Archive for the ‘anti-Semitism’ Category

The Demographic History of Palestine

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At the beginning of WWI (1914), the Jewish population in Palestine was 38,754 (5% of all population) of which 12,332 were Ottoman subjects and the rest were new European immigrants.

 

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1895 jews

 

By the end of the British Mandate (1920-1948), which was supposed to bring independence and freedom to the Palestinian people, the Jewish immigrants were increased considerably but were able to hold land of only 6% of Palestine and that through the collusion of the British Mandate.

Percentage of Jewish Owned

In addition to helping the Jews obtain land, the British government also facilitated the mass immigration of Jews into Palestine, thus altering its ethnic composition.

By 1946 there were 608,225 (32.96%) Jews including illegal immigrants and 1,237,334 (67.04%) Palestinians (Muslims and Christians); thus in spite of the mass immigration, Jews constituted a minority population, albeit larger than before.

Palestinian vs Jewish Owned

Palestine – pre-1948

The cardinal principle of Zionism had been initiated by Ze’ev Jabotinsky in 1923 and applied faithfully by David Ben-Gurion, Moshe Dayan, Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu. Jabotinsky was very clear; “israel” can only be imposed by brute force and will be shielded by an iron wall. He stated:

Their [the Arabs] voluntary agreement is out of the question… Zionist colonization, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population. This colonization can, therefore, continue and develop only under the protection of a force independent of the local population – an iron wall which the native population cannot break through. This is our policy towards the Arabs.

David Ben-Gurion Quotes

 

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Ben-Gurion – Born: October 16, 1886, Płońsk, Poland

 

Everybody sees a difficulty in the question of relations between Arabs and Jews. But not everybody sees that there is no solution to this question. No solution! There is a gulf, and nothing can bridge it… We, as a nation, want this country to be ours; the Arabs, as a nation, want this country to be theirs.
Written statement (June 1919), as quoted in Time magazine (24 July 2006)

The acceptance of partition does not commit us to renounce Transjordan: one does not demand from anybody to give up his vision. We shall accept a state in the boundaries fixed today, but the boundaries of Zionist aspirations are the concern of the Jewish people and no external factor will be able to limit them.
Speech in 1937, accepting a British proposal for partition of Palestine which created a potential Jewish majority state, as quoted in New Outlook (April 1977)

What matters is not what the goyim say, but what the Jews do.”
An “oft-repeated credo” according to the “Windsor Star – Dec 3, 1973 and repeated in various newspapers (with minor variations) including the Jerusalem post (May 22,2009) “It doesn’t matter what the goyim say, but what the Jews do”

Under the guise of United Nations General Assembly resolution 181 of the Partition of Palestine, which was only a non-binding suggestion and was dropped by the UN and USA in March 1948 in favour of UN trusteeship on Palestine, Ben Gurion initiated his plan, Dalet, to eliminate the Palestinian population from the area of Palestine that was to be governed by the Jewish immigrants. In this area, half of the inhabitants were Arab Palestinians. Ben Gurion would have none of them. He expelled the majority before the state of Israel was (illegally) declared on May 14, 1948.

Plan Dalet – called for the conquest of Arab towns and villages inside and along the borders of the area allocated to the proposed “Jewish State” – according to the UN Partition Plan. In case of resistance, the population of conquered villages was to be expelled outside the borders of the Jewish state. If no resistance was met, the residents could stay put, under military rule.

israeli War Crimes

War Crimes

“War” crimes perpetrated by the Zionist forces against the Palestinian civilian population, included at least 232 incidents, which included atrocities, massacres, destruction, plunder and looting between 1947 and 1956. Almost every one of the thirty Zionist/Israeli military operations was accompanied by one or two massacres of civilians. There were at least seventy-seven reported massacres, half of which took place before any Arab regular soldier set foot in Palestine.

Half of the 77 massacres committed by “israel” in 1948 took place before “israel” was declared

The expelled population, before The British left and before “israel” declared itself as a state, was half the total Palestinian refugees. This could not have happened without killing as many as possible. Half of the 77 massacres committed by Israel in 1948 took place before “israel” was declared.

Of these massacres, we know of the infamous Deir Yassin on 9 April 1948. Few knew about Bureir, where 120 of the inhabitants were killed and their homes torched. A mere 48 hours after the massacre in Bureir, Ben Gurion stood solemnly before the Jewish immigrants’ assembly to announce the foundation of Israel and declared:

We appeal – in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months – to the Arab inhabitants of the State of “israel” to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.

