact Carlos Sordo at


Article 23 of the Hague Convention of 1907 clearly states that, “it is especially forbidden (for the occupier) to destroy or seize the enemy's property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war."

Article 53
of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 states, “Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.”


We encourage you to:

·Forward this email to your networks

·Inform your representative in parliament about what is happening in Imneizil

·Contact the following officials and call on them to allow Palestinians in Area C to have free access to electricity, water and sewage infrastructure without the threat of demolitions:

oYour Ambassador and/or Consul General in Israel

oThe Israeli Ambassador in your country

oIsraeli Minister of Defense:

§Ehud Barak

§Ministry of Defence

§Fax: +972 3 691 6940/696 2757


§Salutation: Dear Minister

oIsraeli Military Judge Advocate General:

§Major General Avihai Mandelblit

§Fax: +972 3 569 4526/608 0366


§Salutation: Dear Judge Advocate General

oIsraeli Military Chief of Staff

§Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz

§Fax: +972 3 691 6940/ 697 6218
§ Salutation: Dear Lieutenant-General

Nader Hanna
Advocacy Officer
Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine & Israel (EAPPI)
P.O. Box 741
Jerusalem 91000
Tel: +972 2 628 9402
Fax: +972 2 627 4499
Mobile: +972 54 815 7652



Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Roger Cohen weighs in, Again

November 7, 2011

The Last Jew in Zagare


ZAGARE, LITHUANIA — The last Jew in Zagare, a small Lithuanian town renowned for its cherries, died in September. His name was Aizikas Mendelsonai, born in 1922. He was not buried in either of the two Jewish cemeteries, with their lurching gravestones, faded inscriptions and advancing lichen. Nobody is any more, not even Jews.

At his birth, Mendelsonai was one of almost 2,000 Jews living in Zagare, with its seven synagogues, its Hebrew school and its Jewish People’s bank. Jews made up about 40 percent of the town’s population. Then, in swift succession, came Soviet annexation, blamed by many on “Jewish Bolsheviks,” and Nazi occupation, bent on annihilation of the Jews.

The Nazis wasted little time after pushing into Lithuania in June, 1941. The Jews of Zagare were herded into a ghetto. Almost 1,000 Jews from nearby towns, including Siauliai, were forced to join them. On Oct. 2, 1941, they were ordered into the main square before being taken into the woods for execution by Nazi SS killers and their Lithuanian accomplices.

SS Standartenf├╝hrer Karl J├Ąger stated in a report that day that 2,236 Jews were killed in Zagare. In 1944, the Soviets, having fought their way back, examined a mass grave and found 2,402 corpses (530 men, 1,223 women, 625 children, 24 babies). Today, a visitor to Zagare — there are not many — is greeted by a sign pointing to woods of birch and pine: “Graves of the Victims of the Jewish Genocide.”

I recount these events for two reasons. The first is that my grandmother Pauline (“Polly”) Soloveychik was from Zagare, and my grandfather Morris Cohen was from Siauliai, and so I have a natural interest in what would have befallen them had they remained. Their hypothetical European fate was to die nameless in a nameless ditch.

Even at the end of her long life, lilacs could bring Polly to tears because they recalled Zagare; even then she spoke Russian to her parrot. Memory thrust her back in the woods where she had wandered.

The second reason is that I have been pondering the Zagare-Zionism link. The resilience of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — its capacity to last through the Cold War, the post-Cold War, the digital revolution, the rise of China, the Arab Spring — is due in part to the near-perfect equivalency of moral claim to the same land.

What emerged from the Holocaust — from the agony of every little Zagare — was the success of Zionism. Benny Morris, the Israeli historian, has written, “As the pogroms in Russia in the 1880’s had launched modern Zionism, so the largest pogrom of them all propelled the movement, almost instantly, into statehood.”

Through its vote of Nov. 29, 1947, calling for the establishment of two states in the Holy Land — one Jewish and one Palestinian Arab — the United Nations sought to expiate Nazi crimes by granting the Jews what Morris calls “an international warrant for a small piece of earth.”

The thing is, that piece of earth, birthplace of the Jewish people, was not empty. In fact, at the time of the U.N. vote, about 630,000 Jews faced about 1.3 million Palestinian Arabs in the Holy Land. Palestinians failed to see why they should pay for the Holocaust. Arab states, invoking Saladin’s triumph over the Crusaders, seeing in Israel a new expression of European colonialism, went to war against the U.N.’s will — and lost.

Einstein, arguing for Israel, wrote that, “In the august scale of justice, which weighs need against need, there is no doubt as to whose is more heavy.” The Arab League put the opposite case: “There can be no greater injustice and aggression than solving the problem of the Jews of Europe by another injustice” — against the Palestinian Arabs.

Solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict begins with accepting that there is no just outcome, none. Enough Jews and Arabs have died trying to prove the rightness of their cause. Imperfect compromise is the only way out of the spiral.

Carrying Zagare in my blood, aware of what centuries of Jewish precariousness have wrought, I believe the case for Israel was and remains overwhelming, but an Israel that condemns another people to permanent exile is not the one its founders imagined.

An Israeli state, a Palestinian state, economic union between them, international oversight of the holy places in Jerusalem and Bethlehem: The U.N. idea of 1947 is not a million miles from what any lasting peace must involve.

The second stage of solving the conflict is realizing there are no new ideas, none. The only option is gathering the will to reach the known trade-off.

I went to see the grave of Mendelsonai — the last Jew in Zagare. So, I thought, Zagare is finally Judenrein. In a sense the Nazis have won.

Then, nearby, I saw a European Union flag and thought, no.

Mendelsonai, in his 89 years, lived through five Lithuanias — independent, Soviet, Nazi, Soviet and independent. The last was best, a small state, secure, in NATO, tied in economic union with its neighbors, at peace even with Russia.

It’s amazing what putting the future above the past, jobs above some unattainable justice, can forge.

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