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Between 2004 and 2010, Just Vision interviewed more than 80 Palestinian and Israeli grassroots leaders. The interviews in this archive represent a fraction of the civic leaders working in the field at a particular moment in time, and aim to provide audiences access to a range of perspectives and approaches.


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Gila Svirsky

Gila Svirsky is an activist and feminist, and became a leader in the Israeli peace movement following the outbreak of the first intifada in the late 1980s. She is a co-founder of the Coalition of Women for Peace, a consortium of peace organizations whose activities range from monitoring checkpoints, organizing demonstrations and vigils, and recently, organizing "reality tours" of the Wall for Israelis. Gila has been active with the New Israel Fund, B'Tselem, Kol HaIsha and other organizations addressing inequality both within Israel and across the Green Line.

  • Where are you from, and how did you get involved in peace work?

    Where I'm from is really very significant in relation to where I am today. I grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in an Orthodox Jewish community. There's a yeshiva high school in Elizabeth and I went through the yeshiva. My parents were both immigrants, my mother actually came to the United States by way of Palestine in 1935. She was a very staunch Zionist, a right-wing Jabotinsky follower, and both of them cared deeply about Yiddishkeit,1 so they sent me through the yeshiva even though they themselves were not practicing Orthodox. I also went to all sorts of art and Zionist programs, including Camp Massad, every summer, which was a Hebrew speaking, Zionist Orthodox camp, which filtered many people into Israel afterwards, some to settlements, and some not. Interestingly, the directors and the visionaries of this camp are themselves liberal Zionists and opposed to occupation, but many of the people who went to this camp turned sharply Right afterwards. I grew up feeling very strongly Zionist. I moved here when I was 19 and was part of the religious, Orthodox milieu in Israel, I voted NRP, Mafdal, and I felt very comfortable in the Bnei Akiva crowd, the Rehavia, Jerusalem group.2 There was gradual change, and then there was a moment of deep insight. The gradual change came because I married a man who was not Orthodox, and he had a profound effect on my thinking. He was a staunch Laborite,3 and believed very strongly that Labor Zionism—socialism—was the correct way. I began to think that Labor was a better place to vote, and that's how it went in the early years. The settlement movement had already begun, right after the Six Day War. I came to Jerusalem in 1966. The settlement movement began right after the Six Day War and took off in the 1970s. In the early '70s, before I was married, I went to a settlement just south of Jerusalem, in Gush Etzion, with friends, and thought about whether or not this was right for me, but I decided to return to Israel.

    • 1. A Yiddish word meaning "having to do with Jewish culture."
    • 2. A predominantly Jewish neighborhood in West Jerusalem.
    • 3. A supporter of the Labor Party, or Mifleget Avodah in Hebrew. One of two major political parties in Israel that tends toward the center-left of the political spectrum, it emerged from the labor Zionist movement in the 1930s. Its leaders include many of the principal founders of the State of Israel, including the first Israeli Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion. Founded on socialist and Zionist principles, it dominated the Israeli government until 1977. Labor became the leading Israeli political party favoring territorial compromise for peace, and was the party that first officially recognized the PLO when Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres signed the Declaration of Principles and launched the Oslo Peace Process with Yasser Arafat in 1993.

  • Did moving to Jerusalem instead of a settlement feel like an ideological choice at the time?

    It was more convenient; it was not an ideological choice. Now I think I'd have to say that it was watching the settler movement evolve in the '70s and my husband's critique of that movement made me think something was wrong with what they were doing. Not on strong ideological grounds, but based on some sensibility that what they were up to was maybe not in keeping with some of our values. As I say, it wasn't that strong, a bit of ambivalence, and that's how it went. I was voting Labor, and completely outside the realm of politics. We had a group of friends that are further to the Left than we are and when the Lebanon War broke out in the early '80s, I thought to myself, "Something is beginning to be wrong here with the policies of the government." And I went to my first Peace Now demonstration. At the demonstration I met my new friends who were Ratz voters, and, I remember clearly, Benny said to me, "I feel uncomfortable here at this demonstration, our boys are up there giving their best and we're demoralizing them by being here." I said to him, "I feel the same way, but I think we should really get out. I'm feeling that in balancing the two, I would rather be here." But it was also not cut and dried for me. That was the 1980s of the Lebanon War. The Sabra and Shatila massacre was a turning point of one sort for me, when I came to the realization that there was something horribly awry with the government's enunciated policy and the facts on the ground. The more I became thoughtful about the conflict between what we were doing and my understanding of the mission of Israel, the more I felt pushed into a position of opposition, and that's when I began to vote Ratz, in the 1980s.