In the following 6 months, the other half of the 77 massacres (out of 156 war crimes listed in the Atlas of Palestine 1917-1966) committed by the israelis established their practice of using massacres as a well-tried weapon of ethnic cleansing. Jabotinsky’s plan was working as Ben Gurion was turning the myth into a fact; Palestine almost became a “land without people”.

Another example of Israel ethnic cleansing arose after the signing of the first Armistice agreement between israel and Egypt on 24 February 1949. This agreement allowed the Egyptian forces to withdraw from a besieged enclave with their arms. Two villages, Faluja and Iraq-al-Manshiyya, lay within this enclave that the Egyptian forces were defending. Under the Armistice agreement endorsed by the U.N., israel guaranteed the safety, the life, and property of these two villages, which the defending Egyptian forces had to leave behind. Disregarding its agreement with the U.N. and Egypt, israel terrorized the two villages with indiscriminate shooting, constant curfews, looting, and attempted rape. Three weeks later, israel forcibly expelled the population in stark violation of the Armistice Agreement.

Kafr Qasem Massacre [Operation Hafarferet]

The israelis reneged on the “agreement” with King Abdullah I of Jordan to divide Palestine between them. In April 1949, the Zionists dictated to him that they must grab extra Palestinian land known as the Little Triangle, in central Palestine. The affected area is about 90,000 acres where one 100,000 Palestinians lived. Thus its eighteen villages were annexed outright to israel. There was a condition that the inhabitants must remain in their homes. One of these villages was Kafr Qasem. The people of the Little Triangle were not expelled at the time, but there was an Israeli plan for them. Israel was waiting for the opportunity to carry it out.

It came in October 1956, on the same day of the Tripartite Aggression, or Suez Campaign, in which Israel, Britain, and France conspired to topple Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and regain the Suez Canal. Ben Gurion’s aims were more than that, to convert the Armistice line, which has no legal value as a border, into a de facto border for Israel and to expel the Palestinian population within this “border.” It was attempted in Kafr Qasem under “operation Hafarferet”, an outright expulsion plan. Read More

It took four decades for Israeli historians to have access to declassified Israeli files. Benny Morris was hailed as a brave, objective historian when he found evidence to corroborate what the refugees were saying all along. Curiously he said that these repetitive similar massacres were ‘an accident of war’ not a plan. Not so, said Ilan Pappe. He compared the Palestinian oral history and the Israeli files and found them consistent. He gave it its proper name “Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”.

The Kafr Qasem massacre is, therefore, part of a persistent pattern of ethnic cleansing of which Sabra, Shatila, Jenin, Rafah and the destruction of the Gaza Strip are but a few stations on this bloody trail. But the Kafr Qasem massacre was different in some ways. First, it was against “Israeli citizens”, thus making the claim of Israeli democracy a mockery. Second, the claim that atrocities were committed in the heat of war is false. There was no war in Kafr Qasem, no uprising, no revolt. It was a sheer bloodbath.

Unlike the massacres that are associated with the Nakba, it was perpetrated after the israeli state was established. It was deliberate, planned, calculated, a cold-blooded murder against workers returning from their fields not having heard that a curfew was imposed over their village. After the massacre, Kafr Qasem was subjected to military cordon and media prohibition, which imposed debilitating isolation after the massacre. No one was allowed in or out of the village and a tight gag order was placed on the news. Twenty-two days after the massacre, news finally reached the world.

 

And the israelis crimes continue – their barbaric dream is parallel to ISIS, where they wish to establish a “jewish kingdom” from the Nile to The Euphrates!

Rest assured! The Crusaders were expelled from Palestine after 90 years of occupation. So shall the new “jewish crusaders” be expelled. It’s a matter of time. 

Free Palestine!

palestine flag waving

Palestinian woman

Women on the front line in the deadly “no-man’s land” of Gaza’s “buffer zone”

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“Then the Israeli snipers called me on the speaker, saying, ‘You, the woman with the keffieh, if you approach the fence again we will shoot you in the head’.

In the deadly no-man’s land of Gaza’s buffer zone, a small group of Palestinian protesters hidden by black smoke, braved Israeli sniper fire and reached the perimeter fence. Tearing a piece away they made it back to safety, holding their trophy.

The stunt was remarkable given the deaths of nearly three dozen protesters in recent weeks at the hands of soldiers firing across the border fence.

