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The Israeli media has kept us in the dark for 50 years

Since 1967, the Israeli media has hid the ugly, everyday reality in the occupied territories. But even if they really knew, would Israelis still choose to end 50 years of military rule over the Palestinians?

By Yizhar Be’er

According to the democratic-liberal-utopian model, let us assume for a moment that every citizens has access to all the information about the reality that surrounds us. In this world, Israelis would know everything about what is being done in their names in the territories occupied in 1967. And what would happen then?

Over the past few months I have been producing a radiophonic project on the first years in the Gaza Strip after 1967, as part of a series of podcasts I host on Israeli myths. I interviewed, among others, two of the military governors who oversaw Gaza in the first years of the 1970s. At that time the IDF took harsh action against Gaza, and had soldiers been caught on camera by the likes of B’Tselem (which did not exist back then), the world would have come down hard on us.

Lieutenant Col. Ini Abadi, who was then the military governor of the Gaza district, castigated me when I asked him about the army’s “policing activities” vis-a-vis the Palestinian population in the Strip. “These were not policing activities… this was terror! Israeli terror against civilians!” he nearly yelled at me, “and I was in charge of it!” How many Israeli journalists would ever dare speak this way, then and now, not to mention politicians?

Champagne in exchange for dead terrorists

There should be no doubt: Israelis should have known what kind of trouble “holding on to the territories” would bring in the first two to three years after the 1967 War. If only journalists and the local media would have delivered the proper information.

As I gathered more information for my project, I discovered terrible things — some of them yet unknown — that the IDF did in Gaza under the Ariel Sharon, who headed the Southern Command at the time. In an interview with former Major General Yitzhak Pudak, who served as the military governor of Gaza and northern Sinai at the time, he told me about a bound prisoner who was taken from his cell in Gaza so he could point out the exact spot where he had hid weapons in an orchard. After revealing the hiding spot to his interrogators, they...

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High Court: Israel won't demolish homes of Palestinian teen's killers

Court rejects petition filed by family of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, claiming too much time passed since his murder and the filing of the petition. 

By +972 Magazine Staff

Israel’s High Court of Justice on Tuesday ruled that the families of three Israelis who were convicted of kidnapping and murdering Muhammad Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian who was burned alive in 2014, won’t have their homes demolished. Israel regularly demolishes the family homes of Palestinians who commit acts of violence against Israelis.

Supreme Court Vice President Elyakim Rubinstein explained in the judgment that the court was rejecting the petition to demolish the homes of Yosef Haim Ben-David — along with two Israeli minors who took part in the kidnapping and murder — because too much time had passed between the murder and the date of the petition’s filing. Abu Khdeir’s family filed the petition in July 2016, two years after the murder.

“There is no justice in the court system, which hands down decisions according to the directives of the Israeli government,”  Muhammad’s father, Hussein Abu Khdeir, told Ynet. “This kind of decision encourages a continued attack on us under the guise of the state.”

Abu Khdeir was kidnapped by Ben-David and his two accomplices on the morning of June 2, 2014, one day after three Israeli teens who were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas militants in the West Bank were laid to rest. Abu Khdeir was forced into a car during the early hours of the morning as he was walking to the local mosque in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, where he lived with his family. Abu Khdeir was then taken to a forest outside Jerusalem, where he was beaten and burned alive. His remains were found by Israeli police the following morning.

Ben-David was convicted on charges of murder, kidnapping for the purpose of murder, and battery causing bodily harm in April of last year, and was sentenced to life in prison with an additional 20 years. His accomplices were also convicted of murder. One was sentenced to life in prison and the other to 21 years in prison. Each minor was also ordered to pay the Abu Khdeir family NIS 30,000 ($7,700) in reparations.

Justice Neil Hendel wrote that, one can “understand the feelings of the victim’s family, which submitted the petition. And yet, [home demolitions] are a preventative tool, not a punishing tool. We must remember that the perpetrators underwent...

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Hyper-nationalism and arms deals: A new chapter in Israel-India ties

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first official visit to Israel comes at a time of both rising economic cooperation growing nationalism in both countries.  