  • You started by saying that there was this vague sense that there was something wrong with the government's policies. Would you further articulate what that was?

    A few months later, I had an invitation to somebody's home to meet a Palestinian friend. I had never before had a conversation with a Palestinian. The woman was a professor of sociology at a Palestinian university. There was nothing in the previous statement that made sense to me. And I walked in the room and sat down, and she was completely like me. She was articulate in English, she had a very cautious, temperate, and humane woman's analysis of the situation, about how her family is suffering under the oppression of the occupation. I had never before heard that said, or met a Palestinian. She said that the PLO had recognized the State of Israel.1 I said, "No, that's impossible, I would know about it if that were true, the newspapers would say so." And she said, "Aren't you aware of the fact that the Israeli Broadcasting Authority, the IBA, has disallowed use of the word PLO and any reports about what they are doing, inside Israel?" I was completely taken aback, and decide to check into it. Then she left, and she said something about how she had to go home because the kids, something, I don't know what. And I thought, "My God, she's running home to be with her family. She's just like me, I have to get out of here too!" I left that place and it was like my mind cracked open, and I went home and I talked to people and I asked them, "Is it true, about the IBA making this ruling?" and they said absolutely, someone named Moshe Negbi had quit because of the ruling, and there was censorship, and there was a whole bureau called the Censorship Bureau, and they showed me newspapers showing that the PLO had met in Tunisia and had acknowledged the existence of the State of Israel and had said, okay, a two-state solution is fine with us. A few months later, I had an invitation to somebody's home to meet a Palestinian friend. I had never before had a conversation with a Palestinian. The woman was a professor of sociology at a Palestinian university. There was nothing in the previous statement that made sense to me. And I walked in the room and sat down, and she was completely like me. She was articulate in English, she had a very cautious, temperate, and humane woman's analysis of the situation, about how her family is suffering under the oppression of the occupation. I had never before heard that said, or met a Palestinian. She said that the PLO had recognized the State of Israel. I said, "No, that's impossible, I would know about it if that were true, the newspapers would say so." And she said, "Aren't you aware of the fact that the Israeli Broadcasting Authority, the IBA, has disallowed use of the word PLO and any reports about what they are doing, inside Israel?" I was completely taken aback, and decide to check into it. Then she left, and she said something about how she had to go home because the kids, something, I don't know what. And I thought, "My God, she's running home to be with her family. She's just like me, I have to get out of here too!" I left that place and it was like my mind cracked open, and I went home and I talked to people and I asked them, "Is it true, about the IBA making this ruling?" and they said absolutely, someone named Moshe Negbi had quit because of the ruling, and there was censorship, and there was a whole bureau called the Censorship Bureau, and they showed me newspapers showing that the PLO had met in Tunisia and had acknowledged the existence of the State of Israel and had said, okay, a two-state solution is fine with us. That's when I said, "look, I have to see this for myself." I started to visit the Territories and meet with people and talk to them, and go into their homes and see that they also have flush toilets and they're reading from recipe books and sharing novels with each other. It was an unbelievable experience for me, and then I began to think more seriously about politics, and began to involve myself more. I realized there was a big curtain of silence and concealment behind which an occupation was festering. Little by little I began to devote myself to addressing that.

    • 1. In a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in December of 1988, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat stated his willingness to accept Palestinian statehood based on UN Resolution 242—a resolution that recognizes the rights of all states to sovereignty. Many viewed this as the beginning of the PLO's recognition of the right of the State of Israel to exist. In 1988, at the meeting of the Palestinian National Council of in Algiers, Algeria, the decision was made to "recognize Israel's legitimacy, to accept all the relevant UN resolutions going back to 29 November 1947, and to adopt the principle of a two-state solution." Additionally, a declaration of independence was made for a "mini-state in the West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem as its capital." Avi Shlaim. The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World. (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001) 466.

  • Where did you go first when you wanted to visit the Palestinian Territories, and was it rare at the time for an Israeli to do this?

