P B B Y

Telling the Truth for Palestinian Children

Monday 10 February 2014 by admin

A presentation by the Canadian writer Anne Carter

at IBBY 30th Congress in Macau

Speech http://www.ibby.org/index.php?id=638

And PowerPoint presentation

This was presented at IBBY 30 Congress in Macau- China in 2006

Telling the Truth for Palestinian Children Anne Laurel Carter/Canada

The script below accompanies the PowerPoint presentation which can be downloaded at the end of this presentation.

None of us live in an ideal world, and children are vulnerable to the disastrous results of adult conflicts (Appendix 1). Most children around the world, when asked what #1 change they’d make if they ruled the world would answer, “To live in peace.”

PPT #2 So why is this so difficult? At the risk of being simplistic, all world religions teach a similar principle. In North America we tell our children it is the golden rule:

Christianity

All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. Matthew 7:1

Confucianism

Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state. Analects 12:2

Buddhism

Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. Udana-Varga 5,1

Hinduism

This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you.
Mahabharata 5,1517

Islam

No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.
Sunnah

Judaism

What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary. Talmud, Shabbat 3id

Taoism

Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.
Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien

Zoroastrianism

That nature alone is good which refrains from doing another whatsoever is not good for itself. Dadisten-I-dinik, 94,5

Somehow, when we try to apply this principle to land – “this is mine” - we use our religions and morals to justify bombing each other to smithereens.

All of us are here, I imagine, because we care about children. If you’re like me you hope that good literature not only entertains, but opens the windows to the human mind and spirit. For the young reader we want them to think, to question, and more simply, to care about this shared home we have – the earth.

As technology propels us into each other’s living rooms and kitchens we are truly a global village. As a writer it’s my job to observe. I operate from a conviction that we do not need to be enemies. Our literature for children needs to portray us as the human family.

When there are so many issues – basic issues of clean water, food, shelter and protection – facing millions of children who live in a far from ideal world, why care so much about what they read? What difference can a book make, say for instance, to a child with no hope of escaping the refugee camp that is her home and likely, will be her children’s home?
Books entertain but they also inform.

When I attend teachers’ conventions in Canada, especially those concerned with literacy, I see many sessions devoted to what we call higher level thinking skills. We want to enable kids to make associations, ask questions, and find new solutions to human dilemmas. Yet we know that if basic physiological needs of water, food, shelter and protection are not met it is difficult to devote energy to what we call higher level thinking. A child that is hungry, sick, or facing the end of an M-16 rifle is thinking about survival. Our understanding of needs is shaped by the work of Abraham Maslow, the American psychologist, who first wrote about the hierarchy of needs sixty years ago.

5. Actualization

4. Status (esteem)

3. Love/belonging

2. Safety

1. Physiological (biological needs)

Diagram of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is often depicted as a pyramid: the four lower levels are physiological needs; the top level is more psychological. While physical needs must be met, our being needs continually shape our behaviour. Maslow’s basic concept was that higher needs come into focus once all the needs lower down in the pyramid are satisfied.
PPT # 3 In my novels I love to retell history from the perspective of “the other side”. My character’s needs are challenged at both lower and higher levels.

My first novel concerned a shameful bit of Canadian history. The war over who would dominate North America – the French or the English – was fought in the Seven Year War, 1756 – 1763. It ended with the Treaty of Paris in which New France was ceded to Britain (except for two small islands St. Pierre et Miquelon). Great Britain became the most powerful colonizing empire in the world.

When I studied this history in school during the 1960’s Canadian English textbooks treated the Acadian Expulsion as a necessary, security measure. I want my readers to learn to question “security issues”.

Acadians, peaceful French Catholic farmers, had successfully irrigated the marshlands on the east coast of Canada to create a fertile breadbasket, “l’Acadie”, for about 150 years. They’d left poverty behind with their French citizenship, and proudly called themselves Acadians. In 1755 L’Acadie was governed by the English. The English demanded an unconditional oath of allegiance knowing full well Acadians would never want to fight against French (similar ancestry) or Native people (intermarriage). The Acadians agreed to a conditional oath of allegiance. The acting Governor (Lawrence) being a military leader, used the issue, to deport all the Acadians. Their homes were burned and lands confiscated, a tragedy known to Acadians as Le grand dérangement (between 10,000-15,000 Acadians – gone!). Then the British invited settlers, English Protestants were first choice, to resettle the fertile Acadian farmlands. We now have Nova Scotia. For those Americans here who love their Cajun food from Louisiana, the Cajuns are descendents of the Acadians, families who went there to hide in the backwoods looking for swamp land (a good place to hide), poor land that wouldn’t attract the eye of the British empire.

