[Original text available at www.ymca.int]

To: National YMCA Movements

The following letter has been sent to the Government of Israel. We would urge National Movements to address a similar letter to the Government of Israel directly and/or to the Israeli Embassy in your country.
You may also wish to encourage as many YMCA members as possible to send similar letters as part of a signature campaign.
It would be helpful if you could send us a copy of the letters you send.

Nick Nightingale
Secretary General

Prime Minister Office
Emails: rohm@pmo.gov.il / pm_eng@pmo.gov.il
Fax: + 972 2 651 26 31


9 April, 2002

Mr. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon,

The world has watched with dismay and agony the cruelty that has accompanied Israeli occupation of towns in the West Bank in the recent weeks. We are shocked that even the media has been kept away from the areas which Israeli troops have taken over and controlled. The only reports that come through are from a few international agencies. Even communication systems have been made redundant in many situations. It has been hard to effectively stay in touch with the people and know of their plight. Internationally respected agencies are reported as having to leave their stations because they can no longer function in a viable way. They report that their access to people and the denial of even basic humanitarian services by Israeli authorities is a violation of international law.

Some of the circumstances in the Palestinian territories have very little parallel in history. The brutality with which human life is being viewed is appalling. Just hours ago, we were informed about Israeli army atrocities on YMCA premises in Ramallah and Beit Sahour. Our staff and volunteers have been impeded in carrying out their duties. We understand that there has been damage to property and to equipment required for their work.

The World Alliance of YMCAs is the confederation of over 124 YMCAs around the world. Our member Movements have been watching with rising sadness and anger the suffering of their sisters and brothers in Palestine. We demand that there be an immediate end to Israeli army attacks on the Palestinian people. We also ask that Israel prepare to end the occupation in line with UN resolutions and reengage in negotiations with the chosen representatives of the Palestinian people.

We reiterate our sense of shock and horror at the events affecting all the people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. We also ask that any attacks against the YMCA be suspended with immediate effect and that our staff and volunteers be allowed to freely continue their humanitarian services so urgently and effectively needed in these dire circumstances.


Nicholas J. Nightingale
Secretary General