WLUML urges you to respond to the situation in Palestine

Women Living Under Muslim Laws are deeply concerned about the escalation of violence and the repeated violations by the Israeli state of the human rights of Palestinians living in Rafah town and refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip.
Our friends and allies in Palestine are in close contact with us, informing us of developments and have urged us to further circulate their calls for action. In particular, the Women's Affairs Technical Committees in Gaza have highlighted the urgent need to mobilise the international community, including women's groups, to support the Palestinian people and to call upon the Israeli authorities to stop their offensive on Rafah.
WLUML has responded to calls for action from the Coalition of Women for Peace in Israel and The Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO), both of which are calling upon the international community to immediately intervene to stop the destruction of lives and homes in Rafah by the Israeli authorities.

For more information about the situation in Rafah/Gaza, please visit:

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights

Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

WLUML urges you to respond to the following call for action.

In solidarity,

Women Living Under Muslim Laws



According to reports from women's groups we are in contact with in Gaza and from human rights groups, a full scale Israeli offensive on Rafah has left 56 people dead and more than 200 civilians wounded, including many children. In the past few days alone Israeli forces have destroyed over 140 homes in Rafah Refugee Camp leaving more than 2,197 homeless. Helicopter gunships and tanks attacked a peaceful demonstration, apparently leaving eight civilians dead, while there have been raids on houses and arrests of a number of Palestinians. Rafah has been isolated from its surroundings: food aid from the Red Cross and the UN has been blocked, and medical personnel have been denied access to the wounded. Electricity and water supplies and telephone communications have been cut off in most parts of the town.

Although the international media this afternoon reported an apparent Israeli military withdrawal from Gaza, local groups indicate that the military had pulled out of part of the refugee camp and continues to blockade the entrances to the camp, isolating it from the outside world. A continuous curfew is enforced in some areas with troops threatening to demolish further houses. A military officer said that the operation would not end in the coming days, and that the army had received no order to leave Rafah


The Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO) call for action can be found at:

Coalition of Women for Peace in Israel call for action is below:

18 May 2004


We need your help.

There is an emergency situation right now in the Gaza Strip and the town of Rafah, in particular, with scenes that bring to mind Israel's invasion of Jenin and Nablus in the spring of 2002. So far today, 18 Palestinians were killed, but the action continues. Last weekend, 116 homes were destroyed, making over a thousand people homeless (www.btselem.org). Hundreds more are slated for destruction. Amira Hass, filing dramatic daily reports from inside Rafah, describes the scenes of people grabbing their children and whatever comes to hand and fleeing their homes, anticipating the entry of the bulldozer-tanks (www.haaretzdaily.com). Even Yossi Sarid from the Yahad Party (formerly called Meretz), normally a staunch defender of the IDF, described actions in Rafah as "war crimes". My friend In'am called me from Gaza trembling with fear, and reported that the Palestinian news broadcaster broke down in tears as he spoke.

Many -- Israelis, internationals and Palestinians -- are desperately trying to halt the bloodshed. The Israeli women's peace movement just placed an ad in Ha'aretz calling for an immediate halt to the violence and renewal of negotiations for a peace agreement that will extract us from all the occupied territories ("True and enduring solutions," we wrote, "are attained by negotiation, not destruction, revenge or humiliation"). This morning, forty women drove to Gaza to see if they could intervene physically, but they are being prevented from entering Gaza by the army. The women have set up an encampment at the Sufa checkpoint and say they will not leave until the army stops its actions there. Other peace and human rights organizations have placed newspaper ads, and many are organizing a larger delegation to join the women on Friday.

International figures have begun to speak out, but we need more, and quickly. Can you please take a moment to write a letter (email or fax) or make a phone call to any or all of the list below? A sample letter is appended.

Please take a minute to try to save someone's life or home. Imagine that you had to walk out the door of your home at this very moment, with nothing but what your arms can carry, and you would never see your home or its contents ever again. Please make a couple of calls.

Gila Svirsky

Sample letter text:

There is an emergency situation in the Gaza Strip right now. Please demand that Prime Minister Sharon halt the death and destruction wrought there by the Israeli army. The cycle of bloodshed must end.

Contact people (First try the US, European and UN officials. All the fax numbers work):

(1) President George W. Bush -- Tel (202) 456-2461; Fax (202) 456-2461.

(2) Secretary of State Colin Powell -- Tel (202) 261-8577; Fax (202) 261-8577.

(3) US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer -- Tel in Israel: (+972-3) 519-7575 webmaster@usembassy-israel.org.il

(4) For those located in the US, your member of Congress: Call the Capital switchboard toll-free: 1-800-839-5276 and ask to be connected to your member of Congress.

For your information, you can send a free fax by internet (to certain places only, but definitely area code 202 in the US) at http://www.tpc.int/sendfax.html. Note that this is a service provided for free, but is not to be used for bulk fax mailings because they can only handle a relatively limited number of faxes at once. [Thanks, Mike Wolfson, for this info.]

(5) UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, coi@un.org

(6) Council of the European Union, public.info@consilium.eu.int

(7) European Union, civis@europarl.eu.int

(8) Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Fax (+972 2) 670-5361 rohm@pmo.gov.il

(9) Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz, Fax (+972 3) 691-6940 sar@mod.gov.il

(10) Minister of Justice Yosef Lapid, Fax: (+972 2) 628-5438 sar@justice.gov.il