Sometimes only the passing of time allows us to tell a truthful account of a conflict. Historical “apology” comes too late for children living through tragedy imposed by adult politics.

PPT # 4 What’s the worst tragedy in Jewish history called? And for Palestinians?

Why don’t we know more about Al-Naqba? PPT # 5
(Incident on the school yard. Victim statements. Need for unbiased witnesses.)
By writing about these things I hope to alert children to issues that affect the world. Access to unbiased information is a critical issue. Recently in Canada one of our finest writers for children, Deborah Ellis, published a book called “Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak”. Deb went to Israel and interviewed children. The Canadian Jewish Congress tried to have this book banned from staying on an award list carefully picked by librarians in Ontario. If you’re interested to read more look at the Ontario Library Association website (google: “accessola”, then on the left click the link “Reading Programs”, then click the 2006 Silver Birch “Three Wishes”). The most poignant statement at this site comes from the Chair of the Selection Committee, a librarian who is Jewish, had family members perish in the Holocaust, and chose this book for an award list.

In Canada we owe a great deal to our excellent librarians who – in spite of conflicts AND financial cutbacks – are responsible for getting books to kids, and encouraging them to become readers and thinkers.

We impose a far from ideal world on children. Without a freedom to read and write about it, without access to information– how will they ever understand it?

THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

I want to tell you about my current writing project, one very much concerned with children and how they are informed about the world.

Kids love to ask writers: “Where did you get the idea for that story?”

Usually we have some history, someone we knew, or an incident from our past that explains the roots of our book. Almost always something mysterious guided the work. A character is born in our imagination from a seed.

As someone who seeks to understand the human drama, one effect of 9/11 was my realization that I knew nothing about Islam and the Arab world. My ignorance was shameful. I’d actually lived in Israel in 1971 and 1973 for a total of 16 months. Back then, there were no physical checkpoints, Bedouin camps were visible as you travelled, and Arab villages scattered over the countryside. But even then, there were strong but invisible social barriers: “You can’t trust them” I was told. “Be careful.” I had very little contact with Arab residents.

Three years ago I felt the seed of a character, a Palestinian girl, begging me to tell her story. The seed wiggled, begged for water, tried to grow roots, and I did my best to ignore it. For many months, well over a year, I ignored her. I knew nothing about Palestinians except what I read in the newspapers. My unexamined notions, based on media reports, said that their society bred suicide bombers and that they hated Israel.

I wanted to feel secure with my belief system. She waited, sad but patient.
In my world in Toronto, where I live at the top of the pyramid, I did not want to go to the occupied territories. Why not believe years of media reports that profiled Palestinians as either refugees or suicide bombers? Weren’t western journalists reporting the truth?
I knew, through IBBY that there was a Palestinian section and a President of this section, Jehan Helou. One day in January, 2005, I sent Jehan an email.

Her response was welcoming. “How nice to hear from you,” she said. “Come and visit. Maybe you could lead some creative writing workshops.”

Little did I know, this was far easier said than done. Israel had changed in 32 years. It’s now very difficult, sometimes impossible, to visit the occupied territories. Fortunately I also contacted Christian Peacemakers Teams who have been involved in peace work in the troubled area of Hebron for the last decade. www.cpt.org/hebron/hebron.php. They gave me advice on how to get there.

Let me quickly summarize my two visits. They were difficult trips, both during the winter. I chose, always, to be hosted by different Palestinian families. (In order to write about a child and her world I had to observe her life.)

PPT # 6 Here’s what I observed:

1) Heat, Water, Shelter, Money, Justice - all the basic needs – are illegally controlled by the whim and will of the occupier, Israel, and often shut off.

2) The second you cross a checkpoint – on foot, lugging your luggage - the standard of living crashes from a North American high in Israel to a third world low in Palestinian communities.

