Appreciate this article? +972 depends on your support -- click here to help us keep going

Analysis News

WATCH: Israelis from Sderot play Palestinians under the occupation

There has been a lot of nationalism, warmongering and even racism in the Israeli media this past week, and inflammatory militaristic statements are still heard everywhere. So I thought it would be a good opportunity to post this video by filmmaker Itamar Rose. Several months ago, Rose traveled with a Palestinian friend to Sderot, which has been hit by rockets more than any other Israeli town, and asked locals to play the role of Palestinians in front of the camera. The outcome is worth watching.

(If you cannot properly see the video, click here to watch it.)

Some people might wonder how Palestinians would have reacted to the same role-playing game. But from my own personal experience, Palestinian never have a problem understanding Israelis, only the other way around (as I have written many times, I don’t think there is symmetry in the current status quo). That’s what makes this clip interesting.

Itamar Rose, 33, has a law degree from the Hebrew University. He studied film at the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School in Jerusalem. His work often deals with racism and militarism. You can watch other subtitled videos he has made on his YouTube page. Rose currently lives and works in Tel Aviv.

For additional original analysis and breaking news, visit +972 Magazine's Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. Our newsletter features a comprehensive round-up of the week's events. Sign up here.

View article: AAA
Share article
Print article
  • COMMENTS

    1. Richard Witty

      Do Gazans understand the experience of Israelis that are being shelled by Hamas/Islamic Jihad/PFLP/others?

      If so, why is there no even 100 person demonstration opposing that?

      Reply to Comment
      • Richard Witty

        Harvey Stein sent me that clip last night, and my response was inspiring, when will similar be filmed in Gaza?

        Reply to Comment
        • Richard, I think you should yourself try to do as the people in the video did, and try to put yourself in the place of a Gazan.

          When a good friend of mine from Gaza got a scholarship to study in England, she found herself sitting next to an Israeli girl at a student activist meeting. The meeting was about justice and Palestine. The girl obviously had a sympathetic interest in the subject. My friend Sameeha knew this. And she sat there for the whole talk trying to pluck up the courage to say something – anything – to this girl next to her. And she couldn’t. Not even hello. This was the first time in her life she’d set foot outside Gaza and the first time in her life she’d been in close proximity to any Israeli who wasn’t a soldier. She very much wanted to say something but did not know how, and in her words, “I froze.”

          You are asking people like her why they are not making films like this, and not just people like her – she is one of a tiny, privileged minority who got the chance to travel and study abroad. When people have spent so long with poverty and fear it is very hard to get outside of that, especially if the challenge is to imagine themselves into the shoes of people who are so much more privileged than they are. I daresay there are people in Gaza who would like to take part in some kind of mirror project, but you need to drop the demanding expectant tone, as though they somehow owe it to you. This sort of thing is not easy and I would never ask anyone, Palestinian or Jewish Israeli, why they weren’t taking part. I would be even less likely to ask it in the case of someone from the Gaza Strip, where I know poverty and psychological trauma to be extremely serious and complex problems. First rule in peace work: leave your expectations of people at the door, because they usually have enough to carry without you adding more.

          Reply to Comment
          • Vadim

            Maybe it also has something to do with years upon years of antisemitic brainwashing on official TV channels, in public speeches and mosque preaches?
            Or with a population incapable of taking any responsibility for their choices and actions? Or with a leadership incapable of any criticism or open dialogue?

            Nah, it’s probably just the poverty.

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Witty

            Vicky,
            There is a constant argument among partisans over who is victim. “Only we are victims” from both perspectives is false.

            The film, asking people to walk in others shoes, is wonderful, critical, relevant.

            The civilians on both sides are truly victims. There is NO BASIS of regarding a Jewish resident of Sderot or Ashkelon as a valid target of anything. As, Gazan civilians feel and are trapped (in material ways, even when IDF drops leaflets).

            On Mondoweiss, there was an interview presented, shortly after the Jabari killing, when the Israeli escalation shifted into higher gear. The interview had a resident of Sderot juxtaposed with a resident of Gaza.

            The resident of Sderot complained of the rocket firing, and acknowledged the horrible current experience of the Gazans, with bombs exploding currently, during the interview. The Gazan originally calmly discussed, then began ranting about Israeli aggression boycotting expressing any sympathy for the Sderot resident (who only experienced 50 incidents of sirens and retreating to bomb shelters), somehow concluded to be of NO importance.

            That complex creates war. It does not create any change in status, in relations, in safety for Palestinians, in the end of occupation, anything.