    Oh, yes. By then I was working for the New Israel Fund, and everything we did was inside Israel. Women in Black was, I think, the first group that started to go into the Territories and look at what was happening there. So I went with Women in Black. In my job at New Israel Fund, we began to fund B'Tselem, and then B'Tselem invited me to go on some outings. But I think the single most important Palestinian figure in my life was a woman who I became friends with. Her name is In'am. She was visiting Jerusalem and she happened to stumble across a Women in Black demonstration. In'am is a teacher of English in Gaza, an educated woman, but she had never before seen or heard of the Israeli peace movement. After the vigil she came over to me and said, "I'm amazed that there are Israelis that are calling for an end to the occupation. I'm very touched by what I just saw." And I said, "Yes, I'm just learning about Palestinians who want to live in peace and coexistence between us." We exchanged phone numbers, and I didn't think I would hear from her, but a few weeks later I had a phone call. She said her son had just been arrested by the Israeli Army, and could I help get him out of jail. I said, "Why was he arrested?" She said he was painting political graffiti on the walls. I said, "Oh my God, what did he write?" She said, "Two states for two nations." When I think of it, in those years, it was considered completely provocative and anti-Israeli for a Palestinian to say "two states for two nations." In Israel there were some people who were saying it, not the consensus, but you could say it out loud and no one would arrest you. There in Gaza he was arrested together with about twelve friends of his who were painting this all over the walls of Gaza City. So I thought to myself, that's not a really serious reason, in the circles I traveled in, people say "two states for two nations" all the time.

  • How did you choose what kinds of activities to get involved in?

    When I left the New Israel Fund, I had been exposed there to a range of non-democratic aspects of Israel. I was thinking though that I wanted to become involved on the ground with something. I knew one of them would be women's issues, one would be human rights issues, and one would be education. It was really important to me to do work in schools, to educate Israeli children. So I joined the board of the Adam Institute for Democracy and Peace, which is a wonderful organization. I was active there for three years. I also joined the incipient formation of Kol HaIsha, which is the feminist women's center of Jerusalem. But the one I became the most active in B'Tselem. I In B'Tselem, after maybe a few weeks on the board, I was asked to be chair - which isn't a very good thing for an organization to do, but they were just rebuilding the board and they didn't have veterans on it - so I took over as chair. That was in the first years of the intifada, and it was very interesting and an eye-opener for me.

  • Tell me about the Coalition of Women for Peace.

    I left Kol HaIsha and the Adam Institute because you just can't do everything, and I became immersed in the issues around the Occupation. I had regularly attended Women in Black, from the first few weeks. Then Bat Shalom announced that it was looking for a new director when its first director left. I applied and was accepted for the position. That further deepened my involvement in peace work, particularly women's peace work. I have a deep belief that women's peace work can be even more cutting edge, more at the vanguard of change than mixed gender peace making. When the second intifada began a friend involved in the women's movement and I spoke to each other and said, "We must bring together all the women's peace organizations and have a coalition that will be even more powerful." So we called for a meeting of all the women's organizations. That was in November 2000, six weeks after the second intifada broke out. At that meeting we all agreed to work together as something called the Coalition of Women for Peace.

  • For people who don't know what your work looks like, can you describe a range of the kinds of activities you organize?

    One important thing we do is try to support and empower all of each other's work by attending each other's actions and even sharing some resources, both financial and other. For example, the Coalition is now hiring a media person who will serve as the media person for all of the nine organizations. In addition to the ways in which we support each other's work, the Coalition as a whole is able to call for major rallies, which bring out the women in all the organizations, and women who are not active in this work. So, for example, we have had a march through the streets of Jerusalem of Palestinian women from the other side with Israeli women, with a big sign that said, "We refuse to be enemies." We had a "die in" in Tel Aviv a year ago where a thousand of us lay down dressed in black on the street in Tel Aviv under the banner, "the occupation is killing us all." We put a "closure" on the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv - we sat outside the gates and would not allow cars to go in and out. So those are the kind of things we do that are in the realm of demonstrations. We also do a lot of outreach work. We have a program for Russian speaking women, which we can do because our coordinator is herself from the Ukraine. We have a program for women in the Negev in development towns. We also have a new program for mainstream Israelis, to take them on what we call "reality tours" of the wall, of refugee camps, of checkpoints, of hot spots that they'll never see in the Israeli media.

  • How do you find participants for the tours of the Separation Barrier?

    We plan to put ads in travel magazines saying, "Take an original tour, come see the walls in Israel." And we will take them not only to the wall, the so-called security fence, but we will take them to the wall inside Ramle that separates Jews from Arabs. So people are curious and they join us. We make it cheap.