By Inbal Ben Yehuda

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived for a three-day visit in Israel on Tuesday. Alongside meetings with government officials, Modi will travel across the country and will meet with leading Israeli and Indian businesspeople. In addition, Israel’s Indian community will host the prime minister for a festive event, which will include Israeli Jews of Indian origin. This is the first time India’s prime minister has ever visited Israel, marking 25 years since the two countries formally established diplomatic ties, which began in 1992.

Although India formally recognized the State of Israel in 1950, it took another 42 years until it established diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, due to its historic support for the Palestinian cause. Over the years, India attempted to create a balance between its ties with Israel and the Palestinians, although it seems that the current visit symbolizes a change in this tendency.

As opposed to other Indian leaders who visited the region, Modi will not meet with officials from the Palestinian Authority. In order to keep some semblance of balance, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was invited to India this past May for a four-day visit. In the run-up to that visit, India’s foreign minister emphasized the close historic ties between India and Palestine, and said that “apart from our political support for the Palestinian cause, India continues to support development plans in Palestine by extending technical and financial assistance.”

On the other hand, diplomats and media outlets have pointed out that New Delhi has shed its hesitation in acknowledging deepening ties with Jerusalem, and that Modi’s diplomacy vis-a-vis the Palestinians pales in comparison to his current visit to Israel. According to Asaduddin Owaisi, a member of India’s federal parliament from a regional group that promotes Muslim rights, “Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel will only strengthen its occupation of Palestine.”

Arms deals and hypernationalism

The intensive preparations for Modi’s arrival were a testament to the fact that Modi’s visit is the most important this year following that of President Trump. So important, in fact, that Modi will be staying in a luxury suite in Jerusalem’s King David Hotel, the same one Trump stayed in during his visit. Modi’s reception, which has been in the planning for months, will...

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40 days and 40 nights: Building a new reality in Sumud Freedom Camp

For 40 days and 40 nights, Palestinians, diaspora Jews, and Israeli activists learned to speak a new language of nonviolence, empathy, and steadfastness as we put our bodies on the line to protect Sumud Freedom Camp.

By Sophie Schor

Plato is famous for his allegory of a cave. In it, he employs a metaphor that if you were born in a cave and lived in a cave your entire life, captive and unable to turn your head, only seeing shadows cast on the stone wall, you would know no other reality than that. But if you were to leave the cave and walk under the sun and see the real world outside—not the world of the shadows, rather the world of light and dark—how would you ever begin to describe it to those still sitting in the cave and watching the wall?

How can I even describe the last forty days of Sumud: Freedom Camp and living in Sarura?

Against a backdrop of desert hills, a terraced valley with newly planted olive trees, and the mountains of Jordan peering at us through the hazy distance, we built a movement.

Beginning on May 19th, a coalition of five groups launched Sumud Freedom Camp [Sumud is an Arabic term for steadfastness, resilience, and resoluteness, it is an often invoked term in Palestinian political discourse]. Members of the Popular Resistance Committee of the South Hebron Hills, Holy Land Trust, Combatants for Peace, All That’s Left: An Anti-Occupation Collective, and Center for Jewish Nonviolence came together in an unprecedented joint effort. Since then a community of activists have rehabilitated the ancestral caves of the villagers, flattened roads connecting Sarura to adjacent villages, planted gardens, maintained a constant presence on the land, and established the camp as a defiant embodiment of co-resistance to the Israeli occupation. (Read the full statement by the coalition here)

For 40 days and 40 nights, over 500 people passed through Sarura, an unrecognized village located in Area C of the West Bank in the South Hebron Hills. Palestinian, Israeli, Jewish, and international justice seekers joined together to carry out a direct act of civil disobedience and solidarity with the Palestinians who live in Firing Zone 918— a closed military zone of about 30 square miles that was established by the Israeli army in the late 1970s.

For 40 days and 40 nights, the Popular Resistance Committee of the South Hebron Hills held down the fort...

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Bedouin village braces for a new round of demolitions

It has been half a year since Israeli police killed Yacoub Abu al-Qi’an during the demolition of his home. Now the police are back to demolish structures donated to provide shelter to his children.

