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The casualties of the next Gaza war

The awful experience of the past few years suggests that in about two years time will be ripe for yet another war with predictable outcomes: thousands of dead, each and every one of them a person who meant the world to their families and loved ones.

By Hagai El-Ad

One month after the end of the war in Gaza – was it the second Gaza war? The third? – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood in front of the UN General Assembly and declared that, “no other country and no other army in history have gone to greater lengths to avoid casualties among the civilian population of their enemies.” This declaration came just a few weeks after that day in early August 2014, when the home of the Abu Madi family in a-Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip was bombed. The attack took the lives of the grandfather, Yusef Daud Abu Madi, three of his sons and two grandchildren. Shadi Abu Madi, one of the family members who survived, but lost two of his children, 6-year-old Yusef, and two-week-old Hala, says their siblings ask about them every day. He tells them that Hala and Yusef went to heaven. His wife sometimes imagines that baby Hala is hungry and asking to be nursed.

On the 22nd day of the war it was Isaac Herzog, the leader of the opposition, who was making declarations: “There is no dispute between the coalition and the opposition on this. We are fighting a just war over Israel’s image and the image of the Israeli people.” Herzog made this statement on July 29, the day the Abu Jaber family home in al-Bureij Refugee Camp, the a-Dali home in Khan Yunis, and the Balata home in Jabalya Refugee Camp were bombed. In the al-Bureij bombing, 19 people died, 17 of them from the same family. In Khan Yunis, 34 died, more than half of them minors. In Jabalya, 11 were killed, all from the same family. Hanneyeh Abu Jaber survived the al-Bureij bombing. She remembered the Id al-Fitr holiday meal. The family had been dining together. She did not hear the explosion. When she woke up at the hospital, she was told that her son, his wife and their daughters had died. The next day, her niece told her about the other family members who had been killed.

Four months after the fighting ended, the Military Advocate...

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Excluded from politics, Orthodox women fight back

The next Knesset is expected to have a record number of women, but even that number — 31 out of 120 — isn’t all that impressive. ‘Either we do something now and fight for representation, or we will be silenced for generations to come,’ founder of ultra-Orthodox women’s party says.

By Angela Gruber

If recent polls are to be believed, the next Knesset is set to achieve a historical record: the representation of women could be the highest in its history.

When you look at the actual numbers, however, the record is less impressive. Women make up half of the population but will likely control only 31 out of 120 seats — 26 percent. This number, however, is enough to outdistance the previous Knesset, which only had 27 female members, or 23 percent. Compared to parliaments in other countries, neither number is very impressive.

Haredi women speak out

Why is representation so low? The first answer is also a rather obvious one: as a rule, the three religious parties don’t let women run for public office on their slates: ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism have never had any female candidates on their ballots. Ra’am, an Islamist dominated party now part of the Joint List, didn’t send any women to the Knesset either. Although these three parties together only held 22 seats in the last Knesset, their policy is not helping overall female representation.

There are, however, people who are trying to change that reality. Haredi woman Ruth Colian founded the first political party specifically for Haredi women this past year. U’Bezchutan (“By their own merit,” using the feminine form of the word in Hebrew) is supposed to represent all women who are struggling against Israel’s religious establishment, she explained.

“Right now, we Haredi women don’t have anyone in the Knesset to represent us. And I reached the point where I said to myself that either we do something now and fight for representation, or we will be silenced for generations to come,” Colian said.

The male-only Haredi parties do not take into account issues that are important for women, Colian said. “When the Knesset held a hearing about breast cancer, no male Haredi MK showed up,” Colian lamented, adding that ultra-Orthodox men consider the topic to be indecent and refuse to talk about it — even though Haredi women have a much higher...

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Home demolitions: A reminder that the Nakba never ended

The destruction of Hanaa’ al-Naqib’s home in Lydd this week is a reminder that Israel’s dispossession of Palestinians didn’t end in 1948 — it has simply taken on new forms.

By Rami Younis

We could hear the wailing all the way from the entrance to the besieged neighborhood. It was a heartbreaking sound. We quietly make our way between the bushes, over the fence and past the train tracks, so as not to be detected. When it comes to the police, using words like “the media” or “photographers” doesn’t really grant you access.

