Hunger-Striking and Road-Blocking Against the Expulsion

18 university students began a hunger strike today against the disengagement. Two anti-disengagement activists were arrested for planning a series of country-wide road-blockings tomorrow afternoon.

, | updated: 17:05

Outside the Jerusalem government complex this afternoon, 18 university students began a hunger strike in opposition to the disengagement plan. One of the strikers, Yoni Goldblatt, an engineering student in the Technion in Haifa, explained, "The country is in grave danger, and we are willing to give up our studies - and our food - to try to prevent this."

The strike is being organized by the Ta HaKatom (Orange Cell), a group of both non-religious and religious students. "Many more students wished to join us today, but we arranged it such that people would join us gradually," Yoni told Arutz-7. "Several more will join tomorrow, and then more on Tuesday, and so on. It's very organized... Beginning on Wednesday, non-students will also join - Knesset Members, Likud party members, public figures, and others."

"There are many people who think that the disengagement is a terrible plan," Yoni said, "but they don’t realize that it won't be stopped by itself. We have to get up and do things. We are willing to make great sacrifices - foregoing this whole semester, with tests coming up next month, and the like - in the hope that it will wake up others as well."

The group held a "seudah mafseket" (pre-fast meal) this afternoon, "with mostly carbohydrates - bread, spaghetti, and the like. From now on, it will be just water and juice." The strikers will remain at the site 24 hours a day, including sleeping at the site, and invite the public to visit and show solidarity.

A position paper explaining the hunger strike reads, "Let's talk about the essence of the disengagement - not the compensation, not the refusal, not Nitzanim - but the plan itself!! Let us engage in a true and courageous dialogue on the disengagement plan itself. We are the generation of the future - we will have to pay the heavy price of the government's disengagement from its national responsibility and from fundamental Zionist values. Therefore - we will employ our democratic right to protest and begin a hunger strike."

"The struggle for the country's future is not only the fight of the 'settlers,'" the paper states. "We are secular and religious students from both sides of the Green Line, and we object to the disengagement plan. It represents running away from and retreating under terrorism, and this will harm Israel's security. We understand 'peace in exchange for peace,' but what is the logic in 'territory in exchange for terrorism?'"

"The plan is also a blow to democracy," the students' position paper continues. "[Labor Party candidate Amram] Mitzna received only 19 Knesset seats in the [2003] election, running on a platform that included this plan. The nation stated its position clearly: not to run away under terrorism. Democracy must not be only in the structure, but must also be in the essence. Sharon should call new elections."

"The disengagement is also a sham, legally. From an international-legal standpoint, we will be responsible, and we will continue to supply them with electricity, water and work. We're not disengaging from Gaza and the Shomron, but rather transferring Jews."

In other expulsion protest news, Ariel Vangrover of Kfar Saba and Shai Malka of Jerusalem, heads of the Bayit Leumi (National Home) organization, were arrested today and charged with attempting to harm state security. They are both in their 20's.

Their organization is encouraging civil disobedience and willingness to be arrested, in the belief that the government will not be able to handle prison-fuls of protestors against the plan. Malka had told Arutz-7 on Friday that he was surprised he had not yet been arrested.

He and others had/have been organizing a "test run" of massive civil disobedience against the disengagement plan, set for tomorrow. Dozens of intersections across the country are scheduled to be blocked, beginning at 5 PM. "If I had to predict," Shai said, "I would say that the country is going to be stopped up on Monday afternoon. We've had tons of phone calls and people taking flyers to distribute all over the country, and there is a great desire to take action to stop this plan."

A call to their office today produced the following request: "Many GSS (General Security Service) agents are calling our activists and spreading false rumors to the effect that the road-blockings have been pushed up from tomorrow to this afternoon, but it's not true. Everything is ready for tomorrow, just as planned."