Note: Aharon Shabtai is an Israeli poet and teaching Hebrew literature at Tel Aviv University. His letter (below) was sent to the organizers of the 5th international poetry festival in Jerusalem. He has approved wide ciruclation and publication of his letter.

To Yitzhak Eizenberg Shalom

Fifth international poetry festival in Jerusalem

Thank you for your invitation to participate in the international poetry festival in Jeruslaem in 2006 and the details. I would like to take my name out of the list of participants. I read these days on the barabarism in the Qalandia checkpoint. I oppose an international poetry festival in a city in which the Arab inhabitants are oppressed systematically and cruelly, imprisoned between walls, deprived of their rights and living spaces, humiliated in chekcpoints and the international laws are violated. I think that even poets were not allowed in the past, and not in the present, to ignore persecutions and discriminations on a racial or national basis.

Aharon Shabati