By Yael Marom

It has been nearly a year and a half since a police raid on the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran ended in the death of Yacoub Abu Al-Qi’an and police officer Erez Levi, yet Israeli Police have yet to publish the findings of its investigation into the incident. Meanwhile, the path is clear for the authorities to continue demolishing the village’s homes.

This time they are after makeshift structures donated to Yacoub Abu al-Qi’an’s family after he was killed by police in the early hours of January 18. Police initially claimed Abu al-Qi’an, a local math teacher, had deliberately plowed into a crowd of police officers during home demolitions in the village. Yet according to numerous eyewitnesses and independent investigations, officers opened fire on him while he was driving near ongoing clashes between villagers and police, causing him to accelerate, lose control of the vehicle, and fatally run over Levi.

Not a single government official thought to find a different solution for a family that was left that without a roof over its head, or for the children who were left without a father.

Over the past few days, with the end of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the final days of Ramadan, the possibility of demolitions has arisen once again. Residents are reporting that they received phone calls from both the police and the Bedouin Development Authority — which is mostly responsible for demolishing homes and removing the Bedouin population from the area — demanding the residents remove two tents and two mobile homes that were donated by private donors to Yacoub’s family. If they do not remove the structures themselves, Israeli authorities will demolish them.

The residents were first served with demolition orders for the structures as Ramadan was getting underway last month. On Sunday police officers arrived at the unrecognized village to prepare the area for what looks like an additional evacuation. The residents are preparing for the worst — since everyone remembers how the last evacuation ended.

Umm al-Hiran is one of dozen unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev Desert. For over a decade and a half, the residents have been waging a struggle against the state’s attempts to remove them and replace the village...

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The Trump effect hits Gaza

No, Trump did not create the rift between the PA and Hamas. But he has bought into the Israeli narrative, thus creating an environment that encourages more aggressive steps by stronger parties. The most dangerous part? Trump surely has no idea he did any of this.

By Mitchell Plitnick

The effects of Donald Trump’s trip last month to the Middle East continue to multiply. The focus, quite correctly has been on the breach between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. But the effects of the Saudis’ wooing of Trump are felt throughout the region.

Flattering the president of the United States is a sensible thing for most world leaders to do, but this president, basking in all-encompassing flattery, becomes immediately susceptible to the views of his supplicants. Trump came away from his Middle East trip having bought whole cloth into the Saudi narrative of regional politics, and his criticism of Qatar clearly spurred on what has transpired since. But it was not only the Saudi royal family that captured Trump’s attention.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was much less ostentatious in his adulation of Trump, but he was partnering with and praising Trump before Barack Obama had even left the White House. Despite Trump’s words about securing the “ultimate deal” between Israel and the Palestinians, the president’s selection of settlement funder David Friedman as ambassador and his use of Jason Greenblatt and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, both prominent pro-Israel figures as his envoys, demonstrated early on that the Trump approach was going to be rooted in the Israeli view to a much greater extent than prior administrations.

In this light, it behooves observers to consider the meaning behind the decision by the Palestinian Authority to step up its action against the Hamas government in Gaza. In recent days, the PA requested that Israel cut the power supply to Gaza, a request that Israel quickly honored. Shortly thereafter, it surfaced that the PA had stopped paying the regular stipends that have become so controversial to Palestinian prisoners (including a limited number of Hamas prisoners).

It would be a mistake to think this was part of some unified strategy between the PA and its regional allies, taking advantage of Trump’s view of the region and his apparent inability to grasp the regional complexities. Al-Monitor quoted Issa Qaraqe, the chairman of the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs, saying...

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Israel inching closer to a war nobody wants

Increasingly hawkish rhetoric directed at Hezbollah, along with providing humanitarian aid to Syrian rebels, may lead Israel into a war no one wants. Israel’s interest is a stable Middle East, but it won’t happen without an end to the occupation.