3) Travel is almost impossible. The tourist industry - wiped out. You see new highways, glitzy malls & fancy hotels in Israel, funded by American $, and in Bethlehem, for example, 8 out of 10 shops were boarded up. Closed.

4) Every Palestinian I met wanted peace.

PPT # 7, 8 & 9 Thanks to Jehan’s organization, I gave workshops to the writing community in Ramallah and in several schools. Jehan very much wanted me to visit Gaza and refugee camps but I felt overwhelmed by what I’d seen, and unable to do these situations justice. I knew after my first visit that I’d write about a Palestinian girl in a village outside Hebron.

PPT # 10, 11 WHEN YOU HEAR THE WORD CHECKPOINT…At checkpoints, several times, young soldiers pointed rifles at us, passengers in shared taxis, for… fun? Power? Control? Israel has built, thanks to American foreign aide, new highways on what the UN has clearly described as Palestinian land. (Visit any UN site). Palestinians are not allowed to travel on settlers’ highways. License plates are colour coded. Their towns and villages, many in existence for over 2000 years, are cut off from each other, strangled.

PPT # 12, 13 The international community condemns – especially the Separation Wall - but it continues (See Appendix 2 & 3, an article in the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz).

I stayed with a family whose house had been demolished, and after international peace workers raised the funds to buy the Israeli permit to rebuild (without a permit they’d just come and demolish it again), settlers came in the night and chased out the family and set it on fire. This was not the house of a suicide bomber. It was the house of a hardworking Palestinian farmer whose ancestors lived on the land for hundreds and hundreds of years – without legal papers – and that orthodox settlers now want. I witnessed fields and olive groves that have been confiscated, dug up, attacked and poisoned by settlers.
Palestine is cold and damp in the winter. One morning it snowed. The Tamer Institute where Jehan works had no heat. We could see our breath in the meeting room where I encouraged a small group of writers to write their stories. We huddled at one end around a small heater. By the way, the Tamer Institute is a few simple rooms in a building in Ramallah. There are no weapons of any kind . . . unless those weapons are pens, paper, and books. There’s a growing library in a room where educators and writers meet for workshops. I believe most discussions focus on getting books to children and trying to support the strangled communities of Gaza, Jenin, Nablus, Bethlehem, Hebron . . . it’s sadly, a long list of every community. There are stacks of publications on the floor. The Tamer Institute supports reading programs for children, mobile libraries, and competitions for new writers which is especially important when Israel closes schools. Everyone I met had been encouraged by the work of the Tamer Institute.
Children sometimes rely on a handful of positive thinking, dedicated adults (who work for Tamer and like-minded organizations) to keep books and hope alive.
Jehan has been quoted with saying, “knowledge is power”.

PPT # 14 During my first few days there I worried that the bags I saw Palestinians carrying held bombs. Then I looked more closely. They held shopping bags laden with tomatoes and food and gifts to carry each other. Some held books. The only people I saw holding guns were the Israeli soldiers and the settlers.

PPT # 15, 16 I’m working on a novel that tells the story of a Palestinian girl growing up outside Hebron, threatened by settler aggression and the Israeli occupation. I’m trying to tell the truth from a child’s point of view as I witnessed it, as I’ve researched it.
If knowledge is power those of us from North America, the have-it-all minority of the global village, have been kept in ignorance by our journalists and what our governments want us to believe. Every Palestinian I met wanted peace; children want to become soccer players, farmers, doctors, teachers, writers, artists – the same dreams of children who live in the ideal world. They want, as Israeli children do, to realize their dreams at the top of the pyramid.

We do not need to approach Palestinians as if they are the enemy. Palestinian children are my children, your children. It’s time for stories that tell the truth about their tragedy.

PPT # 17

Appendix #1
Ideals proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1959 in the “Declaration of the Rights of the Child”:

The child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth,
Whereas the need for such special safeguards has been stated in the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1924...
Whereas mankind owes to the child the best it has to give,
Now therefore, The General Assembly
Proclaims this Declaration of the Rights of the Child . . . and calls upon parents, upon men and women as individuals, and upon voluntary organizations, local authorities and national Governments to recognize these rights and strive for their observance by legislative and other measures progressively taken in accordance with the following principles:
Principle 1
The child shall enjoy all the rights set forth in this Declaration. Every child, without any exception whatsoever, shall be entitled to these rights, without distinction or discrimination on account of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, whether of himself or of his family.
Principle 2
The child shall enjoy special protection, and shall be given opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity. In the enactment of laws for this purpose, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.
Principle 3
The child shall be entitled from his birth to a name and a nationality. . .