Since the start of the Great Return March four weeks ago, in which Gaza’s refugees are demanding the right to return to their lands now inside Israel, 32 unarmed protesters, including a child, have been killed by Israel’s sharpshooters ranged on the other side.

But this stunt was all the more remarkable given that those who carried it out were women.

Further up the buffer zone other women stood in front of protesting men, trying to provide cover for them against Israeli fire on Friday. One of the women, Taghreed al Barawi, said they did this because “women are less likely to be shot at than men”, although their sex has not protected the 160 or so women who have also been wounded during the last week of the buffer zone protests.

“Then the Israeli snipers called me on the speaker, saying, ‘You, the woman with the keffieh, if you approach the fence again we will shoot you in the head’. But I am not afraid and next time will burn their flag and raise ours.”

Taghreen al Barawi said she had “this feeling of strange courage” as she got closer to the fence. She also spoke of being inspired by Ahed Tamimi, the 17-year-old West Bank teenager, currently being held in an Israeli jail after she slapped an Israeli soldier outside her home.

Pictures of women in the front line of an Arab uprising are not surprising at first sight – women played a lead role in the Arab Spring, and, as in the case of Ahed Tamimi, are increasingly in the forefront of West Bank protests too.

But in Gaza’s traditional Hamas-run society, as well as living under Israel’s siege, women are also subject to repressive social codes which mean spontaneous public protest

“I would be Ahed if I could,” was a cry heard from many Gaza women after the teenager’s recent sentence was passed. “She is strong, she is beautiful, she is courageous,” said two veiled students, staring adoringly at Ahed’s portrait – wearing jeans, hair uncovered – on a wall outside Gaza’s Islamic University.

Also emblazoned on the wall were portraits of former Palestinian leaders including Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, and Ahmed Yassin, founder of Hamas.

It is not, however, only the social taboo which until now has prevented these women from protesting as Ahed did.

Since Israel’s decision in 2005 to withdraw its troops from bases inside Gaza, redeploying to the perimeter with a blockade at sea and control of the skies, it has been even harder for ordinary Palestinians to resist in the way Ahed Tamimi did.

In the days of the old intifada any Palestinian could land a stone on a soldier with no trouble, as the soldiers were in amongst them. “Now we can’t be like Ahed because we can’t even see a soldier, never mind hit them with stones. We never get close enough to kick or punch. If only we could,” a young man complained.

For those in Gaza this inability to see or hit back at the enemy has created a uniquely desperate despair, which has spilled out into the buffer zone protests of recent weeks. Perhaps for this reason, Hamas understood it could not hold back any protester and allowed women to protest too.

As the marches have continued and the death toll has risen, some in Gaza have withdrawn support for the uprising, saying the protesters are simply “committing suicide” by throwing themselves in front of Israel’s bullets.

But others, including many young women, are determined to continue until the climax on 15 May.

“What do we have to lose? We are dying in Gaza under siege. Why not die in the buffer zone protesting instead. At least there’s a chance our message will be heard,” said Intimah Saleh, 27, protesting with her mother who cooks food for those on the front line.

Asked whether she thought the women of Gaza would produce an Ahed Tamimi, she said: “Of course. But we have many Aheds here.”

And asked whether Ahed could be a future Palestinian leader, a group of teenage boys laughed and said: “No. The Israelis will not allow it. Before that happens they’ll make sure she’s shot.”

  • ATW Comment: Palestinians should not care if the “israeli’s allow it!”  Ahed Tamimi would be the best leader in the future! Abbas and his thugs need to drop dead!

Israeli police are a danger to Palestinian public safety

 A video of an Israeli police officer assaulting a Palestinian man may have gone viral this week, leading senior officials to condemn it. It also served as a reminder that police violence is a part of everyday life for Palestinians in Israel.
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The now-infamous video of an I卐raeli police officer beating a Palestinian man in East Jerusalem, which began circulating on social media on Thursday media, won’t leave me. I am trying to figure out precisely why these images are so disturbing and stomach-churning. After all, anyone who knows even bit about the reality in the eastern part of the city knows there is nothing new here. After all, the police’s violent, frightening presence in Palestinian areas is part of everyday life here.

I know this reality well. I know it from the rows of detained Palestinians who are made to stand against a wall, which I see at least twice a day in this city. I know it from the beatings during protests, from the Border Police jeeps that drive wildly in the Palestinian neighborhoods. Too many times have I almost been run over by one while crossing the street. I am guessing they must have thought I was Palestinian, and no police jeep will slow down to allow a Palestinian the right to cross in these areas.

