Kim Bullimore, Tel Aviv
As Israeli and international peace activists gathered outside of the David Intercontinental Hotel on Sunday night, the tune of Madonna's hit Holiday blared from the speakers, only the words had been changed.
"Holiday, Educate! Holiday, Liberate! While you're on holiday, oh yeah, take some time to educate. Occupation is no life. There are no basic human rights".
The demonstration organised by the Israeli peace group, Coalition of Women for Peace and Justice (CWPJ), had been staged to coincide with pop megastar Madonna Ciccone's visit to Tel Aviv and her holiday pilgrimage to Israel, a consequence of her new-found faith in the mystical Jewish Kabbalah.
Many of the peace activists attending the rally were dressed in parody of both Madonna and the IDF and carried placards saying "Madonna, it's a land grab" and "Holiday in Palestine".
Activists attending the rally pointed out to the waiting media that while Madonna was enjoying the Jewish high holidays, 3.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are under lockdown and closure. During the three-week holiday period, Palestinians face increased restriction on their already limited ability to move freely through the West Bank and Gaza, with additional roadblocks and checkpoints established and mobile IDF units patrolling the Occupied Territories. Numerous Palestinian towns and villages are under complete closure ensuring that residents can not leave or enter.
CWPJ spokesperson, Ivy Sichel told Green Left Weekly that they were protesting because of "Madonna's ignorance of the things that are happening in spiritual places that she had been visiting".
"Rachel's Tomb [which Madonna had visited in Bethlehem and which is located in Occupied Palestine] is being annexed to the Israeli side and a new settlement and the wall is being built around it", said Sichel.
From Green Left Weekly, September 29, 2004.
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