By: Tony Greenstein
What Happened When the Israeli Army Came Calling
The Israeli army invaded our neighborhood at 1:30 AM Tuesday morning waking up my mother, wife and sister. Heavily-armed soldiers blocked roads during “the operation”. When my family opened the door, they demanded to see me. They were told I have already left to the US.
After many more questions, they left a paper that states I am to appear at the military liaison office next Monday. My sister and wife told them I will not be back by then. Clearly the warning from that military officer at Ush Ghrab that I mentioned in my last email, was based on knowledge of this. I guess I am a wanted man now for engaging in nonviolent protest! Those who were at that event and have video, please contact me.
What disturbs me is not the risk to me; any action against oppression is taken knowing there are personal risks. What disturbs me is that this has an effect on my family and thousands of friends around the world who care (and some of it unpredictable). My 76 year old mother asks on the phone that I not go back and that I work in the US for a while, a very painful suggestion for a mother to make about her only remaining son near her! I try to assure her that I have done nothing wrong and will not leave her…but she brings up many examples of people who also did not do any violence and were arrested, imprisoned, and their families had to go through a lot.
friend who heard about this stated I have nothing to worry about, that this was to hassle me to get us to stop being active. Another lost sleep trying to figure out what we can do. I assure her that I will carry on with my speaking tour as planned and that this will blow over one day. (the song “we shall overcome someday” comes to mind). But I am not different from hundreds of others. Israel is cracking down on all popular/civil resistance activities in Palestine because: 1) there is no armed resistance now, and 2) Civil resistance is escalating and portending a new powerful uprising.
Israel’s repression of dissent reinforces in our minds the importance of civil resistance and that there is a price to pay for it. Over 30 activists were arrested in Bilin over the past year, many others in Ni’lin, Al-Ma’sara and elsewhere.
The repression reveals the bankruptcy of the Zionist regime and its excessive paranoia that will IMHO eventually lead to its demise. It is paranoia inherent in the philosophical underpinnings of the ideology. That ideology embraced by a subset of Jews (Zionism) simply teaches that “we are God’s chosen people, He gave us this land, we cannot go wrong when behaving against the Goyim especially those who happen to be here when we arrived to reclaim and cleanse our lands, and International law and human rights laws do not apply to us.”
It is self-destructive delusions that are inculcated during early education and perpetuate the myths of uniqueness. It leads to the kind of behaviors that are now difficult to hide (the ethnic cleansing of 1948 was only a beginning). But even some Israelis are shedding these mythologies and joining the struggle.
In the end, we will live together despite all this repression. I have to consider various options in terms of responding to this particular event. If you have any advice, I would appreciate it. My initial thought is that we should intensify our work for peace and human rights in this critical and historic period: write to the media, the politicians, neighbors and anyone who would listen. Below is an action call for March 30th (Land Day) which I urge you to heed. We can’t be neutral on a moving train and there are times whether in the US in the 1950s and 1960s or in South Africa under apartheid, when silence was indeed complicity in crime.

“We can’t be neutral on a moving train and there are times whether in the US in the 1950s and 1960s or in South Africa under apartheid, when silence was indeed complicity in crime.”

We hear most of Professor Qumsiyeh’s talk given last week at St. John’s Methodist Church in Watertown, MA. As he explains, an IDF soldier warned him, two days before, to cancel his entire trip to the US and stay home in the West Bank. After he departed on the trip, his house was surrounded by a garrison of IDF soldiers, and his fate upon return is uncertain.
Qumsiyeh’s subject: Israeli Apartheid and Palestinian Nonviolent Resistance. He also lays out some of the sordid history of the Zionist movement, which was born back in the 1880s. Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh teaches genetics and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in occupied Palestine.
He previously served on the faculties of Yale and Duke Universities and the University of Tennessee. He is currently the president of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement between People and the coordinator of the Popular Committee to Defend Ush Ghrab (PCDUG). He is an author, blogger, tireless Palestinian human rights activist, and a co-founder of Wheels of Justice Bus Tour.
He authored the acclaimed “Sharing the Land of Canaan: human rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle”; has published over 200 letters to the editor and 100 op-ed pieces and has been interviewed extensively on local, national and international TV and radio. Appearances in national media included the Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, CNBC, C-Span, and ABC, among others. He regularly lectures on issues of human rights and international law and is currently finishing a book on the history of Palestinian civil resistance.
The event was sponsored by Tri-Town Alliance of Watertown, Newton and Waltham; United for Justice with Peace; Sabeel; and Living Stones Ministry, Church of the Good Shepherd, Watertown. Links: Links

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