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24 March 2011

Quakers in Britain have written an open letter to the Prime Minister to raise their concerns over the escalating cycle of violence in Libya.

The text of the letter follows:
Open letter to the Prime Minister from Quakers in Britain on Libya

The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain is dismayed that Britain is again directly involved in military activity, this time in Libya, while it continues with military action in Afghanistan. We grieve at the loss of life and the misery inflicted on all those affected by war.

We see war as intrinsically wrong. It is wrong because it treats people as being expendable. We see each individual as being unique and precious and carrying within them something of God.
We recognise that others do not share this view and that many well-meaning people were willing to see this particular military action begin in the hope that it would save civilian lives. We respect their motives. We have however seen, over and over again, the arguments used that ‘we must do something’ and that this time what is planned will be brief and clinical. But the truth is so often very different – violence tends to escalate, and it is much harder to end a war than to start it.
The bitterness and hatred caused can last for generations. All this we ignore at our peril.

Quakers applaud the efforts made by the United Nations to reach a solution to the satisfaction of all parties in the region of North Africa, and we are deeply disappointed that a nonviolent solution could not be reached in Libya.

This year, 2011, marks 350 years since Quakers first declared our conviction to Charles II that as a Religious Society “all bloody principles and practices we do utterly deny, with all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons for any end or under any pretence…” Since that time Quakers in Britain and around the world have worked for peace and social justice, with the aim of making this world a better place for all. As Quakers in Britain we ask the Government to look critically at the role it plays in increasing instability in the world, particularly through the very substantial support it provides for the arms trade.

We uphold all those in positions of responsibility at this crucial time, praying that they will at least exercise all possible restraint.

The letter was signed by Gwen Schaffer, clerk of Quaker Peace and Social Witness Central Committee.

9 March 1950

Innocent Timothy Evans hanged in UK

9 March 2011

Today is a big day.

Illinois is the 17th American abolitionist jurisdiction.

In the next two years four-five American states will join the abolitionist side.

I want to express gratitude to the many who fought with us.

Claudio Giusti

Dott. Claudio Giusti

Via Don Minzoni 40, 47100 Forlì, Italia
Tel.  39/0543/401562     39/340/4872522

Member of the Scientific Committee of Osservatorio sulla Legalità e i Diritti, Claudio Giusti had the privilege and the honour to participate in the first congress of the Italian Section of Amnesty International: later he was one of the founders of the World Coalition Against The Death Penalty.

Sixth Prison Term for Conscientious Objector Ajuad Zidan

                        – Please distribute widely –

Dear Friends,

We have learned that CO Ajuad Zidan, was sentenced to 30 days of imprisonment on 27 Feb. for his refusal to enlist. This is now his sixth (!) term in prison. Since our previous update on his case he has been going in and out of prison repeatedly, sentenced again and again for his refusal to join the military, and persisting in his refusal. By the time his current term ends, he will have spent a total of more than four months behind bars, with no end in sight.

Throughout this period, Ajuad has repeatedly appealed to receive a hearing from the so-called “Conscience Committee” – an internal military panel that is the only body reviewing appeals for exemption by conscientious objectors in Israel. However, his requests to appear before this committee were flatly ignored.

Ajuad Zidan is due to be released from prison on 25 March, and is likely to be imprisoned again afterwards. His address in prison is:

Ajuad Zidan
Military ID 5810026
Military Prison No. 6
Military Postal Code 01860, IDF
Fax: ++972-4-9540580
Since the prison authorities often block mail from reaching imprisoned objectors, we also recommend you to send them your letters of support and encouragement via e-mail to: (hitting “reply all” to this message will send the message to the same address), and they will be printed out and delivered during visits.
Recommended Action
First of all, please circulate this message and the information contained in it as widely as possible, not only through e-mail, but also on websites, social networks, conventional media, by word of mouth, etc.