By Asher Kaufman

At the annual Herzliya Conference last week, the head of the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate, Maj. Gen. Herzi Levi, told the crowd that “Iran, the Assad regime, and Hezbollah — these are the main threats in the region… and a major threat to the State of Israel.” Levi added that “one can clearly see Hezbollah building a military industry with Iranian knowledge, creating weaponry and transferring them to southern Lebanon.” At last year’s conference, Levi, along with military officials and politicians, made similar comments about the threat posed by the Iran-Assad-Hezbollah axis, adding that another round of fighting between Hezbollah and Israel is an inevitability.

Hassan Nasrallah does his part and threatens Israel morning and night, warning that during the next, inevitable war, all of Israel’s territory will be exposed to Hezbollah’s rockets, and that the organization may even manage to conquer parts of the north. In a speech delivered on “Quds Day,” Nasrallah added that thousands of Muslim volunteers from across the world will join the fight against Israel. It seems that both sides partake in a ritual of lobbing threats back and forth over the coming war, which will lead to the ultimate demise of the other side. Even though neither side have an immediate interest in going to war — Hezbollah is still neck-deep in the Syrian Civil War, and Israel is happy to maintain more than a decade of quiet in the north – wars rarely break out due to careful calculations on the part of one of the sides.

The cost of Israeli involvement in Syria

The latest spillover in the Golan Heights makes clear the danger on Israel’s northern border. Much of the border with Syria across the Golan Heights is still in the hands of the opposition, and in the last months the Assad regime and its allies have been diverting some of their military resources to take control of the area. Despite the fact that Israel officially repeats the mantra that it does not get involved in the Syrian Civil War, it is an open secret that it provides aid to some of the opposition groups near the Golan Heights. Recently, Fursan al-Julan, one of...

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Is Abbas' arch-rival the answer to Gaza's problems?

A new leaked document reveals a new plan to solve the crisis in Gaza: appointing Mohammad Dahlan, once responsible for crushing Hamas and now Mahmoud Abbas’ greatest threat, to run the besieged Strip.

By Elhanan Miller

In the beginning of June, former Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan met with representatives of the Egyptian government and leaders of Hamas in Cairo. The details of the mysterious meeting became clear this week, after a leaked document revealed understandings reached by both sides. According to the document, Dahlan — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ arch nemesis — would be appointed to the prime minister of Gaza.

Neither Dahlan, Hamas, nor Egypt have yet to release an official response to the document, which was first published Ma’an News Agency earlier this week. Even the Palestinian Authority, which will be most harmed by the secret agreement, maintained its right to remain silent. Only Sufian Abu Zaida, a member of Fatah and an ally of Dahlan, bothered to deny the veracity of the document, claiming it was a “media fabrication that has nothing to do with any real result of the dialogue with Hamas.”

Since being expelled from Fatah in June 2011, Dahlan has been living in Abu Dhabi, where he has been channeling funds to Palestinian refugee camps in Gaza and the West Bank, essentially buying support there. Initial indications that Dahlan was playing peacemaker between the Sisi regime in Egypt and Hamas arose in October of last year, when he hinted to an Egyptian television station that reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas would solve Gaza’s problems. It is amazing to witness how Yasser Arafat’s right-hand man when it came to crushing Hamas members in Gaza would become the movement’s biggest advocate, much to Abbas’ discontent.

Should the document be verified, it will be seen as the first breakthrough in the political stalemate in Gaza since Hamas ousted Fatah in a coup there a decade ago. It will also indicate that the Sisi government has lost all faith in Abbas’ ability to return and rule Gaza, and in fact has decided to crown Dahlan as leader of the Strip as a condition for re-opening the Rafah Crossing, all while ensuring Hamas’ continued rule. The document also indicates Hamas’ overall political weakness — and its pragmatism in moments of crisis — which gives up on a great deal of power while siding with former bitter enemy.

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Hebron is the next Israeli-Palestinian fight at UNESCO

From a Palestinian point of view, Hebron’s sanctity to the Jewish people does not negate the Palestinians’ right to promote their political rights and sovereignty over the world heritage site.