            Among dissent, it creates a thought-police complex, condemning anyone that is not partisan, that holds any mutual sympathy (rather than “hurray for our side”).

            Reply to Comment
          • I didn’t say that only Gaza civilians are victims. I think you should reread what I wrote and respond to what I actually said as opposed to what you think I said.

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Witty

            I’m not reluctant to ask a Gazan to consider the moral consequences of Hamas firing rockets at civilians, and to ask them to undertake the personal inquiry to determine if they believe that that approach is in their interests and reflects their moral choices.

            I simply don’t buy the deferrence to resistance line of thought, nor the failure to ask any direct or indirect party to war to consider the moral implications of their actions, including their words.

            The video presented was marvelous, essential (never perfect) but a genuine effort to humanize the other. My friend Harvey Stein considers that effort, to humanize the other as THE effort of social change (forgive me if I’m putting words in your mouth Harvey).

            There are Gazans that do that work, laudably, and deserve encouragement.

            My criticism is NOT an expectation that every Gazan should be ashamed not to do that, but that those that do should be encouraged, NOT discouraged in the slightest.

            And, my observation of how rare that effort is among Gazans and among solidarity, grossly upsets me.

            I see a frequent, nearly unanimous dismissal of the relevance of Israeli civilian lives, and it sickens me.

            On your other question about I should walk in the other’s shoes. I do that exercise DAILY.

            My world view is that there is no other. But, that does not change my association as a Jew (and increased sympathy for my family of families over those that I respect from a distance), nor my severe criticism of the opportunist resistance approach to social change.

            Reply to Comment
          • I don’t see how accusatory questions like, “When is this going to be done in Gaza?” and, “Where are the demonstrations in Gaza?” can be read as attempts to ‘encourage’ Gazan peace work. You are assuming that people on both sides of that buffer zones have had similar experiences and similar opportunities and should therefore be reacting in similar ways, and this is not true. Saying this has absolutely nothing to do with arguing for victimhood or denying victimhood, promoting personal responsibility or denying it. I will give an example you may find easier to understand: that of a guy I met a couple of years back, who had served in the occupied West Bank and who left the army in a fairly bad state. I would be cautious about asking him to take part in a project like this one, and he wouldn’t accept if I did. It’s not that he’s some hateful horrible bastard who doesn’t know that Palestinians are human, it’s just that this specific activity is likely to be too difficult for him at this specific time, no matter how helpful it might be for others. And I have no right to expect it of him, none. This doesn’t mean that he doesn’t try or he doesn’t care, and it would be pretty unfair and ugly of me to try and use his inability to participate in such a project as a barometer for how much he does care.

            Equally, over in Gaza today there are teachers whose first priority is to figure out where to hold classes now that their school has been flattened and nurses whose first priority is the replenishment of the blood bank. Putting on a lovely show for you is not going to be high on their list of concerns, and from the tone of your comments, that is what you want. You sound almost like a disapproving schoolteacher who is disappointed in his students when you talk about Gazans not making enough effort. While the bombardment was ongoing, I had a conversation with one friend in Gaza about ethics, and we ended up discussing the possibility of having compassion on soldiers and fighter pilots. Throughout the assault her family was in contact with one of my friends in Tel Aviv (something that terrified her mother). They did the best they could with what they had, and that is the main thing. It doesn’t matter that their efforts won’t be splashed over YouTube for public viewing so you can give them marks out of ten for their very kind performance. I think your comments reveal the main danger of video projects like this one: they can encourage a sense of entitlement in the viewer that verges on the voyeuristic. Such projects are not the be-all and end-all and we can’t treat them as though they are. We need to have some respect for what goes on beneath the surface where we don’t see it and stop heaping our expectations on people, as though we have the magic answer to fix everything and if they don’t comply they’re somehow guilty of dehumanising people or not making enough effort. It’s especially important for internationals to avoid this. We have quite the reputation for talking too much and listening too little.

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Witty

            Vicky,
            I really don’t care about the rationalizations.

            When solidarity (you say) indicate publicly some concern about Israeli civilians, rather than after-the-fact “I told you so” contempt for their reaction, then things might change.

            Until then, you will see a repetition of the mutual dehumanization, rather than a change to mutual humanization.

            That this video indicated an attempt, is laudable, wonderful.

            Until it occurs among solidarity and among Gazans and Hamas Gazans, it will be a glass with holes, not capable of holding water.

            It depends on what you want. You want more of the same, or do you want change?