We make it to the yard of one of the houses, which I recognize immediately. This place belongs to Maha al-Naqib, a member of the Lydd City Council (“Lod” in Hebrew, “Lydda” in English), and a veteran political activist in the city. We climb the fence, walk for ten seconds to the front, and there they are. Maha looks broken, tears in her eyes, as she stands near Hanaa’, her neighbor and relative. Hanaa’ is a single mother who was tossed into the street with her four children just minutes ago.

The women take turns hugging and holding Hanaa’ — I feel helpless, bordering on useless. The cops stand before them, smiling. No one goes in, no one goes out. Everyone is in the yard staring at the bulldozer destroying the house across from them. A group of women try to speak directly to the policemen, but they don’t respond. They just stare back and smile.

I remember how Maha and I sat in this very same yard just two months ago when I interviewed her for a documentary on Lydd during the Nakba, when many of the local residents were expelled from the city, and were the victims of one of the most terrible massacres of the 1948 war.

I sat in that yard, listening to Maha tell the story of her parents, who were expelled from the city but luckily were able to return. On Thursday, we got another taste of the same policies. No, the destruction of Hanaa’s house is not as terrifying as the firing of a PIAT projectile into the Dahmash Mosque, where families of refugees took shelter — an act that killed 300 Palestinian refugees in 1948. As part of the third generation of the Nakba, what I saw happening in front of me was enough to know that the State...

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Why I'm 'giving' my vote to a Palestinian in Israel's elections

‘I very much want to vote for the party that best represents my ideological leanings; I’m waiving that right in these elections because so many others living under this government’s control can’t vote at all.’

By A. Daniel Roth

Millions of people will go to the polls on March 17th to decide who will represent them in the next Knesset. Millions more are not able to. Among them are approximately 4.5 million Palestinians who live under occupation and siege in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. Those millions of people do not have the right to vote for the government that, at the end of the day, decides their fates.

The fact that millions of people live under Israeli rule without representation or basic civil rights is an affront to the very idea of democracy. That’s why I am going to “give” my vote in the upcoming election (the first in which I am eligible to vote) to someone living under occupation. I will consult with, and observe the wishes of, a friend living in occupied territory.

Democracy is, first and foremost a societal norm, which asks members of society to view each other as having equal worth. Even if that norm rarely, if ever, truly exists at large, the basic rules and norms of democracy are meant to protect against discrimination and ultimately, oppression.

For nearly five decades of occupation, Israel’s democratic systems have failed to protect millions of non-citizens under its military rule from the humiliation and violence inherent in that undemocratic system of governance. The idea of giving or sharing my vote makes me nervous and uncomfortable, but in the current situation, at this moment in time, I think it is important. Most Israelis enjoy a great number of democratic freedoms – including freedom of the press and elections — but the occupation casts a giant, ugly shadow over those same freedoms and rights.

Voting is not the most important thing one can do in a democracy; it is but one tool we have for making change. Perhaps more important is the time between elections, when individuals and society at large can engage in open and public debate, educational work, and nonviolent direct action. I moved to Israel to develop my connection to my culture, to my people, and to contribute by helping build democratic activity toward a more free and peaceful reality. In...

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Bil'in activists remember Kayla Mueller, her time in Palestine

Palestinians residents and activists in Bil’in who hosted the American human rights activist recently killed by Da’esh (ISIS) remember her and her commitment to their struggle. ‘We will continue, like Kayla, to work against injustice wherever it is,’ Bil’in activists say. Mueller also volunteered with African refugees in Tel Aviv.

By Samah Salaime Egbariya, with Haggai Matar

Kidnapped by Da’esh (ISIS), American human rights activist Kayla Mueller was killed recently, allegedly in a Jordanian air strike on one of the terror organization’s bases in Syria. Before heading to Syria, Mueller was also active in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel, largely under the auspices of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). Her friends here in Palestine and Israel are pained, but remember her as a woman who symbolized the uncompromising struggle for justice and peace.

Mueller volunteered for the African Refugee Development Center in Tel Aviv, and for part of 2010 lived in the West Bank village of Bil’in. Bil’in’s residents have been nonviolently protesting and struggling against construction of the separation barrier through their lands for nearly a decade. She also volunteered in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where she was active in opposing the eviction and demolition of Palestinian families from their homes.