Appendix # 2 Electronic Intifida

OPINION/EDITORIAL
’Quiet transfer’ in East Jerusalem nears completion
Elodie Guego, Forced Migration Review, 6 September 2006

Israel is close to implementing a long-term plan to transform the demographic structure of annexed East Jerusalem. Policies to revoke the residency permits of Palestinian Jerusalemites and to Judaise the city have been described as ethnic cleansing.

After victory in the 1967 Six Day war, Israel annexed East Jerusalem - that part of the city that had been under Jordanian rule since the end of the British Mandate in 1948 - together with an additional 64 square kilometres which had been part of the West Bank. Jerusalem thus became Israel’s largest city and was declared to be its ’united and eternal capital’. The international community, led by the UN, has continuously denounced this act of unilateral annexation, arguing it is a violation of the fundamental principle in international law prohibiting the forcible acquisition of territory . . .

Their support of the Palestinian claim to East Jerusalem was bolstered by the fact that at the time of occupation Palestinians constituted the majority of residents in this sector of the city. Israel has engaged in a demographic battle to secure Israeli sovereignty over the whole city. For almost four decades successive governments have implemented policies designed to transform the city’s population structure and ensure the numeric superiority of Jews. Until the construction of the Wall in and around East Jerusalem, these objectives were pursued through a series of discriminatory regulations to reduce the Palestinian population by rendering their lives increasingly intolerable and encouraging the growth of Israeli settlements in Palestinian neighbourhoods. Today the approximately 230,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites represent around 30% of Jerusalem’s total population.
Under the post-1967 plan designed by Israeli military commanders, heavily populated Palestinian areas were not included, but land belonging to several Palestinian villages was incorporated into Jerusalem

Those who were left outside the new municipal boundaries, or who happened to be outside Jerusalem in 1967, remained residents of the West Bank and, as such, subject to military rule. The Israeli government conducted a census of the Palestinian population living within the city’s new administrative boundaries and granted permanent residency status to the Palestinians residents of the annexed areas. They were entitled to become Israeli citizens provided they agreed to swear allegiance to the State of Israel. Mass refusal to recognise Israeli sovereignty over occupied Jerusalem meant that only 2.3% of Palestinian Jerusalemites became Israeli citizens. The others became permanent residents of Israel subject to Israeli law and jurisdiction, just as foreigners who voluntarily settle in Israel.

Jerusalem permanent residency status differs significantly from citizenship. Permanent residents of Israel are entitled to live and work in Israel without special permits, to receive social benefits from the National Insurance Institute and to vote in local elections. Permanent residency is not automatically granted to the holders’ children or spouses, however, and permanent residents, unlike Israeli citizens, do not enjoy the right to return to Israel at any time.

Between 1967 and 1994 Israel confiscated 24.8 square kilometres of land in East Jerusalem, 80% of it belonging to Palestinians. Land expropriation is continuing. Today a mere 7% of the area of East Jerusalem remains available to Palestinians. Confiscated land has mostly been used for the construction of Jewish settlements and settlers’ bypass roads, in violation of international humanitarian law prohibiting an occupying power from transferring part of its own population into territory it has occupied. The Jerusalem Municipality has expediently used zoning restrictions to establish ’green areas’, supposedly set aside for environmental and recreational purposes, but actually deployed as a tactic to remove the land from Palestinian use and create a reserve for Jewish housing.

The Town Planing Scheme (TPS), another key instrument of ’quiet transfer’, restricts building permits in already built-up areas, the only areas available for Palestinian use. TPS has been used to restrict the development of Palestinian neighbourhoods. Palestinians are only permitted to build one- or two-storey buildings while adjacent Israeli housing units may have up to eight floors. Palestinians must go through a complex and time-consuming administrative process to obtain a building permit. These cost around $25,000 - a considerable obstacle as Palestinian incomes are significantly below those of Israelis. Palestinians obtain a disproportionately small percentage of the building permits issued every year by the Jerusalem Municipality. Only 7.5% of the homes legally built during the period 1990-1997 belong to Palestinians.