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Witty

            I’m asking to hear what I’m saying, to listen.

            Reply to Comment
          • I do listen. (Not just to civilians either – I learn some interesting things at roadblocks and the like.) What I will not do is sit at a distance of four thousand miles and try to impose some one-size-fits-all approach to reconciliation on people whose life experiences are vastly different from mine, and then get petulant and accusatory when they won’t oblige and put on a show. If you think that this translates as not listening to Israeli civilians, then you have not understood one word I’ve said and it’s pointless continuing this circular discussion any further.

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Witty

            And, in imagining that I am petulant in deriving some communication from the presence or absence of individual or organized criticism of rocket firing by Hamas on the part of Gazans, then you are projecting grossly.

            Israeli lives, Israeli experience is relevant, material, important in the discussion of the math of proposed efforts.

            You condemn my comments (in the name of listening).

            Mine are moderate. I go head to head against Israelis and supporters that claim a reasoning that they have a right to “finish the job” to neutralize Hamas.

            The absence of any public statement (not none but very rare) validating the relevance of Israelis lives (stated by Gazans), contributes to the weight of the right-wing voices.

            Practically, as emotionally difficult as it is to ask.

            Reply to Comment
          • Elisabeth

            This is what Dutch children sang when they heard the British planes fly over on the way to bomb German cities:

            “In de iene-miene maneschijn bombarderen ze Berlijn,
            en dat vinden we dan allemaal zo fijn.”

            (In the eenie-meenie moonshine, they bomb Berlin, and how happy this makes us all.)

            It took a couple of years to get over the occupation before people were capable of feeling empathy with German civilians again…

            You are asking (no rather demanding) A LOT from a people who are still among the rubble of the last assault on them by a vastly superior military force.

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Witty

            I am asking humanity from them, for them to be willing to think differently, as Vicky and others are asking Israelis to think differently.

            Thinking differently about one’s neighbors in Gaza, goes away damn quickly when the rockets fly at civilians (a war crime, 1400 war crimes this time around).

            Reply to Comment
      • isaak

        Totally agree with You. Gaza actually is a small Nazi German, but much more primitive.

        Reply to Comment
    2. The Trespasser

      Yep.
      Palestinians never had problem understanding that Israelis are Jewish Infidels and as such have no right to have own state in the Holy Land of Palestine.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Georg

      I think these “roleplays” should be done frequently and on both sides. The more people would start seeing each other as individuals, as fellow human beings, instead of abstract masses of Israeli and Palestinian, the less we would see opinions which call for the destruction of the people on the other side of the fence…

      Reply to Comment
    4. JKNoReally

      In my experience, Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular have a very hard time understanding how Israelis see themselves because they’re committed to the colonialist reading of Zionism. They think Israelis see themselves as agents of the West and share Palestinians’ view that Jews are foreign to Palestine. They have almost no appreciation for how sincerely Israelis Jews believe themselves to be natives in Israel. I’m surprised this hasn’t been your overall impression too.

      Reply to Comment
      • Palestinian

        Someone from Poland is native to Palestine ? Get real for once

        Reply to Comment
        • JKNoReally

          Palestinian – thank you for illustrating my point (even though you misread my comment): even the suggestion that Jews think they are native to Israel sets off the most reactionary denial among Palestinians. They won’t even acknowledge that Jews see themselves in other-than colonial terms because that would be too much of a concession. Its hard for me to imagine Noam doesn’t experience this in his interactions with Palestinians.

          Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            You cant ask us to acknowledge this claim for a simple moral reason ,we are still suffering under their occupation and state terrorism that are justified by this myth.Their existence in our land and all what they have done are based on this claim .

            Reply to Comment
          • JKNoReally

            Palestinian – I’m not talking about whether your beliefs are right or wrong, I’m talking about whether Palestinians like you understand how Israeli Jews think. You don’t have to agree with their beliefs to understand their beliefs.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            We do understand their beliefs , who doesnt ,its everywhere,they repeat and emphasize them as much as they can ! But when it comes to reality and solutions ,beliefs should be kept out of politics.

            Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          Arabs ain’t native to Palestine either.

          Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            We went through this before .Define me Arabs

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Witty

            My cousins that were born in Israel are native to Israel.

            Simple.

            Those Palestinians that were born and live in Beirut, Amman, Riyadh, New York, are not native to Palestine.