  • In the midst of working with people who more or less share your views, how do you keep in touch with what mainstream society needs to bring them along?

    Most of us don't because it's too painful. I try to avoid it in Israel because I think my strength is articulating the problems to English speakers and so I do immerse myself in the critique of the Left by English speakers, particularly Jews. We have something important that we share, and that's a deep concern about Israel, and Zionism, and making this the kind of state we had envisioned. So my advantages are in those areas, and that's where I do immerse myself. I find it very painful and difficult, and try to find the way that I can bridge hearing their concerns.

  • Have you had experiences in Israel that were very painful in regard to people's response to your work?

    Just today. I sent out an e-mail after the action on Sunday in which Molly was injured.1 On Sunday we had an all women demonstration of Israeli, Palestinian and international women. About 70 women went to a Palestinian village and held a non-violent demonstration against the wall. The border police exploded with stun grenades and tear gas and horses, and Molly was hurt by a baton, as she was fleeing the action, we have photographs of this, the horse rider, the horse person ran after her and then dropped a baton on her head and shoulders and broke her shoulder. I sent out an e-mail about this. The problem is it's not an isolated incident. Consistently in recent weeks all hell has broken loose at non-violent demonstrations because the soldiers allow themselves to do this. Today I read a very angry response in Hebrew from an Israeli who read my report and accused me of looking for ways to harm Israel from within and to bring the wrath of the world against Israel. So I see that and I hear it. We're not immune to it; it's very painful. I wrote back, and among other things I said that this report was fully published in Hebrew and not picked up by any of the media in Israel. Not a single newspaper, radio or television reported it, before I let it out in English. So I am exposed to it and it's not fun.

    • 1. Gila is referring to Molly Malekar, the current Director of Bat Shalom.

  • What are some of the other biggest challenges you face in your work?

    Overall, I would say that we're in a period of great discouragement. The government is a coalition of right-wing and extreme right-wing, both. The government allows itself to say things today that should not be allowed in any decent, Western-minded regime based on basic values of decency. It's a great challenge for us to try to explain to people what's wrong with statements that are racist, what's wrong with anti-democratic laws, what's wrong with oppressing other people unprovoked. So, it's very, very hard. We're in a climate that is in great fear of Palestinians, and a belief that they don't share our worldview. President Katsav, our current President, said shortly after this intifada began, "We are dealing here with people who are not only not from the same frame of mind as we are, they are people who are outside our entire realm of being, they don't even act like they come from the planet earth."1 And that's the message that Israelis get. Palestinians are aliens who don't share our values, they're aggressive, primitive, cruel, etc. So it's very hard when your President and Prime Minister and the entire government are saying things like that, and you're trying to say, "Look, they are people just like us." Nobody hears that message.

    • 1. In the Jerusalem Post on May 11, 2001, Israeli President Moshe Katsav is quoted as saying, "There is a huge gap between us and our enemies- not just in ability but in morality, culture, sanctity of life, and conscience...They're our neighbors here, but it seems as if at a distance of a few hundred meters away, there are people who don't belong to our continent, to our world, but actually belong to a different galaxy." See Greer Fay Cashman. "Katsav: We'd Never Stoop to Palestinians' Brutality," The Jerusalem Post, 11 May 2001.

  • How do you convince Israelis that Palestinians are just like them? Do you have a strategy for combating stereotypes?

    One of the ways we do it is by bringing them to meet Palestinians and to see what the problems are with the wall, to see why checkpoints are so terrible, and to understand that we're just dealing with human beings who are under tremendous pressure on the other side. We do not in any sense justify suicide bombing or terrorism, or violence of any sort, not by us and not by them. We certainly understand that and, I speak for myself, I understand that Israel has to defend itself. I know Israel has enemies. I would understand Israel building a wall to protect itself even though I don't agree that it's the best way to go about protecting itself. But the need for a wall does not mean that you go about building it in the territory of the other party. It just inflames the situation even more.

  • Why do you think women's peace work can be more effective?