As somebody committed to human rights, Arizona-born Mueller regularly crossed borders to fight for justice. In 2014 she went to work with Syrian refugees, which is when she was kidnapped by Da’esh.

In Bil’in on Wednesday, residents reminisced about the young woman who joined them in their struggle. While protesting against the separation barrier Mueller was a guest in the home of Bassem Abu Rahmah’s family; Bassem was killed a year earlier while nonviolently protesting when an Israeli soldier fired a metal tear gas canister directly at his chest.

“Kayla struggled with us, stood with us in the difficult moments,” women in the village said on Wednesday. “Today, when we heard that she was killed in Syria, our hearts are in pain and we cry for her memory.”

“Kayla came to Palestine to stand in solidarity with us. She marched with us and faced the military that occupies our land side by side with us,” said Abdullah Abu Rahman, head of the Popular Committee in the Bil’in. “For this, Kayla will always live in our hearts. We send all our support to her family and will continue, like Kayla, to work against injustice wherever...

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WATCH: How many riot cops does it take to evict a single mother?

The Naqib family has lived on their land since before 1948. Many Palestinian families in the city live in what the State calls ‘illegal conditions’ — and under the constant threat of demolition — because they cannot attain building permits for their homes.

By Rami Younis

Hundreds of police officers descended on the Al-Karm neighborhood of Lydd (“Lod” in Hebrew, “Lydda” in English) Tuesday morning in order to evict single mother Hannah al-Naqib and her four children from their home, and to demolish it.

Police blocked off the surrounding streets and prevented local residents from approaching while they were forcibly evicting the mother and her children. Around 100 residents managed to break through and protested the eviction and demolition.

To help the single mother, Hannah’s family and neighbors built the home for her. It had a demolition order against it because it was built without the proper permits. The family tried to stop or delay the demolition in court, but to no avail.

The demolished home is next to a number of other homes owned by the Naqib family, all on land owned by the family, and many of which also have demolition orders pending.

The Naqib family lives on land near the Ganei Aviv neighborhood, which was expropriated from Palestinian families in a procedure whose legality has been in doubt ever since. The family has lived on the land since before 1948, and the local urban building plan gave a green light for building the new neighborhood years ago. The city, however, has yet to approve a master plan, and even destroyed a house in the 1990s.

According to a map of the urban building plan, one can see that their homes were built on land slated for residential construction. Thus, the city’s decision regarding “illegal construction” seems especially arbitrary:

According to activists nearly 80 percent of Palestinians in Lydd live in “illegal conditions” according to the state’s definition, due to the fact that their homes do not have building permits. This situation allows authorities to use the threat of demolition against a large part of the local population, in accordance with the needs of the political establishment.

The author is a Palestinian activist and writer. Read this article in Hebrew on Local Call here.

Palestinian family in Lydd faces home demolition

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What Jewish-Arab 'progress' looks like, and why it's not enough

A new political show on Israel’s largest news channel has a 1:37 ratio of non-Jewish to Jewish guests. It should be no surprise that the normally soft-ball interviewers suddenly became hostile toward MK Ahmad Tibi.

By Oren Persico / ‘The 7th Eye

Israel’s Channel 2 has a relatively new show titled “Kidon and Ben-Simon,” named after its two hosts. The show, which airs twice a week, is classified as a “political interview-based show.” In each episode Sharon Kidon and Daniel Ben-Simon interview a different political figure.

Since the show launched in October 2014, dozens of members of Knesset, ministers and potential MKs have been interviewed. In the fifth show, Kidon and Ben-Simon interviewed Adina Bar-Shalom, daughter of the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who decided not to run in the upcoming elections. Show number 12 was dedicated to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who at this time is still interested in municipal politics. Dalia Itzik, who was the first female speaker of the Knesset, was a guest on the tenth episode. Some episodes include two politicians, although typically the show is based on a 20-minute interview with one politician. Until this week, the common feature of every single guest on the show, whether they were men or women, secular or religious, rightists or leftists, was their Judaism.