Perhaps it is the fact that none of the Palestinian men present try to intervene or strike back as they watch the officer’s depraved behavior. They just stand there and take it. But the fact is that the officer could very easily claim that his life was in danger, meaning these men would quickly find themselves in court as the attackers. The statistics show that they are right.

Between 2011-2014, in more than 93 percent of cases in which citizens filed reports against the police, the Police Investigation Unit either refrained from opening an investigation or closed the case without taking action against the offending officers. Among the 11,282 complaints filed between 2011-2013, only 306 cases (2.7 percent) led to criminal trials, while only 374 (3.3 percent) led to disciplinary hearings. In 2014, only 2.5 percent of complaints turned into a trial, while three percent led to a disciplinary hearing. The rest of the cases were either closed due to lack of evidence or public interest — or were never investigated in the first place.

In 2016, 2,945…

Read More

Donald #Trump (a Tramp really) and his bashing of Muslims, however disturbing, seems to be borrowed from America’s antisemitic history. Nothing new. He’s seeking votes and his “supporting” polls are nothing new!

“23 percent of respondents in one 1945 survey saying they would vote for a congressional candidate if the candidate declared “himself as being against the Jews”

Trump

In the first half of the 20th century, Jews were discriminated against in some employment, not allowed into some social clubs and resort areas, given a quota on enrollment at colleges, and not allowed to buy certain properties. Antisemitism reached its peak during the interwar period. The rise of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s, the antisemitic works of Henry Ford, and the radio speeches of Father Coughlin in the late 1930s indicated the strength of attacks on the Jewish community.

In 1915, during World War I, Ford blamed Jews for instigating the war, saying “I know who caused the war: German-Jewish bankers.”[14] Later, in 1925, Ford said “What I oppose most is the international Jewish money power that is met in every war. That is what I oppose—a power that has no country and that can order the young men of all countries out to death'”. According to author Steven Watts, Ford’s antisemitism was partially due to a noble desire for world peace.

No Jews Allowed - US History

In a 1938 poll, approximately 60 percent of the respondents held a low opinion of Jews, labeling them “greedy,” “dishonest,” and “pushy.”[24] 41 percent of respondents agreed that Jews had “too much power in the United States,” and this figure rose to 58 percent by 1945. In 1939 a Roper poll found that only thirty-nine percent of Americans felt that Jews should be treated like other people. Fifty-three percent believed that “Jews are different and should be restricted” and ten percent believed that Jews should be deported.[25] Several surveys taken from 1940 to 1946 found that Jews were seen as a greater threat to the welfare of the United States than any other national, religious, or racial group.

Political antisemitism also was high during the war years, with 23 percent of respondents in one 1945 survey saying they would vote for a congressional candidate if the candidate declared “himself as being against the Jews” and as many as 35 percent saying it would not affect their vote. Jews also noted the influence of antisemitism when the U.S. State Department opposed efforts to lower immigration barriers to admit Jews and other refugees fleeing the Holocaust and Nazi-occupied Europe.

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Around 20,000 protesters marched through London waving Palestinian flags and chanting anti-Israel slogans

By Anna Roberts4:55PM BST 09 Aug 2014

Thousands of demonstrators descended on the streets of central London this afternoon to protest at the bombing of Gaza by Israeli forces.
Waving placards and the black, white, green and red flag of Palestine, the marchers converged on the BBC’s Broadcasting House near Oxford Circus.

Chants of “Free, Free, Palestine” were shouted across London’s busy West End as marchers then made their way to Hyde Park to be addressed by speakers including George Galloway and Diane Abbott.

Organised by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and Stop the War, the march passed peacefully, according to most onlookers. Pupils from Ed Miliband’s old school, Haverstock, in Chalk Farm, north London, joined the march, accompanied by a samba band.

Yasmin Rackal, 17, said: “People shouldn’t stand by and watch an injustice. I have little brothers and sisters and if I was in that situation I would want people globally to fight for me.”

Sanum Ghafoor, 22, had travelled from Luton to take part. She said: “It is a massacre of the Palestinians, and the world is staying quiet. The British Government keeps supporting the Israeli establishment.”

One Jewish marcher said he was appalled at the “horrific” images of dead bodies and bombed-out homes being beamed out of Gaza.