Other recommendations for action:

1. Sending Letters of Support

Please send Ajuad Zidan letters of support to the prison address above and to

2. Letters to Authorities

It is recommended to send letters of protest on the objectors’ behalf, preferably by fax, to:

Mr. Ehud Barak,
Minister of Defence,
Ministry of Defence,
Tel-Aviv 64743,
E-mail: or
Tel.: ++972-3-6975540 or ++972-3-6975423
Fax: ++972-3-6976711

Copies of your letters can also be sent to the commander of the military prison at:

Commander of Military Prison No. 6,
Military Prison No. 6
Military Postal Code 01860, IDF
Fax: ++972-4-9540580
Another useful address for sending copies would be the Military Attorney General (note updated fax number):

Avichai Mandelblit,
Chief Military Attorney
Military postal code 9605, IDF
Fax: ++972-3-569-45-26
It would be especially useful to send your appeals to the Commander of the Induction Base in Tel-HaShomer. It is this officer that ultimately decides whether an objector is to be exempted from military service or sent to another round in prison, and it is the same officer who is ultimately in charge of the military Conscience Committee:

Gadi Agmon,
Commander of Induction Base,
Meitav, Tel-HaShomer
Military Postal Code 02718, IDF
Fax: ++972-3-737-60-52
For those of you who live outside Israel, it would be very effective to send protests to your local Israeli embassy. You can find the address of your local embassy on the web.

Here is a generic sample letter, which you can use in sending appeals to authorities on the prisoners’ behalf. Feel free to modify this letter or write your own:

Dear Sir/Madam,

It has come to my attention that Ajuad Zidan from the town of Beit Jann (military ID 5810026), a conscientious objector to military service, has been imprisoned for the sixth time in a row for his refusal to become part of the Israeli army, and is held in Military Prison no. 6 near Atlit.

The imprisonment of conscientious objectors such as Ajuad Zidan is a violation of international law, of basic human rights and of plain morals. This is especially clear in cases, such as Zidan’s, in which conscientious objectors are being sentenced repeatedly for their self-same decision to refuse enlistment.

I therefore call for the immediate and unconditional release from prison of Ajuad Zidan, without threat of further imprisonment in the future, and urge you and the system you are heading to respect the dignity and person of conscientious objectors, indeed of all persons, in the future.


3. Letters to media in Israel and in other countries

Writing op-ed pieces and letters to editors of media in Israel and other countries could also be quite useful in indirectly but powerfully pressuring the military authorities to let go of the objectors and in bringing their plight and their cause to public attention.

Here are some contact details for the main media outlets in Israel:

2 Karlibach st.
Tel-Aviv 67132
Fax: +972-3-561-06-14
 Yedioth Aharonoth:
2 Moses st.
Fax: +972-3-608-25-46
 Ha’aretz (Hebrew):
21 Schocken st.
Tel-Aviv, 61001
Fax: +972-3-681-00-12
Ha’aretz (English edition):
21 Schocken st.
Tel-Aviv, 61001
Fax: +972-3-512-11-56
Israel Hayom:
2 Hashlosha st.
The B1 Building
Jerusalem Post:
P.O. Box 81
Jerusalem 91000
Fax: +972-2-538-95-27
Radio (fax numbers):
Kol-Israel +972-2-531-33-15
          and +972-3-694-47-09

Galei Zahal +972-3-512-67-20
 Television (fax numbers):
Channel 1 +972-2-530-15-36
Channel 2 +972-2-533-98-09
Channel 10 +972-3-733-16-66
We will continue updating on further developments.

Thank you for your attention and action,

Sergeiy Sandler

I’ve been thinking about prayer today, and the many ways we pray that are not simply meal-time prayers (God thank you for the food). I came across Psalm 104:33 in my reading this morning which makes this point clearly:

I will sing to the LORD as long as I live;

I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

I like that for the Psalmist singing is living, it is being. And as long as we are a live we should be full of song, full of surprise and awe. Our lives will sing our prayers.

And then I remembered a favorite image from Abraham Heschel:

First of all, let us not misunderstand the nature of prayer, particularly in Jewish tradition. The primary purpose of prayer is not to make requests. The primary purpose of prayer is to praise, to sing, to chant. Because the essence of prayer is a song and men cannot live without a song. Prayer may not save us, but prayer may make us worthy of being saved. Prayer is not requesting. There is a partnership of God and men. God needs our help.

via The Spiritual Audacity of Abraham Joshua Heschel

-How can I learn to make my prayers like songs?

-How can I make my life full of singing and surprise?

C. Wess Daniels, USA

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We must act and dare the appropiateness and not whatever comes to our mind not floating in the likelihood but grasp the reality as brave as we can be freedom lies in action not in the absence of mind obedience knows the essence of good and satisfies it, freedom dares to act and returns God the ultimate judgment of what is right and what is wrong, Obedience performs blindly but Freedom is wide awake Freedom wants to know why, Obedience has its hands tied, Freedom is inventive obedient man respects God’s commands and by virtu of his Freedom, he creats new commands. Both Obedience and Freedom come true in responsability (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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