Only this week, after 36 shows with Jewish-only guests, did Kidon and Ben-Simon bring in their first non-Jewish guest. One non-Jew per 37 episodes, 2.7 percent, despite the fact non-Jewish MKs will likely control 10 percent of the seats in the upcoming Knesset, and despite the fact that over 20 percent of Israel’s citizens are not Jewish.

The first non-Jew to be included among the guests of “Kidon and Ben-Simon” was MK Ahmad Tibi, the most well-known Arab politician among Israel’s Jewish population (so much so that he has inadvertently became the representative of all the non-Jewish MKs).

Beyond the rare appearance of a non-Jew on “Kidon and Ben-Simon,” there was something in the interview with Tibi that separated him from the rest of the rest of the guests on the show. “Kidon and Ben-Simon” is seen as a very pleasant show for its guests. After its premiere, the show was criticized being toothless, and since then the situation has only grown worse. However, when a non-Jew arrived at Kidon and Ben-Simon, the hosts revealed their less-than-pleasant sides.

Tibi began the interview, at the...

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IDF: Palestinian nonviolent protest is an ideological crime

Abdullah Abu Rahmah has a sentencing hearing in military court after being convicted of standing in front of an IDF bulldozer. The nonviolent protest organizer from Bil’in who already served more than a year in prison has been declared a ‘human rights defender’ by the European Union.

By Yael Marom

Diplomats from the European Union, Sweden, France, the UK, Finland and Spain were present at a sentencing hearing for Palestinian non-violent Palestinian protest leader Abdullah Abu Rahmah at Ofer Military Prison in the West Bank on Sunday, along with dozens of Palestinian, international and Israeli activists. Abu Rahmah is a central figure in the popular struggle protests in the West Bank village Bil’in, as well as in the rest of the West Bank, and has been recognized by the European Union as a “human rights defender” dedicated to nonviolence.

In 2010 +972 Magazine chose Abu Rahmah as its Person of the Year for his role in raising the international profile of the grassroots Palestinian nonviolent protest movement, and the harm of the separation barrier.

Read: +972 Magazine’s 2010 Person of the Year: Abdullah Abu Rahmah

In October 2014, a military court convicted Abu Rahmah of obstructing the work of a soldier for trying to stop a bulldozer that was constructing the separation barrier in the Beitunia area near Ramallah in May 2012. Abu Rahmah was taken in for interrogation at the time, but was later released on bail. The fact that the police did not see fit to extend his interrogation, keep him in jail or impose restrictive conditions on his release, did not prevent the army from indicting and convicting Abu Rahmah.

At Abu Rahmah’s sentencing hearing took place on Sunday the military prosecutor demanded a harsh punishment consisting of a long prison sentence and a large fine. She further claimed that Abu Rahmah is somebody who commits ideological crimes, thus his chance for rehabilitation is low and he must be given a punishment that will deter him from doing similar things in the future.

In a statement released after the hearing, Abu Rahmah said his trial is proof that the army is punishing him for his nonviolent resistance. He stated that there are many young Palestinians who are jailed for the exact same reasons, constituting a blatant violation of their human rights. “I will be sentenced on February 23,” said Abu Rahmah. “All...

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License to Kill, part 2: No consequences for shooting an unarmed man in the back

An unarmed civilian is killed and no one is held accountable. Part two in a series examining Israeli military investigations into Palestinians killed by soldiers. A Palestinian taxi driver is shot in the back by an Israeli soldier. Investigators say they cannot locate the shooters, even though their identity is known. Six years later, when a civil suit is filed, the State suddenly produces them as witnesses. The judge rules their versions of events are unreliable and orders damages paid to the family. The criminal case, however, is closed. [Read part one here.]

By Noam Rotem and John Brown* (translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman)

License to kill pt 2

Ever since an IDF soldier shot Zakaria Daragma, his widow and five young children have been living on NIS 1,500 ($385) a month, the same amount they get for renting out his taxi cab. Dargma, from the village of Tubas in the northern West Bank, was 37 years old when he was shot in the back by an IDF soldier in May 2006.