            Those Palestinians that were born in Safed (like Abbas), are native to Palestine.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            Check the definition of indigenous population.If a thief broke into your house and his wife gave birth there while yours gave birth on the street ,it doesnt give the child any right to your house .White , African ,Latin and Asian Americans arent described as the indigenous population despite being born in the USA.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            “Arab people, also known as Arabs (Arabic: عرب‎, ʿarab), are a panethnicity[14] primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds,[15] with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing an important part of Arab identity.[16]

            Medieval Arab genealogists divided Arabs into three groups:

            “Ancient Arabs”, tribes that had vanished or been destroyed, such as ʿĀd and Thamud, often mentioned in the Qur’an as examples of God’s power to destroy those who did not believe and follow their prophets and messengers.
            “Pure Arabs” of South Arabia, descending from Qahtan. The Qahtanites (Qahtanis) are said to have migrated from the land of Yemen following the destruction of the Ma’rib Dam (sadd Ma’rib).
            The “Arabized Arabs” (musta`ribah) of center and North Arabia, descending from Ishmael the elder son of Abraham. The Book of Genesis narrates that God promised Hagar to beget from Ishmael twelve princes and turn him to a great nation.(Genesis 17:20) The Book of Jubilees, in the other hand, claims that the sons of Ishmael intermingled with the 6 sons of Keturah, from Abraham, and their descendants were called Arabs and Ishmaelites”
            en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_people

            In the light of said what is interesting is when and why Arabs first came to Palestine.

            “After the defeat of the Persian Empire, a new threat, the Arab Islamic Empire, had emerged in the region. Heraclius sought to consolidate and secure his gains. Though he had previously granted the Jews amnesty for their revolt, he would not risk another likely revolt in a war with the Arabs.

            Heraclius experienced a most exquisite triumph as he knelt in the rebuilt church to receive the blessings of the patriarch that extraordinary day. Apologists would say afterwards that only because of the adamant demands of the patriarch and the local clergy did the Emperor rescind his pledge of amnesty and reluctantly authorize the forced baptism and massacre of the Empire’s Jews.[6]

            In 638, the Byzantine Empire completely lost control of Judea to the Arabs. The Arab Islamic Empire under Caliph Umar conquered Jerusalem and the lands of Mesopotamia, Levant, and Egypt.”
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Sassanid_Commonwealth

            The fact that in 638 CE one occupier changed another does not automatically grant anyone rights to anything.

            By the way, it is believed that there were at least 50 000 Jews in Palestine prior to Arab conquest. Some even claim that as many as 150 000.

            Arabs managed to peacefully reduce it to as little as 7000 in 19th century.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            Thanks .It says the Arab world not Arabia.Regarding the number of Jews in Palestine ,I’m not interested in beliefs but facts ,you are just trying to prove anything that supports your propaganda,but its not working ,hard luck.European Jews arent native to Palestine ,period.

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Witty

            Again,
            Home is established by where you live, not where your grandfather lived.

            Democracy not heritage.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            My homeland is where my ancestors , grandfather and father were born.The existence of Israel in my homeland is totally based over heritage claims.Millions of Jews who have never been to Palestine call it home !If a British lives in Saudi Arabia ,it doesnt make it his/her home.If someone was born to a British parent in Somalia ,he/she would be granted the British citizenship and would call Britain their home not Mogadishu.If someone was born in England to non-British parents he /she wouldnt be granted the citizenship unless they apply for it later.Logic not hypocrisy

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Witty

            The existence of Israel is based on residence claims. One person one vote in the area of its jurisdiction. Facts.

            Democracy.

            You are arguing for fascism. A fantasy, cruelly enforced.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            More solid facts :The existence of Israel is based on continuous ethnic cleansing,oppression ,and replacing the indigenous population with illegal immigrants and complete foreigners . “area of its jurisdiction” you couldnt say borders because nobody knows when Israel is gonna stop stealing land .Desperate trials to improve the true ugly face of racist and oppressive Israel.This is why we shouldn’t trust people like you .

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Witty

            And still the fundamental question remains about whether current residents votes are equal to “might have resided” votes.

            One is fascism. One is democracy.

            Israelis that have lived in Israel their whole lives are native. Palestinians that have lived elsewhere their whole lives are not natives.

            They might want to be, and it might be just to have some path to be, but in current fact are not yet.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            A British settler who lived his/her life in India isnt indigenous to India no matter how many times he/she says that.A thief is a thief regardless of what he calls himself.And as I said earlier, if a British person was born in Japan ,he/she would be granted the citizenship and is considered a Brit.A Jewish Russian who was born and lives in Palestine isnt and wont become indigenous to the land.I’m sorry to disappoint you but this is reality.

