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Join us for a public reading of testimonies from soldiers who served in Gaza.
Friday, 25.05.18 | Habima Square, Tel Aviv | 11:00
We, soldiers sent to the Gaza Strip to carry out violent rounds of combat, implement the IDF’s open fire regulations, and partake in the devastating destruction of the lives and property of millions of people, state loud and clear: demonstrations must not be dispersed with live fire.
On Monday, May 14, new red lines were crossed in Israel. The unconscionable killing of unarmed demonstrators along the separation barrier with Gaza will be disgracefully immortalized in history books on Israel and its over 50-year-long regime of occupation.
Lethal fire must be the last resort after all other means have been exhausted. The 60 and counting civilians killed, join the dozens of unarmed Gazans who have already been shot dead by IDF fire since demonstrations began in Gaza at the end of March. This inconceivable number attests to a distorted lenient open fire policy, proving yet again that as far as the State of Israel is concerned, Palestinian blood – and especially Gazan blood – is worthless.
Testimonies from dozens of soldiers who served in the Gaza Strip in the recent rounds of violence indicate a grave but clear picture – this is not mistaken misconduct, but rather a systematic open fire policy. The IDF’s attempts to retroactively incriminate demonstrators by deeming them Hamas activists, will not change the intolerable ease with which it fired at dozens of unarmed people, who were neither on lists of wanted persons, nor were they intelligence targets, and most of them didn’t seem to be endangering lives.
When Israel fights in Gaza, it is not combatting an enemy state, but rather subjects living under its military rule. When the IDF fires, it does not stand on the border between two sovereign states, but rather on the barrier that separates the State of Israel from the territories it occupies. There are millions of people living under the Israeli occupation in Gaza. Our control of the Gaza Strip may look different from our rule over the West Bank, but it is equally destructive and violent, and must be brought to an end. The grave incidents that have been taking place in Gaza over the past few weeks must be seen in the light of the long-lasting occupation, which has been eroding our souls, dulling our senses, and stripping us of our most basic moral and human values.
It is impossible to rule over another nation without using violence and harming innocent people. Our right to security does not justify the bloodshed of thousands of demonstrators who have been shot with live ammunition, and we refuse to remain silent when the government’s only solution is to send us to Gaza time and again, for further violence and occupation.
Dozens of Palestinians have recently been arrested on suspicion of stealing water in the South Hebron Hills. The head of the settler’s South Hebron Hills Regional Council, Yochai Damari, calls such acts "water terrorism" and claims that "the Arabs don't lack water." Shocking, huh? If "the Arabs don't lack water," why would they bother to steal? * "No village gets water from Mekorot (Israeli national water company) in all of area C. Maybe except very very specific cases. But if you don’t have a master plan you don’t get water, you don’t get sewage, don’t get electricity. So they steal.” (First Lieutenant, Civil Administration) * Settlements and outposts in the South Hebron Hills get their water from Mekorot, Israel's national water company. But the Civil Administration hasn't connected any Palestinian community to a proper water source, aside from Khirbet a-Tuwani, which was there long before the settlers. Palestinians living in the South Hebron Hills use rainwater that they store in cisterns. Many of these cisterns are demolished by the Civil Administration as they were built "without permits," though some of them have existed since the period of the British Mandate. But that doesn't seem to change anything. What about settlers who live in unauthorized outposts in the South Hebron Hills? They get water. As for Palestinians? They buy their water in tanks, consuming about 7.5 times less water than the average neighboring settler, which costs about a third of their monthly income. So why would anyone buy stolen water? If they live in an area with two separate legal systems, and find themselves on the "wrong side of the law." Want to see the discriminatory regime that we upheld as soldiers? We're taking a tour to the South Hebron Hills on July 21. Register now: http://bit.ly/30rYV8L
Now there is a new, convenient, tax deductible (in the U.S.) way to donate to us! The New Israel Fund opened a new portal which enables you to donate to organizations the NIF supports and we are among them. A donation through the website takes less than two minutes, but it help us fund the field tours we organize, our testimony collection and verification of testimonies from soldiers and our public work. Just click on the link, fill in your information and donate: http://bit.ly/2jH7f3T
Minister of Education Rafi Peretz supports conversion therapy for LGBTQ people. The headlines lashed out, Knesset members denounced his statement, and even the prime minister released a rare condemnation - rightly so. Conversion therapy is a horrifying practice, which presupposes that members of the LGBTQ community are flawed, that they must be cured, and that they are "abnormal." But Minister Peretz said more than just that. In his interview with Dana Weiss he expressed his support for full annexation of the West Bank without granting Palestinians the right to vote. There were much fewer public condemnations of that statement. Even Netanyahu condemned his support of conversion therapy, but supporting an Apartheid regime is much more easily accepted. "We'll take care of all their needs – we'll make sure that they'll be content, but they won't be granted the ability to make political determinations.” Really Peretz? Because it just so happens that there are currently millions of Palestinians under Israeli military rule who don't have the right to vote. We know very well what you mean by "taking care of their needs.” We are the soldiers who were sent to maintain our "temporary" control over them in the occupied territories, to maintain one legal system for Jews and another for Palestinians. We saw what it looks like, and you know what? Peretz doesn't give a damn about "Palestinians' needs" and he never will. Without civil representation there will be no equal rights for Palestinians, so long as Israeli politicians have no interest in granting them. The eternal occupation you want to see here, Peretz, won't come to pass. You and Netanyahu may not care whether you live in the South Africa of the Middle East, but many other Israelis, ourselves included, do care – and we won't let that happen. Share.