    Ever since women have become organized as women working for peace, I have observed that for whatever reason, the work that women do is often one step ahead of the work that's done by the mixed gender movement. When I say one step ahead, I mean that first of all the ideology is sometimes one step before Israel gets there. Women were talking about a two-state solution before Peace Now got into it. Women were talking about sharing Jerusalem as a capital before almost anybody said it, and today it's in the platform of the Labor Party. So it's on the level of ideology that women have been forward thinking, but it's also on the level of activism... Women have been willing to be a little more bold in their strategies. For example, it was the women's movement that lay down on the highway leading into the Defense Ministry, and it was the women's movement that was the first to march through a checkpoint disregarding the soldiers who were blocking it, and it was the women's movement who were the first to start dismantling checkpoints. Afterwards a lot of people joined us on many of these. For a long time I thought that the women were more likely to stick their necks out because they felt they were protected, qua women, from being harmed by soldiers. But now that I see that women are targeted as much as men - and in fact a lot of soldiers take out some misogyny on women - and women continue to be up there at the cutting edge, I realize it's something else. I'm not sure what it is. The Coalition of Women for Peace and all the constituent organizations call ourselves feminists. We call ourselves the feminist peace movement. We see a deep connection. Feminism is not just about equality for women. Feminism is about rearranging the power in the world so that it's more equitably distributed. For us feminism is about that and justice for all. The lessons of equality for women have now been expanded to be equality for all. So in our feminist perspective, we look toward a more inclusive peace in the Middle East, which is not a peace of separation, a wall, Israelis and Palestinians on either side of it. That's not the vision we have of peace. The vision we have is of a two-state solution but one in which we have a shared future. Sharing resources, sharing cooperation on all levels.

  • What makes your work especially hard right now?

    We are regarded as pariahs by most members of Israeli society. At the same time, public opinion polls show that Israeli public opinion has moved closer and closer to our views. Israeli public opinion hates Palestinians and for that reason wants to separate from them. They hate us because they view us as being more patriotic or more loyal to the enemy than to Israel. I certainly don't accept that definition of my work. I feel very strongly that the work I'm doing is both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian.

  • How do you account for what you said about public opinion polls showing more and more people agreeing with your views but you feeling that you're more and more despised?

    First of all I think it's inevitable. Israel understood that it could not continue to maintain a forced occupation over three and a half million Palestinians forever after. The demographic argument finally filtered down to Israelis, the argument that says, "If they're part of Israel, you're going to have to give them the vote or have an apartheid state." I think that began to play itself out in many thinking Israelis. I think one of the greatest incidents that played into the hands of the Left was when Sharon announced that we can't maintain an occupation.1That certainly changed the minds of many Israelis. Palestinian terrorism changed the minds of Israelis about the need to be inside there. All common sense says we have to get out, and slowly, the common sense is working its way into being side by side with the hatred. So what you have is Israelis saying, "We hate the Palestinians, we want to give it to them as hard as we can," and on the other side, it's also saying, "but after we really punish them, we have to get out, because it's not good for us to be there anymore." At this point I'll take getting out for whatever reason it is.

    • 1. In May 2003, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon addressed his own Likud Party, stating: ""You may not like the word, but to maintain 3.5 million Palestinians under occupation, is terrible for Israel, the Palestinians and for the Israeli economy." (See http://wcco.com/topstories/topstories_story_146174407.html).

  • What do you consider small successes?

    Oh, many successes, not just small. I think that over the years on almost every issue there's been change, and not all of it for negative reasons. For example the issue of how to resolve Jerusalem, a shared capital, that Palestinians should have East Jerusalem as its capital. All of that was a direct product of putting that on the table and saying, "Here's an idea, let's think about it." I'm not saying it's just because we put it on the table, but the combined, cumulative efforts of everyone putting it on the table were helpful. And we've had specific successes of all sorts. Just last week Israel allowed the shipments into Gaza of UNRWA, the United Nations Relief Works Association. Who knows if that was our pressure or not, we'll never know what's the effect of our pushing. We've had individual successes, B'Tselem and other human rights organizations managed to end torture as a recognized, legitimate form of interrogation.1 It still goes on, but it's no longer a systematic torture for everyone who goes into the prisons.

    • 1. In September of 1999, the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled to outlaw many of the Israeli General Security Services' methods of interrogation, including what was referred to by the GSS as "moderate physical pressure" or, by critics, as torture. See Moshe Reinfeld. "Court Outlaws Use of 'Physical Pressure'," Ha'aretz Daily Newspaper, 7 Sept 1999.

  • What's your long-term vision for a resolution?