But Dan Rosenberg, 43, said while many of his Jewish friends felt the same, they were too afraid to join the march for fear of being abused.

The father of two from north London, said: “It is horrific what is going on in Gaza. It is collective punishment. I don’t know how any human being can stand back while this is happening.

“But it is difficult being here. We have seen the anti-Semitic attitudes and you feel very threatened and scared, but we feel we have to stand up and represent.

“Even standing here we feel quite uncomfortable. You hear people say they think the Jews run the media. Those beliefs are unpleasant, ignorant and racist.

“I have Jewish friends who wanted to come but they felt uncomfortable being here.”

A public appeal for money launched on Friday night to help thousands of Gazans has raised more than £4.5m in less than 24 hours.

The Department for International Development has pledged to match the first £2m donated by the public to the Gaza Crisis Appeal, which will help pay for food, water and shelter

The Shame of Shuhada Street

In Hebron, Palestinians are subjected to daily indignities—large and small.
A Jewish settler walks past a Palestinian on Shuhada Street, in the West Bank city of Hebron. (Nayef Hashlamoun/Reuters)

HEBRON, West Bank—I first saw the boys through the rear view mirror of the car I was riding in, as they approached Shuhada Street. One of them was about the age of my daughter, who became a bat mitzvah last week. The other might have been 16 or so, like my older son. The boys hesitated at the top of the street and seemed to take a breath. Then they stepped into the void.

Shuhada Street, lined with small shops whose owners typically lived upstairs, was once among the busiest market streets in this ancient city. But in 1994, in response to a horrific massacre that left 29 people dead and 125 injured, the Israel Defense Forces began clamping down on Shuhada Street. They welded shut the street-facing doors of all the homes and shops, and by the time of the Second Intifada in 2000, had turned the bustling thoroughfare into a ghost street on which no one was permitted to set foot. No one, that is, who is Palestinian. Israeli Jews and foreign visitors are free to come and go along the road—to snap photos and make their way to Hebron’s three Jewish settler outposts, Beit Hadassah, Beit Romano, and Avraham Avinu. But there is nothing to buy, nothing to see, no reason to tarry. The stores are all closed. The few Palestinians who remain have been barred from the street where they live. If they want to enter their homes, they must do so through back doors, which in many cases involves clambering over rooftops.

One might be tempted to view Shuhada Street as just another casualty in an endless cycle of violent retribution. A Palestinian kills dozens of Hebron’s Jews, so Israel punishes the Palestinians of Hebron by closing Shuhada Street. But that is not, in fact, what happened. The victims of the massacre that impelled the Israeli government to shutter Shuhada were not Jews. They were Palestinians—unarmed Palestinians gunned down as they prayed at the nearby Cave of the Patriarchs by Baruch Goldstein, an American-born Jewish zealot with Israeli military training and a Galil assault rifle, who stopped firing only when he was overcome and killed by survivors of his attack. You can add Shuhada Street, and the vibrant urban life it once sustained and embodied, to the list of Goldstein’s victims.

My visit to Hebron had begun at Goldstein’s tomb, in a small park in the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba on the city’s outskirts. The grave has become a site of pilgrimage and ecstatic veneration for some religious Israelis and sympathetic foreigners despite the Israeli government’s prohibition on monuments to terrorists. The massive slab of marble is inscribed with the words, “He gave his life for the people of Israel, its Torah and land.” On the day I visited, the gravestone was littered with small stones, placed there in homage in accordance with Jewish tradition.

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An ultra-Orthodox Jew prays at Baruch Goldstein’s gravesite, in 1998. (Reuters)

After puzzling over the epitaph (I was born in Jerusalem but my family emigrated to Canada before I learned to read), I brushed away the commemorative stones. A mass-murderer deserves no such honor. An Israeli army jeep rumbled alongside the park and I stepped back, nervous that I would be harassed for my action. The Israeli military presence in Hebron is intense—between 600 and 650 soldiers, military police, and commanders, or at least one for every settler—and its role is very clear: The security forces are there to protect the settlers, regardless of how brutal or inflammatory the latter’s actions may be, and regardless of the fact that, as Goldstein’s homicidal cowardice makes clear, it is the Palestinians who often need protection against settlers who, sure of support from the Netanyahu government, seek to make permanent their incursion into the city.

