If one were to browse Israeli newspapers like Yediot Aharonot, Ma’ariv and Israel HaYom over the last few weeks, they may get the impression that the Occupation and its accompanying cruelty have been put on pause until the end of election season. In truth, though, not only has the occupation not been “put on pause,” but the level of basic and basically-ignored cruelty seems to have increased over past weeks. Writing for Haaretz, the Left-wing newspaper that, with all of its flaws, must be lauded for doggedly refusing to join the growing consensus vis-a-vis Palestinians and Peace (ie., that they are things of the 1990s), Gideon Levy expressed confused outrage over the public’s silence and apathy regarding the murders of four Palestinians by IDF soldiers (”Samir was murdered in cold blood. There’s no other way to describe his death. A high school student who wasn’t endangering anyone”) and at the fact that we continue to speak of Democracy while functioning in practice as an apartheid state for millions of Palestinians. ”How on earth can Israel be considered a democracy? How can it not be called an apartheid state? Why is nobody even discussing the issue?”
In a less horrific but still extremely disturbing event over this past weekend, 10 Palestinians and five accompanying Israeli activists were arrested in the South Hebron Hills as the group sought to access under threat of takeover by a nearby settlement. Among those arrested was a mother holding her 18-month old baby. I have been doing this sort of activism for a while, and have seen many unpleasant things, both in film and in person, but watching this specific video which made me feel more sad and shocked than usual. Please watch it:
For those of you who are voting in Israeli elections tomorrow, may these images guide your hand at the polling station, reminders that the Occupation is morally horrific and that the only parties worthy of our votes are those who unequivocally recognize that.
And for everyone, whether or not you are voting or living in Israel-Palestine, or are based in the US, the UK or elsewhere, I want to make an ask of the sort that I do not often make on this blog: The woman, the mother, shown in the video was forced to post bail of 5,000 shekels following the accusation that she ”attacked a policeman,” (did this woman pose a threat to heavily armed soldiers? While holding a baby? How low can this “law” stoop?) and her family was not able to come up with that kind of money. The cost was covered from the pockets of Palestinian and Israeli individuals, most of whom cannot truly afford it. As such, I’d ask that folks donate to Ta’ayush, the Israeli activist group that works closely with Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills (and whose members I know and trust deeply), who will ensure that this sum does not end up falling wholly on the family and if there is extra money from donations, it will be put into a fund for similar cases in the future.
If you are interested in donating, even a small amount, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will give you the necessary transfer information.