Gay Pride organisers urge tolerance amid Israeli tension

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As tension mounts on Israel’s borders with the Gaza Strip and inside Lebanon, the organiser’s of WorldPride Jerusalem insist their event will still go ahead and have called for tolerance in the region.

The international gay event is scheduled for August 6 2006, after being cancelled last year because of the evacuation of Jewish Settlers from Gaza, but Jerusalem Open House (JOH) are keen for their event to take place as planned.

Hagai El-Ad, executive director of JOH, said: “Our hearts go to all the people affected by the violence, as we continue to hope that peace will prevail. As Jerusalemites, we are acutely aware of the complexities of the reality that we face in our city and in the region.

“We feel that these days, optimistic messages speaking for tolerance and against violence, as are indeed the core messages of the Jerusalem WorldPride events, are even more significant than during calmer times.

“We are carefully monitoring the situation, while continuing our work towards August 6, the opening date of the Jerusalem WorldPride week. During the current hostilities, Jerusalem is a calm spot, with a variety of public events going on as scheduled. We advise our guests from around the world to follow the news together with us, and hope together with us for peace.”

Israel is targeting Hezbollah militants who last week kidnapped two Israeli soldiers and are firing rockets into nearby cities such as Haifa.

Meanwhile the United Nations is warning of a humanitarian disaster in Lebanon as Israeli bombing continued for a seventh day.