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Witty

            A descendant of a Brit that was born in India, lived in India their whole lives, had children in India, LIVE there. It is their home.

            An Israeli that was born in Israel, that lives in Israel, is in their homeland.

            A descendant of a Palestinian that was born in London, and lived their whole life in England, their home, their homeland is England.

            There is NO democracy of “who should have had the right to live here”. There is ONLY democracy of who lives here.

            You get to choose whether you want the fascist logic or the democratic.

            The democratic logic is one person-one vote.

            It does include full and equal civil rights for all residents and equal due process under the law for all (including non-residents).

            And, in that light, title claims may be made, and then residency claims based on title.

            But, not the national rights theme.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            Britain doesnt grant its citizenship to people born and raised up in the UK unless one of their parents is British.British people born and raised up in India arent considered native to India,familiarize yourself with the term Anglo-Indian.Jews who have never set foot in Palestine ,and neither their ancestors ,consider Palestine (what they call Israel) their homeland.The Zionist Jewish immigrants ethnically cleansed the Palestinians and replaced them with foreigners hence some of their children werent born there ,you cant do that and decide from this time on we will be a democracy! You have the audacity to talk about fascism while you are defending a racist fascist society!

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Witty

            The ideology that current residents don’t deserve rights, while those that might have lived there do, is fascism.

            In Italy, it was fascism, when they declared that non-Italians (Jews, even having lived there for multiple generations) didn’t have rights.

            In Spain, it was fascism, it was fascism. In Germany, it was fascism.

            In Hungary, when they declared that Jews and Gypseys weren’t native, because their families were not Hungarian but Jews, it was fascism.

            In the US, during periods of denial of non-”native” rights (meaning Anglo-Saxon Protestant, not Irish, not Germans, not Jews), it was fascism.

            In Palestinian nationalist ideology, when the request is not one-person one-vote, but one person who might have lived here, and not you (Jews), that is fascism.

            Prior to WW2, Italy was propagating on abuses to its national heritage, and specifically against the capitalist financeers (often a euphemism for Jews), Ezra Pound and others, thought they were articulating a progressive vision.

            The advocacy for removal and denial of rights, is NOT the same as affirmation of one’s communities rights.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            We weren’t discussing rights .Under the control of Zionists 2/3 of the indigenous population were ethnically cleansed because they weren’t Jewish. For over 6 decades the indigenous population live under brutal occupation, oppression and state terrorism because they aren’t Jewish. The indigenous population aren’t allowed to return to their homeland because they aren’t Jewish. Even those who were granted the Israeli citizenship are discriminated against because again they aren’t Jewish. Israel violates the basic human rights of 4 million people …because they aren’t Jewish. This is racism and fascism in 2012 that’s supported by the so-called democratic countries and people like you.Shame on you

            Reply to Comment
          • Believer

            That Israel was able to offer me a “home” when my father was kicked out of his “home” in Iraq just goes to show how shitty your Arab brethren have been to their Palestinian brothers and sisters throughout. It’s also testament to the fact that things are a lot more complicated than what I imagine is your knowledge of the situation.

            I can try to understand the suffering experienced by the Palestinians but what does it help when your narrative is misguided (to say the least)?

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            First of all the expulsion of Jewish Iraqis is a myth ,when you register to leave your homeland you cant claim your were expelled. Naeim Giladi,in his book Ben Gurion’s scandals which was banned in Israel for “democratic reasons”, explained in details who was responsible for your problem ,this doesnt mean non-Jewish Arabs were innocent.

            Whats disgusting is using your claims to justify the Zionist project in Palestine and all the crimes and massacres that were perpetrated by the Jewish European terrorists against us ,the indigenous population.

            P.S You are an Arab and will always be no matter what you’ve been told or how many times you deny it.

            Reply to Comment
          • Believer

            FYI: not at any point in my comment did I try to justify anything, anywhere.

            This just goes to show me that you’re not really open to any dialogue in any form…you’re just looking for a fight.

            And to make things worse: you’ve actually got the balls to claim that the expulsion of Jews from Iraq is a myth.

            Please go read some more anti-Jewish propaganda wherever you may find it…on your coffee table no doubt.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            You are the one who approached me with false claims trying to change the subject.I want my rights back while you refuse to acknowledge the crimes of your state.Books ,written by a decent Jewish Iraqi exposing the true ugly face of Zionism, arent anti-Jewish propaganda,you need to educate yourself about your own history instead of being kept under their control.

