Activist marks Six-Day War anniversary
June 13, 2007
Frances ReMillard’s sign read ‘End Apartheid Free Palestine.’
Last weekend, she joined more than 5,000 others in Washington, D.C., with the same idea.
ReMillard, who lives in Kamas and leads the group called Utahns for a Just Peace in the Holy Land, traveled to Washington to mark the 40th anniversary of the Six-Day War, when Israel captured the land now known as the Occupied Territories.
She says people of different backgrounds were there. Christian groups, Jews and Arabs took part, she says.
"It was far more successful than I expected in terms of the various voices we had," ReMillard says.
The demonstrators started at the Capitol and marched to the Washington Monument, listening to speakers at the Capitol. She says about 300 groups participated.
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"It was very inspiring. This is not an easy issue," ReMillard says, claiming Americans have little understanding of the dispute about the Occupied Territories.
Josh Ruebner, with a nonprofit group called the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, which helped organize the weekend demonstration, says about 300 of the demonstrators spent the next day lobbying on Capitol Hill.
"I think there is growing opposition in this country to our policy for unconditional support for Israel’s military occupation," he says, claiming that the demonstrations were believed to be the first-ever national protests to the Israeli occupation.
The Occupied Territories are occasionally debated in the Park City area and ReMillard is the chief activist. She has long said her position is not anti-Israel but instead she wants the occupation to end.
Her solution to the dispute involves Israel leaving the Occupied Territories and paying the Palestinians reparations.
"It’s time for the rule of law and justice instead of occupation and oppression," ReMillard says.
She predicts peace if Israel left the Occupied Territories but she acknowledges there are militant Israelis and Palestinians who might be upset if that occurs. Still, most would support an agreement, she says.
"There is a majority on both sides that seek a just solution," ReMillard, who expected the trip to cost about $1,000, says.
Israel in the Six-Day War defeated its Arab neighbors and, 40 years later, it remains a pivotal event in modern Middle East history. ReMillard acknowledges the war was an "overwhelming win for Israel." She says, though, "countries don’t gain territory by war" but Israel has remained in the Occupied Territories.
"I think it was a huge win for Israel and in some ways made them feel very powerful, very strong," she says.
Israel claims the occupation is needed to keep the Jewish state safe from terrorists and attacks. ReMillard disputes the argument.
"It’s only security for Israelis. There is never discussion of security for Palestinians," she says.
Israel’s occupation, she says, is "radicalizing and polarizing" in the world and she claims the U.S. ignores the dispute as it supports Israel.
"Forty years is a very long time to live under occupation," ReMillard says.