Protest Israeli president's visit!

February 16, 2005

The following is abridged from a call issued by a group of Melbourne activists, who can be reached at <>.

In March, Israeli president Moshe Katsav will tour Australia. We are calling upon all concerned with the systematic injustices of the Israeli state to take this chance to protest.

We hope that this will be the first moment of new movements in this country opposed to apartheid Israel, as many opposed apartheid South Africa in the past — movements in solidarity with the Palestinians and all those oppressed by the state of Israel.

In the words of Dan Goldberg, editor of the Australian Jewish News: "The office of the Israeli presidency is the Jewish State personified. It is he who embodies the state, he who represents the people, to the very last one. His formal political role is mainly ceremonial, but his symbolic worth is second to none. He is, to all intents and purposes, 'Mr Israel'."

Katsav embodies over fifty years of discriminatory law and apartheid measures directed at the Palestinian inhabitants of Israel and Palestine.

Israel's brutal military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, from 1967 to the present, has involved constant suffering for the Palestinian people, daily acts of violence against them and the consistent violation of humanitarian law through the use of collective punishment, extrajudicial assassination, the illegal expropriation of land and resources, torture and illegal detention.

The visit to Australia by Katsav demands a response from Australians committed to peace and justice for all peoples in the Middle East. We call for major protests on March 1 in Sydney and March 3 in Melbourne to mark the visit of Katsav and signal our opposition to the systematic, brutal policies of the state of Israel.

These protests will signal the beginning of a serious campaign to end military cooperation between Australia and Israel and end other Australian support for Israeli apartheid.

These protests will demand an immediate end to the occupation in order to move towards equal rights, real self-determination, peaceful co-existence and reconciliation for all inhabitants of Israel and Palestine.

Free Palestine! Peace in the Middle East!

[Meetings to organise the Melbourne protest are on Mondays at 6.30pm in the meting room next to the New Internationalist Bookshop.]

From Green Left Weekly, February 16, 2005.
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