The details from the army’s regional operations log, as well as the Military Police’s investigation case, which are published here for the first time, reveal contradictions between the soldiers’ versions and raise grave concerns regarding the responsibility of their commanders, not to mention the army’s operational procedures in the region. What makes the whitewashing of this case exceptional, even for IDF investigations, is that the army “failed” to find the shooters, even though their identity was known to other soldiers involved and their reports appeared in the daily operations log. Only six years later, when the State Attorney had to present its defense arguments in a civil suit filed by the family, were the shooters suddenly identified and located. Despite this breakthrough, however, they have yet to be interrogated and the IDF Military Advocate General closed its criminal case into matter, despite their versions being deemed unreliable by an Israeli judge (who for those same reasons, ordered the State to pay damages to the family).

Shot in the back

On May 4, 2006, Zakaria Daragma parked his taxi in front of the Ein Baydan checkpoint near Nablus, and began to walk up the road to the other side of the checkpoint. Two months earlier the regional commander decided to make travel to Nablus more difficult for Palestinians...

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Russian speakers are ditching Liberman: Where are they going?

Aside from the elderly, the Russian-speaking community in Israel is no longer throwing its support behind the Yisrael Beiteinu leader. So why aren’t the other parties capitalizing on Liberman’s loss?

By Edi Zhensker

Much has been written about media’s role in establishing the daily agenda in Israel: issues that the media decides to spotlight make it into the public discourse, while other issues that the media doesn’t deem fit to cover fall by the wayside. During the elections, the spotlighted issues are even more pronounced, since politicians and their parties fight for every second of screen time or photo in the photos in order to make headlines and remain relevant. As opposed to exposing politicians the public, I would like to take the time and discuss the Russian public’s exposure to the politicians.

Over the last couple of months, media outlets have been dealing with the question of how the Russian public is going to vote in the upcoming elections, beginning with articles in newspapers and continuing with television shows. Full disclosure: as someone who appears in some of these articles, I can say that more are on their way. And speaking of full disclosure, I must also mention that I work in the Russian caucus of the Labor Party.

So what happened that all of a sudden the media cares about this group, which doesn’t usually get much exposure? The main reason is Yisrael Beiteinu’s ongoing corruption scandal. “Will the Russian-speaking population continue to vote for Liberman after the scandal?” asks the Hebrew media, when what it really means to ask is: “Will those Russians finally see the light, stop being Russians and start voting for Israeli parties?”

But what the media and perhaps even the Israeli public understands today is what us Russian-speakers have understood for at least two years. That also includes Liberman, of course. In the 2013 elections he was a member of Likud because he understood that his voting base no longer supports him, and therefore he could no longer run on a sectorial platform. In reality, the Russians didn’t support anyone.

But two years have gone by – two years of vacuum; two years with a lack of representation or political leadership; two years in which a party that could have won the support of 750,000 people would have enjoyed the support of a population that is looking for representation...

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Perfecting the art of predicting the future — Israeli elections

Pre-election polls are a national sport in Israel, but they’re not very accurate. Now there’s a new player on the field, running a new polling project that claims to to have found the system’s flaws — and fixed them. A look at how polls affect voting patterns, which populations are traditionally under-represented and the mistakes that must continue to be made if ‘Project 61′ is to succeed.

By Angela Gruber

Predicting the future can be tricky business, especially for those trying to figure out how Israelis will vote in next month’s elections. Previous elections have proven that the big polling companies are not always spot-on with their surveys. The final results of the 2013 elections, for example, were largely surprising for everyone: Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party ended up with 19 Knesset seats compared to the eight to 13 seats polling companies gave him leading up to the vote. That’s a pretty large margin of error.

Fast-forward two years, however, and there’s a new player in the field of polling, 28-year-old political analyst and freelance strategist Nehemia Gershuni-Aylho, who runs Project 61. (“61″ refers to the minimum number of seats needed to form a coalition in the Israeli Knesset.) Using some rather simple logic and some complicated mathematics, he thinks he found a way to make better predictions of actual election day results.

Gershuni-Aylho does not do any polling himself. He looks at the polls that are already out there, corrects the errors he is able to identify and then repackages the improved results in a way anybody can understand. To do so, Gershuni-Aylho had to learn about each polling company’s weak spots. He says he built a database of all polls from the 2006, 2009 and 2013 elections up to 30 days before election day and then compared the predictions with results at the ballot box.