    That's pretty easy. It's very similar to the Geneva Accords: a two-state solution, the '67 line should be more or less the border, there should be a mutual exchange of equal amounts of territory that will be negotiated. The refugees will have to be negotiated on a level that Israel can live with and Palestine can live with, Jerusalem has to be a shared capital and divided and open. It's a vision that says Palestine and Israel are here, embraced forever in a way they never wanted to be, but they can never be released from each other, and therefore let's figure out a way to make it work for us both.

  • Have your views in politics caused rifts in other parts of your family?

    Yes. Sadly, sadly. My mother hated my politics. I told you my mother came from this right-wing, revisionist, Jabotinsky background, she was very opposed to my views, and she was a very strong woman and not someone who was flexible or compromising at all. So she failed to see, or failed to accept my explanation that what I was doing was good for the State of Israel. And that was a source of great tension between us. At some point in our lives we decided not to talk about it anymore, but it was always there. My two brothers actually became quite Orthodox. One of them remains so, and he has right-wing views. We have differences of opinion, but I don't know if it comes between us or if the distance came between us. I think both of us try not to let it come between us.

  • I sometimes wonder if this work is at the expense of feeling like you're part of a larger society.

    Yesterday was Independence Day, and the only possible people on earth that I could have spent that day with are either my sisters in the movement or this group of people who are my friends, because the rest of society is so unbelievably patriotic. I spent it with these friends, and it felt great, and it was nice. I got a chance to love my country within this narrow concept of the country that we envision it will someday return to being.

  • Why do you think previous peace processes failed?

    Without the Oslo peace process. I don't know; I have not given much thought to why it did not succeed. But I'll tell you one important thing, it had several significant successes, and without the Oslo process, we would be in much worse shape today. The Oslo process gave us the understanding that we have to aim for a two-state solution. Prior to the Oslo process only 20% of Israelis - these are real figures - believed that a two-state solution was worthwhile pursuing. Today 80% or more of Israelis say that it's inevitable. In fact I'm sure that it's more than 80%, that number is already 4 or 5 years old. So, that's a major change, and that was brought about because of the Oslo process. It's not that any of us thought that the Oslo process reflected our vision. In fact it never articulated a vision at all, the Oslo process was "let's not talk about the vision, let's just talk about the first little step we have to take." I do know that its strongest success was in embedding in Israelis the understanding - this was never part of the process, but it was between the lines and the message was loud and clear - that "It's gonna be a two-state solution, we're gonna have to get out, and it's just a matter of time." So that was a major, significant achievement.

  • It sounds like in some ways you've given up on the mainstream Israeli public. Would you say that?

    On the contrary, I feel as if the mainstream public is now going to do the right thing, kicking and screaming and hurt and upset, and terrified. But the right thing will be done eventually, for the wrong reasons maybe. I've not given up, I think there's going to be peace in our generation, and that's the reason I'm so furious with them, with the Right in particular, for making us go through more lives lost, more young men killed, more terrorist incidents, until we get there. All of that will have been in vain, because ultimately we are going to come up with a solution that works for us both.

  • What does the word peace mean to you?

    It means joining the environmentalist movement!

  • Which international audience do you think is most influential here?

    The American audience is most influential. The American government is the most influential, and my deep concern is that we can't get to the people who influence [it], who are the fundamentalist Christian community. I have hope of being able to get to the American Jewish community. I sincerely believe that given enough time they will begin to see the full picture, but I'm really deeply concerned that the evangelicals and other fundamentalists will maintain their ways and influence on Bush.1

    • 1. Gila is referring to George Walker Bush, the 43rd and current President of the United States. He was, in fact, reelected for an additional four-year term following the date of interview.

  • What do you think are the biggest misconceptions of this community you mention, the American Evangelical Christian community, about what is going on here?

    I'm no expert in theology. It's my understanding that they see the success of Israel is required for establishment of the Jewish Third Commonwealth, Third Kingdom, and then that somehow will go up in a huge conflagration of Armageddon, and that will be followed by the Christian community prevailing. That sounds strongly to me like a fundamentally anti-Semitic concept, that the Jews will be overcome and subdued someday in the process of Armageddon. That's what I read from the critics of the view.

  • What would be your one message to international audiences about how to support your work?

    My message is that ending the Occupation is better for Israel, let alone better for Palestinians. If people are really interested in the welfare of Israel and Palestine, they will find a way to force us to negotiate a peace that works for both sides. End.