My companions and I then made our way to Shuhada Street, where an Israeli soldier checked our passports to ensure both that we were not Palestinian and that we understood the omnipotence of Israeli military authority. We passed the new Beit Hadassah museum, an exhibit of curated propaganda dedicated to legitimizing the presence of Jewish settlers in the city. Then we came to the end of the street, and I happened to glance in the rearview mirror, where I saw the two boys. I didn’t need to be the mother of children their age to fear for their lives and safety. I only needed to have been following the news.

Less than a week before, on Nakba Day, when Palestinians commemorate the displacement that preceded and followed Israel’s declaration of independence, there had been a protest in front of Ofer military prison in the West Bank town of Beitunia. After the protest was dispersed, two Palestinian teenagers had been shot and killed by the Israeli army. Video of the killings had surfaced on the Internet, and in my hotel room in Jerusalem I had watched as another Arab boy my son’s age, carrying the kind of backpack my son carries, doing nothing more than crossing a street—crumpled and pitched forward, motionless.

Now, several days later, I watched these Shuhada Street boys risk death for the sake of a liberty so rudimentary and fundamental that my own children are not even aware of its existence, or its importance, or its simple human beauty: the right to walk down the street.

I should have gotten out of the car and joined them. I should have taken out my cell phone and started filming. But I just sat in the car and fretted. Thankfully, the Israeli soldiers on duty that day did nothing more than lift their weapons and motion the boys back to permitted ground, and the boys obeyed. It was one of many such interactions—petty indignities and tiny acts of courage. It was nothing as dramatic as an incident, viewable on YouTube, in which settler girls take advantage of a school holiday to lie in wait for Palestinian children on their way home from school, then curse the other children and throw rocks at them while Israeli soldiers look on, periodically urging the rock-throwers to stop but doing little to protect the victims of the violence. Nothing as dramatic as another encounter, also captured on video, in which a female settler, flanked by soldiers, lobs curses at a Palestinian woman who had the temerity to walk out the front gate of her own house. “Whore! Whore!” the settler hisses.

I ended my visit to Hebron at a small community center run by Palestinian peace activists, where we shared plates of hummus and fresh vegetables and tried to find inspiration in the tiny outpost of hope. But the bright murals painted by Palestinian activists had been disfigured by Jewish settlers with splashes of gray paint, and we ate under the stony gaze of soldiers assigned to guard settlers whose vandalism is among the least of their offenses.

The litany of Hebron’s many immiserations is long. I could write paragraphs about the racially differentiated access to water, and about how settlers sometimes spray the ground with their hoses, taunting Palestinians who have severely limited access to water for drinking or cooking or bathing. I could describe the ugly anti-Arab graffiti I saw, the bumper stickers plastered onto walls with messages like, “Arab! Don’t even dare to think about a Jewish woman!” I could describe the achingly torturous journey an elderly resident of Shuhada Street must make just to leave her house, with its front door welded shut, because one day in 1994 a hate-filled fanatic massacred her townspeople.

 

But out of respect for the people who escorted me down the tragic length of Shuhada Street, I will try to close on a note of hopefulness. My guides were a couple of Jewish Israelis, raised in religious homes, who had served as soldiers in the West Bank and who, as a result of what they saw and what they did, now devote their lives to raising awareness about the injustices of the Occupation. My guides described in painful detail the structural inequality of a land where one ethnic group lives under oppressive military rule, and another under democratic, civilian authority. They described receiving explicit instruction to make Palestinians feel as if they were constantly under surveillance, constantly pursued, constantly harassed. They said their role, as described by Moshe Ya’alon, the current defense minister and former army chief of staff, was to “sear the hearts and minds of the Palestinians.” My guides told me of instances in which they were involved in “Straw Widow” actions, where they invaded a Palestinian home, shut the family into a single room, and then made free use of the house. Ostensibly these home invasions were conducted for security reasons, but just as often they were simple training exercises. Sometimes the homes were chosen because they had a satellite dish, and an important soccer match was on TV. “What hope is there?” I asked them, in response. They replied that they named their organization Breaking the Silence because they fervently believe that once people know what is happening in Hebron and the rest of the Palestinian territories, change is inevitable.

I’m not sure that I share their faith in the power of knowledge to create justice, but I want to. And that’s why, as Bibi Netanyahu’s right-wing government broadcasts its contempt for the U.S. State Department’s commitment to working with the new Palestinian unity government, and announces the construction of 1,500 new settlement housing units in the West Bank, I, a Jewish American born in Israel, who believes in Israel’s right to exist within its own borders, am breaking my own silence.

 

The Atlantic

 

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