Centre of life

In 1995 the Israeli Interior Ministry introduced a new regulation requiring Palestinian residents to prove they had continuously lived and worked in Jerusalem during the preceding seven years. The standard of proof demanded is so rigorous that even persons who have never left Jerusalem have difficulties in meeting it. Palestinians who fail to prove that their ’centre of life’ is Jerusalem risk having their residency status revoked and their requests for family reunification and child registration rejected. The number of Jerusalem residency ID cards confiscated after promulgation of the ’centre of life’ policy rose by over 600%. Suburbs on Jerusalem’s outskirts, to which many East Jerusalemites had moved as a result of earlier discriminatory policies, were declared to be outside Jerusalem, thus removing the residency rights of over 50,000 people. In order to defend their claims to residency and the social rights which go with it, some 20,000 Palestinians returned to live within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries.

Israel’s ’centre of life’ policy seriously affects Palestinians’ entitlement to health and social benefits, to family reunification, child registration and membership of the Israeli national insurance scheme. The ’centre of life’ is verified for each annual renewal of spouses’ residence permits. Thousands of Palestinian children born in Jerusalem of parents who do not both hold a Jerusalem ID have been denied registration and are unable to exercise their basic rights, including their right to education. While the ’centre of life’ policy had been officially discontinued, the outbreak of the Al Aqsa intifada in September 2000 led to its reactivation. Since May 2002, Israel has refused to accept applications for family unification and refused to register the children of permanent residents who were born in the OPT.
The Wall consolidates the objectives of the ’centre of life’ policy. It not only isolates East Jerusalem from the West Bank and effectively incorporates it to Israel but also divides Palestinian neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem

The Wall is being erected to the west of neighbourhoods previously part of the municipality of Jerusalem (the Shu’afat refugee camp and West Anata with a population of 55,000), most of whose inhabitants hold Jerusalem IDs. It also separates from Jerusalem neighbourhoods which are entirely dependent on the city for their survival and the approximately 50,000 Palestinian permanent residents forced to relocate due to the discriminatory tax regime and the building permits’ restrictions imposed by Israeli authorities.

Palestinians holding Israeli permanent residency permits who now find themselves on the West Bank side of the Wall, particularly those living outside Jerusalem’s boundaries, are set to lose their residency status under the ’centre of life’ policy. The Wall makes many unable to reach their places of work and basic services inside Jerusalem which they must do to retain Israeli residency status. Family members who do not hold permanent residency cards will now be unable to circumvent Israeli regulations on residency and their spouses holding an Israeli ID will have to choose between living on a different side of the Wall or losing their jobs and residency rights in Jerusalem. According to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human rights in the OPT, "Israel hopes to further reduce the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem by compelling spouses to move to the West Bank side of the wall."

The housing crisis and the level of overcrowding of Palestinian neighbourhoods are such that Palestinians have been forced outside the city’s municipal boundaries or compelled to build homes in violation of Israeli laws. By building illegally they expose themselves to high fines and the threat of house demolition. In recent years, the number of houses demolished for lack of building permits has grown significantly According to the Israeli human rights organisation, B’tselem, between 1999 and 2003 in East Jerusalem 229 houses and other structures were demolished while in 2004 and 2005 alone 198 houses were demolished, displacing 594 people. This acceleration coincides with new land expropriations and plans for the development of new Jewish settlements in the heart of Palestinian neighbourhoods such as in Ras-al-amud or the Mount of Olives.

The construction of the Wall along and inside Jerusalem’s municipal borders will definitively prevent the return of Palestinians expelled from Jerusalem by land confiscations, house demolitions or pressure from extremist settlers’ groups. They will lose their rights to permanent residency in Jerusalem under the ’centre of life’ policy and will no longer be able to enter the city without special permits. The properties that they have abandoned in Jerusalem risk being seized under Israeli’s Absentee Property Law.