“I had to find out if one of the pollsters was biased in any way,” he explains. “I was looking for a systematic error for each pollster toward a certain party and then I tried to erase this error with my formula.“

With his new formula, Gershuni-Aylho has reached a few interesting conclusions about the quality of different polls. The best polling in the last elections apparently came from a 79-year-old lady, Professor Mina Tzemach, who at the time worked for major polling company Dahaf. Internet pollster Panels Politics comes in second. The...

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No Voice: Hopes for Israeli elections from those who cannot vote

Over 200,000 people with no legal status live in Israel today. There are another 4 million in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. All of these people are directly affected by Israeli elections but they have not right to vote. This is what they have to say — about the Right and the Left, the ‘demographic threat,’ peace, war, democracy and dictatorship.


‘Occupied people cannot vote for their occupier’

By Bassam Almohor

The argument heats up at one of the tables in this men-only café in a Palestinian city.

Israeli elections are a hot topic of discussion for the Palestinians here. At this table, a man with a suit and tie argues that if Herzog/Livni win we will secure a peace agreement in our favor, and recall the historic White House handshake between Arafat and Rabin 22 years ago. He regrets that there has been no courageous Israeli politician with the guts to sign a historic deal with the Palestinians like the late Prime Minister Rabin.

A man with a dark, thick mustache takes the other side, and say that the Left is dead, for 25 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Only the Right, the Likud, he says, can sign a deal and agree to withdraw from occupied lands, like late Sharon who withdrew from Gaza 10 years ago.

A loud shaved-headed man argues that we need the Right — or even the far-right — to win. They are extreme, and with their measures against the Palestinians, their indifference to international resolutions and their violations of human rights and war crimes against the occupied people — they will lose in the international arena. The Palestinians would gain more support in international institutions, which in turn would create major pressure on Israel to give up. The BDS movement is spreading wide and gaining momentum in Western Europe and the U.S., thus cornering Israel and forcing it to accept a just and lasting peace.

There is another short man with round eyeglasses who says, no, it doesn’t matter to us who wins: the Israeli Left and Right are two sides of the same coin. The coin has many sides with lost of political names, yet for us, it is the same: Israel, our occupier for the past 48 years, or 67 years. These elections do not concern us; it’s a political struggle between political giants who...

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Israel's president went to Hebron for all the wrong reasons

Instead of ignoring the Palestinian stores and homes whose doors the army welded shut, instead of ignoring the racist graffiti and segregation, President Rivlin had an opportunity to look occupation in the eyes. He didn’t.

By Avner Gvaryahu

A week ago, after it was announced that President Reuven Rivlin would visit the Beit Hadassah settlement in Hebron, Breaking the Silence sent him a letter signed by over 30 soldiers who previously served in the occupied territories and Hebron, calling on him to join the organization for a tour of the city. We wanted the president to hear about our service in the territories and meet Palestinians living under occupation. Unfortunately, President Rivlin never responded to our request.

That is why Breaking the Silence activists, along with activists from the left-wing Meretz party and human rights attorney Gaby Lasky, came to Hebron on Tuesday to protest against Rivlin’s decision to ignore the situation in Hebron. We stood with signs that had soldier testimonies on them, as well as photos taken by soldiers during their service. These photos point to the reality that we know all too well in Hebron — racist graffiti, welded-shut doors of homes, Palestinians arrested in the street, settler violence, along with other photos of the day-to-day reality of occupation in the heart of a Palestinian city.

Special coverage: 20 years of segregation in Hebron

The violence began as soon as we approached Beit Hadassah. Shoving, screaming and Israeli settlers who grabbed our signs and tore them. For a moment I thought the police would, at the very least, separate between us and the settlers. But even the police began pushing us, way before they showed us an order that forbade us from protesting.

This kind of violence is not foreign to me in the occupied territories. Not so long ago I was on the violent side as a soldier; since then I’ve attended many protests. But it never ceases to amaze me how silenced I am when I am on the “wrong” side, or how Palestinians have no voice whatsoever.

President Rivlin, who is seen by many as a moderate democrat, effectively supported one of the most extremist communities in the West Bank. He passed by dozens of Palestinian stores that were shut down in the wake of Baruch Goldstein’s massacre at the Cave of the Patriarchs in 1994. Since then,...

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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