Mairead Corrigan Maguire, founder of the Northern Ireland Peace Movement and recipient of the Nobel peace prize, wrote a letter this week to the poeople of the West Bank village of Bil’in in support of their continued struggle against Israel’s illegal annexation wall.
To : Palestinian and Israeli Peace Activists – Support For Nonviolent Resistance in Bil’in. Village. I write to join with you in the spirit of solidarity and friendship, and to offer my full support for your Demonstration on Friday September 9th in Bil’in. It is our duty and right, as human beings wherever we live, to speak out for human dignity, human rights and against State injustice and oppression.
Building the wall, occupying Palestinian villages, demolishing Palestinian homes and building more Jewish settlements, is not the way forward and will not bring forward the day of peace for the Palestinian and Israeli people. Only dialogue and justice for the Palestinian people can hasten the much desired peace which all your people of goodwill long for.
The Israeli Government, using military repression and brute force against nonviolent unarmed civilians, whose only crime is to follow their conscience and refuse to be silenced in the face of such gross injustice against the Palestinian people, is committing a crime against humanity; and this is not the way to peace. There is another way: it is time the Israeli Government listened to your peace activists’ sane voices, and took up their human and political responsibility by getting serious about peace negotiations with the Palestinian authorities. They owe it not only to the Palestinian/Israeli people but to the world, who need signs of hope, in these days of suffering and pain for so many people around the world.
The politics of fear and repression only births more fear and more repression and continues the vicious circle of cruelty and violence from all sides. There will, just as in Northern Ireland, not be a military or paramilitary solution to your problems; only through dialogue and negotiations can you solve this tragedy and suffering of all the people.
We are inspired by our Palestinian and Israeli peace friends and activists and thank you for your courage which gives us all hope.
Shalom, Salaam, Peace,
Mairead Corrigan Maguire
Nobel Peace Laureate
6th September, 2005