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Witty

            It’s still the same question.

            Whether a person born in a land, or merely lives there over an extended period, has the rights to participate in the governance of the land, in self-governance.

            It is an argument that supports Palestinians’ rights. But, NOT the Palestinian fascist form of exclusive nationalism.

            In 1947-8-9, a war of mutual rejection was fought. In 1947, there were orchestrated assaults on Jewish residences throughout the country, with the stated intent by enough (more than the membership or sympathizers with Irgun and Stern Gang), to rid the land of Jews. Arab nations (not Palestine) “successfully” removed 99+% of the Jews from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, where they comprised a near majority (I’ve heard both ways).

            Who bears that blame? Who bears that responsibility to make it right?

            It’s already corrected, probably too far. But, are you, were you ever rising to affirm that justice?

            I doubt it. Your justice is selective, but that time is past.

            Work for equal rights, not preferential, even if you are angry, and even for good reason.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            Illegal immigrants/occupiers have no right to self-governance.When you immigrate to any country/land,you respect and abide by the rules of its people.

            Again you are using the term fascism while the only fascist entity in our case is Israel ,along with its fake national identity that excludes and discriminates against non-Jews ,which you turn a blind eye to .

            Pre-48 war ,the Jewish terrorist militias had already started the ethnic cleansing .The vast majority of Jews were foreigners who illegal immigrated to Palestine to establish a Jewish homeland and displace the indigenous population .The violence started after Balfour declaration while the Zionist Jewish infiltrators were building and preparing for their state.

            Who bears that blame? The Zionist project
            The only way to achieve justice is giving people back their freedom , rights and land .

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Witty

            Good self talk Palestinian. I’m sure you get lots of confirmation.

            The reality remains that democracy is of the people that live in a jurisdiction, not some imagination (reasonable or not), of who might have.

            If you live in Great Britain and you are a Muslim, your logic would prohibit their rights to vote. That’s why it’s called fascism, because it privileges one group over another.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            Again,we werent arguing about who should have rights and who shouldnt. Democratic states dont discriminate against 20% of its citizens because of religion or belief .Democratic countries arent supposed to oppress and terrorize people.Israel privileges Jews over the indigenous population,which makes it a fascist state that you choose to defend.

            Muslim immigrants to the UK arent planning to turn London into an Islamic state nor to ethnically cleanse it from its indigenous population.They apply for immigration and take permission to visit (not live) the UK ,this is how civilized people act.

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Witty

            Palestinian,
            You directly stated that Israelis don’t have the right to reside where they live, and certainly not to call it home.

            I assume that you don’t live in Gaza, West Bank or Israel. I don’t even know if you are actually of Palestinian descent.

            You will NOT succeed at anything good for Palestinians by declaring that Israeli Jews do not have a right to establish roots in Israel, nor to call it home.

            As much as a conflict that is to your ideology.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            I didnt say Israelis don’t have the right to reside where they live,but they arent indigenous to the land.Dont put words in my mouth.I am aware almost 6 million Jews live in Palestine ,I have to deal with reality but not at my expense.

            The conflict has started when those people in Europe decided to establish their state in Palestine.

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Witty

            When you say that the land is not their home, you are engaging in a fascist argument.

            If you want to advocate for one-person one-vote and for the land from river to sea as jurisdiction, with the interpretation of right of return meaning a free ride to come and dominate Israel and at Israel’s expense, go ahead.

            Advocate for Palestinian rights. It’s important.

            When you speak of Israelis that were born there or lived for an extended period as interlopers, you cross the line away from democracy.

            The significance of democracy rests on the golden rule, “treat others as you would wish to be treated”.

            The parallel argument to “Jewish Israelis are interlopers” are that “Arab Brits or Arab Americans are interlopers”. I regard that argument as 180 degrees false, and will stand with Arab Americans for their equal rights, as I have.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            I’m dealing with a fascist state and people (with very few exceptions) .When you describe our right of return as “a free ride to come and dominate Israel” it tells me you support the Israeli national racism.
            Democracy doesn’t mean you have the right to resettle in a land , expel its people and live there. Democracy doesn’t allow you to occupy, oppress, terrorize and discriminate against people because of their religion.
            Arab Americans don’t try to turn the US into an Arab state, and trust me if they do ,they will be shipped back to the Middle East .

            Reply to Comment
    5. Michelle

      That was very amazing to see. Just the act of saying those words out loud and to take the other’s position and feelings for a moment is amazing. Wow!