This eight-metre high Wall has given Israel a pretext to achieve long-established goals under the guise of security. Jerusalem is at the heart of all the antagonisms in the Middle East. International silence and failure to speak out against Israeli’s transfer strategy is likely to have irreversible consequences and destroy regional prospects for peace. The transfer of Palestinians will soon be an undisputed reality but should not remain ’quiet’.

Elodie Guego, a lawyer specialised in human rights law, worked as a volunteer in the OPT in 2005 and is currently Assistant Country Analyst at the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, Geneva. This article was originally published in the August 2006 edition of Forced Migration Review

Appendix # 3
w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m

Last update - 09:26 30/08/2006
Can you really not see?
By Amira Hass

Let us leave aside those Israelis whose ideology supports the dispossession of the Palestinian people because "God chose us." Leave aside the judges who whitewash every military policy of killing and destruction. Leave aside the military commanders who knowingly jail an entire nation in pens surrounded by walls, fortified observation towers, machine guns, barbed wire and blinding projectors. Leave aside the ministers. All of these are not counted among the collaborators. These are the architects, the planners, the designers, the executioners.

But there are others. Historians and mathematicians, senior editors, media stars, psychologists and family doctors, lawyers who do not support Gush Emunim and Kadima, teachers and educators, lovers of hiking trails and sing-alongs, high-tech wizards. Where are you? And what about you, researchers of Nazism, the Holocaust and Soviet gulags? Could you all be in favor of systematic discriminating laws? Laws stating that the Arabs of the Galilee will not even be compensated for the damages of the war by the same sums their Jewish neighbors are entitled to (Aryeh Dayan, Haaretz , August 21).

Could it be that you are all in favor of a racist Citizenship Law that forbids an Israeli Arab from living with his family in his own home? That you side with further expropriation of lands and the demolishing of additional orchards, for another settler neighborhood and another exclusively Jewish road? That you all back the shelling and missile fire killing the old and the young in the Gaza Strip?

Could it be that you all agree that a third of the West Bank (the Jordan Valley) should be off limits to Palestinians? That you all side with an Israeli policy that prevents tens of thousands of Palestinians who have obtained foreign citizenship from returning to their families in the occupied territories?

Could your mind really be so washed with the security excuse, used to forbid Gaza students from studying occupational therapy at Bethlehem and medicine at Abu Dis, and preventing sick people from Rafah from receiving medical treatment in Ramallah? Will also you find it easy to hide behind the explanation "we had no idea": we had no idea that the discrimination practiced in the distribution of water - which is solely controlled by Israel - leaves thousands of Palestinian households without water during the hot summer months; we had no idea that when the IDF blocks the entrance to villages, it also blocks their access to springs or water tanks.

But it cannot be that you don’t see the iron gates along route 344 in the West Bank, blocking access to it from the Palestinian villages it passes by. It cannot be that you support preventing the access of thousands of farmers to their land and plantations, that you support the quarantine on Gaza which prevents the entry of medicine for hospitals, the disruption of electricity and water supply to 1.4 million human beings, closing their only outlet to the world for months.

Could it be that you do not know what is happening 15 minutes from your faculties and offices? Is it plausible that you support the system in which Hebrew soldiers, at checkpoints in the heart of the West Bank, are letting tens of thousands of people wait everyday for hours upon hours under the blazing sun, while selecting: residents of Nablus and Tul Karm are not allowed through, 35-year-olds and under - yallah, back to Jenin, residents of the Salem village are not even allowed to be here, a sick woman who skipped the line must learn a lesson and will be purposefully detained for hours. Machsom Watch’s site is available for all; in it are countless such testimonies and worse, a day by day routine. But it cannot be that those who are appalled over every swastika painted on a Jewish grave in France and over every anti-Semitic headline in a Spanish local newspaper will not know how to reach this information, and will not be appalled and outraged.

As Jews we all enjoy the privilege Israel gives us, what makes us all collaborators. The question is what does every one of us do in an active and direct daily manner to minimize cooperation with a dispossessing, suppressing regime that never has its fill. Signing a petition and tutting will not do. Israel is a democracy for its Jews. We are not in danger of our lives, we will not be jailed in concentration camps, our livelihood will not be damaged and recreation in the countryside or abroad will not be denied to us. Therefore, the burden of collaboration and direct responsibility is immeasurably heavy.

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