Back from the JCall’s trip to Israel and Palestine

In the context of a deadlocked political situation, the JCall trip that took place in Israel and Palestine between april 28th and may 4th 2013 has gathered 100 JCall members from Germany, Belgium, France, Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland with the aim of collecting information on security issues, the situation of the Arab citizens of Israel, the Palestinian Authority’s current position, the political changes around and in Jerusalem, the Jewish settlements’issue…

 

A visit meant to be open to a wide political spectrum:

 

On the Israeli side, meetings with settlers representing various currents; Sderot citizens, the city’s mayor and the officer in charge of the city’s security: in the Knesset, deputies of all leanings, from Reuven Rivlin (Likoud) to Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz); members and persons in charge of the Arab-Jewish center for Peace at Givat Haviva and, in Nazareth, Arab key figures of the city; militants working for the “Two-State solution” (two peoples for two states).

 

– On the Palestinian side, discussions with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Saman Khoury who took part in the Geneva initiative, inhabitants of a refugees’ camp near Bethleem, and a tour of the ghost town of Hebron whose main street, today watched over by the Israeli army, has been emptied of its residents.

 

– Debates with several analysts:  historians such as Elie Barnavi, experts in geopolitics such as Shaul Arieli or journalists  like Marius Shattner or Charles Enderlin.

 

The result of these meetings and of intellectuals’ and association militants’  speeches (such as Dani Dayan, former president of the settlements’ Council in Judea-Samaria and Avram Burg, former spokesman of the Knesset) and of the debates that followed, reinforces even more the feeling of urgency that prevailed over JCall’s birth: the colonization and the settlements’ extension ruin Israel’s credibility, impede the progress of negotiations and make the Two-State solution more and more problematic, even though it has been confirmed by a large consensus in Israel and has just now been revived by the recent proposals of the Arab League.

 

We come back with a double request from the Israeli democrats:

– a request addressed to the diaspora Jews to urge them to realize the increasing power of the settlers that endangers the democratic nature of Israel as well as the values we share with Israel;

– and a request addressed to the European community in order that it voices its concern for the future of Israel and intervenes before the “Two-State solution” is crossed off de facto in the field by taking very fast all possible steps to impede the extension of colonization.

 

A dark enough statement of fact, that does not exclude all hope yet, accompanied by a feeling of  race against the clock, in order that a future free of bloodshed takes shape for everyone.

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