      Reply to Comment
    6. Oriol2

      Palestinians are obviously native to Palestine / Canaan / Eretz Israel / Kingdom of Jerusalem / Southern Syria. But Israelis, with all their religious and nationalistic fanaticism (which not all of them share) are also native to Israel now. They have created a unique culture, speak a language which nobody else speaks elsewhere, have their cuisine, their music, their political institutions… probably the establishment of Israel, in the terms in which it was established, was not just. But I also do not think for a moment that it would be just to undo it now. Israelis and Palestinians have to find a formula to live together, it is so obvious that it is ashaming to have to insist in that point.

      Reply to Comment
    7. AYLA

      Noam–I just want to thank you for sharing this on 972. Like many of us, I feel utter despair about, as Israelis call it, “the situation” since last week, mostly because of the majority Israeli response to it, and because we’ve circled back to this place again with so little growth to show for ourselves since 2008-09 (I hate the names for these wars). And all this despite the valiant efforts of people such as all of you on 972. Yet today I was thinking: it’s the details of all this that make peace and justice impossible. What makes peace and justice possible might just be what they’re doing on all the I <3 you pages. I know it's not sophisticated. I know it doesn't begin to account for any of the injustices. But really, it may be as simple as: We no longer want to go to war. Obviously, this has to include sovereignty for all. I'm beginning to think that those <3 pages are the best thing we've got going–they're growing in numbers each day. And sometimes, to get there, you have to first be willing to see the way the other side is suffering. You have to be able to see your way out of victimhood. The reason Itamar Rose's documentary worked, in part, is that he brought a Palestinian friend with him to tell his stories. I was always a leftist, but it was hearing personal stories from Palestinians that removed a sort of curtain for me. Only then did I become a 972 reader. This is why I'm so anti-anti-norm; many Israelis and Palestinians born here have never heard each other, and need to in order to open their hearts. But from there, it may be really simple. Just say No to war, and Yes to freedom for all, and when enough people want that badly enough, somehow–however imperfectly–it will happen.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Philos

      Powerful and moving. It forced me to challenge my own prejudices about certain types of Israelis.

      Reply to Comment
    9. This reminded of the ‘social theatre’ concept that is now sometimes used in dramatherapy. We have done it in Bethlehem before (reenacting the checkpoint, with every teenager taking it in turns to play each part – queuing people, soldiers, etc). It’s a pretty effective means of reducing anxiety and also helping people to become more self-aware. Thank you for sharing, Noam.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Eli

      I think this ignores the main point. While it is important to understand one another, as long as there are constant terrorist attacks coming out of Gaza, Israeli “occupation” is valid. It is not “occupation,” but rather, security. I only wish the security was tighter. Or perhaps that the Palestinians were able to police themselves. It is all well and good to say that one Palestinian with a bomb means they are all terrorists and to elicit sympathy for their hardships in that manner, but the simple fact is that until Palestinians are able to take responsibility for maintaining their own security at borders and policing themselves, then unfortunately, Israel will have to do it for them, and all the self-awareness for the average Joe in the world will not change that. They are all still alive. You can not say that for the people who die in terrorist attacks perpetrated by those who are so “oppressed.” Take the money used for bombs and tunnels, develop the Palestinian infrastructure, and act like a civilized nation. Then you will be treated with the respect one deserves by the Israeli “occupiers.”

      Reply to Comment
    11. I think what this video and the comments of Michelle, Philos and Vicky, above suggest is that the overarching definitions of this conflict can be resisted, and that is a necessary first step to find new paths.

      I have come to the view that the dogmatic opposition of right corporate nationalists on this site is fear that an alternative path can be made. A first step is words, then the video herein and Vicky’s dramatherapy. I am beginning to think that when a corporate nationalists laughs at me, I should pause–for that may well indicate that I am on to something.

      Reply to Comment
      • AYLA

        GregPollock(hi!)–I completely agree with you. I just want to add that although I’m very psychologically oriented, much like Vicky, I actually think the choice to live in peace with Palestinian sovereignty may just have to come first, and then the healing can begin. I am not making these situations comparable, but we had to end slavery in the United States, and then the long path of healing and justice began. Like I said before, in order for people to say no, they may first need one heart or eye opening experience, just to see enough of the other side to break out of their intractable state of victimhood and reactivity. But then–just do it. just say: enough. nobody wants this. After, the drama therapy.

