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Amira Hass: "Can you really not see?" (HA'ARETZ)

Subject:        Amira Hass: "Can you really not see?" (HA'ARETZ)
Date:   Wed, 30 Aug 2006 20:30:12 +0300
From:   John Whitbeck

TO: Distinguished Recipients

Transmitted below is a call to conscience and human decency from Amira Hass.

Needless to say, it was published in HA'ARETZ, not in the NEW YORK TIMES
or the WASHINGTON POST.


http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/756413.html
8/30/06


*_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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