        Reply to Comment
        • You’re right. When I mentioned drama therapy, I didn’t mean to make it sound like a theatre performance for increasing empathy in the audience. It isn’t. It’s a psychological treatment for people with certain difficulties, and it doesn’t have an audience any more than an appendectomy has an audience. The checkpoint acting is used to help teenagers who are very frightened of the checkpoint to get through it better, but of course the main objective isn’t to help them be less afraid in there, it’s to dismantle the bloody thing.

          Reply to Comment
        • Pathways opened in small matters can act later as a platform when the opportunity for macro change arises. The right persistently says “this is the only way to think.” It is not, at present, a matter of suggesting a political solution, but rather saying that the presently enforced solution is not the only way to communicate or be.

          If you act in a way which supports an alternative stand, then you are ready when the opportunity for change arises. For you will have to provide such when the prevalent paradigm fails, or at least enough people become disillusioned with it. In this sense, even helping children through role playing is a future political act.

          When I read right corporate nationalists I now ask: what am I not supposed to think of? what thought enrages them? Actually, I don’t think “pushing Israel into the sea” enrages them; they can deal with that–what can’t they deal with?

          Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        Or it could just be that some find you so tediously delusional that it arouses mockery and laughter.

        Reply to Comment
    12. Jenny

      how anyone can have a negative response to this video is utterly beyond me. It is awesome, moving and gives us hope. Yes, it would be an interesting exercise to conduct on the other side – here in Australia some Palestinian mates of mine are talking about trying to get one up. But, honestly people, this is awesome. How can you see such bitterness and affront in it? I don;t understand.

      Reply to Comment
    13. bluto

      great video – what an culture shock for these Israelis and yet you can see it was just below the surface.
      ===
      Perhaps Israelis are human beings, too

      Reply to Comment
    14. David T.

      First of all, the video was mind blowing. I didn’t expect the interviewed people to give in and play the game.

      Regarding the first question “Do Gazans understand the experience of Israelis that are being shelled by Hamas/Islamic Jihad/PFLP/others?” Of course they do. At least since 2006 in which they were hit by 14.000 Israeli artillery shells according to the UN.

      Now regarding the childish gameplay who is native in Palestine/Israel and who is not – it’s irrelevant. Relevant is that citizens of mandated Palestine and their descendants have the right to live there and to acquire the nationality of the successor state even if they fled or well expelled. This is customary international and human rights law and was also reflected in Resolution 181:

      “Palestinian citizens residing in Palestine outside the City of Jerusalem, as well as Arabs and Jews who, not holding Palestinian citizenship, reside in Palestine outside the City of Jerusalem shall, upon the recognition of independence, become citizens of the State in which they are resident and enjoy full civil and political rights.”

      If they are kept expelled and denationalized (segregated) to maintain the domination of a certain ethno-religious minority group, than one can simply call this Apartheid.

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        Or one can call it extremely pragmatic self-defense considering what happens consistently, repeatedly and predictably to every other ethno-religious minority in the Middle East.

        Customary international human rights law has no concept of inherited refugee rights. All other cases of refugee populations created in the same time period due to shifting borders or colonial partitions have been absorbed by their place of refuge. The insistence on special treatment in these matters is exclusively the domain of one very recently invented national group.

        Reply to Comment
      • Believer

        Thank you for establishing that all Arab, Middle Eastern nations practice apartheid. I expect them to immediately provide citizenship to ALL Palestinians born in said nations. I also expect them to provide full citizenship to the 800,000 Jews who fled or were expelled from those nations.

        Also, does Israel then have to give citizenship to all Jordanian nationals…seeing as that was part of mandated Palestine also? And what happens to Jordan?

        Reply to Comment
    15. Manal Abukishk

      You are the other and I am, you

      Reply to Comment
    16. Aaron

      “But from my own personal experience, Palestinian never have a problem understanding Israelis”

      Then obviously you have no experience at all.

      Are you seriously to portray one side as racist and the other as pure? Are you that out of touch with reality, or do you just have absolutely no fucking idea how the human condition works?

      And let’s ignore the fact that there are ISRAELIS who protest and work to support Palestinians. Let’s ignore the fact that, in comparison, the best we’ll find on the Palestinian side are people who work to support both sides (which is the right way to do things, but you’ll never find Palestinians protesting the PA or Hamas in support of Israelis).

      What a disgusting attempt to distort the conflict. People like you make me sick.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Click here to load previous comments

    LEAVE A COMMENT

    Name (Required)
    Mail (Required)
    Website
    Free text

© 2010 - 2014 +972 Magazine
Follow Us
Credits

+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.

Website empowered by RSVP

Illustrations: Eran Mendel