By Yonathan Mizrachi

In recent years, every time UNESCO convenes to discuss world heritage sites, Israel-Palestine is in the limelight.  Usually, tensions center around the Old City of Jerusalem, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Danger in 1982. Recently, however, the Israeli Foreign Ministry began a campaign against the Palestinian nomination of the city of Hebron as a World Heritage Site. Though Hebron is not Jerusalem, Israel’s claims to the place sound pretty much the same: a national and religious connection to the Cave of the Patriarchs which is based on the city’s status as a sacred site from Biblical times. Names such as Abraham and King David — who made Hebron his first capital for seven years before conquering Jerusalem — are proclaimed in connection to the city with requisite pathos.

The discussion about recognizing  Hebron as a World Heritage Site will take place during the meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Krakow, Poland from July 2 to 12. The Palestinians propose recognizing the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Hebron as a World Heritage Site because of the city’s rich 6,000 year-old history. Like the Israelis, the Palestinians also revere the tombs of the Matriarchs and the Patriarchs — Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah. They note that the present structure of the Cave of the Patriarchs dates to the time of Herod — a tradition accepted by all sides, but that is yet to be verified by archeologists. Both the Palestinians and the Israelis agree that Hebron had a Christian presence in the Byzantine period, that the city was conquered by the Muslims and the Crusaders, and that it was again conquered by Salah ad-Din in the 12th century during which time the tomb was modified and additional sections were added. All these are agreed upon by both sides.

Among the Israeli public, the importance of Hebron in Jewish tradition is often emphasized in addition to the fact that for 700 years (from the 13th century until 1967) Jews were not permitted to enter the site. Palestinians point to the sanctity of the city in Islam. Notwithstanding the unresolved debate over whether Hebron is the fourth holiest city in Islam, its religious...

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Iranian missile launch shows Israeli deterrence is working

There was a lot of spin in the coverage of Iran’s missile strikes on ISIS in Syria last week. We can learn more from what Israel’s leadership didn’t say than what it did.

By Shemuel Meir

An extraordinary strategic event took place last week in the Middle East, when Iran launched surface-to-surface missiles against targets in Syria. This was the first-ever missile strike directed by Iran at a country bordering on Israel. Amazingly, all hell didn’t break loose. What happened? How did Israel view the launch of the missiles? Did it grasp its full implications? How did it respond to this dramatic turn of events? Let us try to find out.

Initial reports in Israel in the hours following the launch of the missiles on June 18, 2017 mentioned four ballistic Shahab-3 missiles, whose range of up to 1,500 kilometers can reach targets in Israel. An official Iranian statement on the launch, which said that six Zulfiqar ballistic missiles had been launched at Islamic State (ISIS) targets in Deir a-Zor, Syria, immediately brought down the anxiety levels in Israel. With their 600-kilometer operational range, Zulfiqar missiles cannot reach targets in Israel.

The next day, reports started to appear in the Israeli media, which were soon picked up worldwide, according to which there were seven missiles rather than six, only two of which struck in the vicinity of the target in Syria — three fell outside Syrian territory and two ended up way off target. The similarity of these reports seemed to be telltale sign of their common origin in a briefing for military correspondents.

Even the commentary on the reports seemed to speak almost in unison, blatantly downplaying the importance of the missile launch from Iran. Channel 2 analyst Ehud Yaari was among the first to set the tone, calling this an Iranian “failure, a flop.” Amos Yadlin, Director of The Institute for National Security Studies was quick to minimize the importance of the Iranian move, tweeting that the U.S. Air Force operation carried out the same day in Syria was “more significant than the Iranian missiles.” Yedioth Aharonoth’s senior military analyst, Alex Fishman, wrote of “an operational fiasco,” saying that Iran’s military industry had “failed miserably.” Amos Harel, military analyst for Haaretz, wrote about “a great deal less impressive than the media noise being made in Iran.” A few days later, Israeli army Chief...

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IDF releases conscientious objector after 110 days in prison

Atalya Ben-Abba went to prison rather than be conscripted into the Israeli army because of her refusal to take part in the occupation.

By +972 Magazine Staff

The Israeli army released conscientious objector Atalya Ben-Abba from mandatory military service on Tuesday after she spent 110 days in military prison for refusing to be drafted. Ben-Abba was released on grounds of unsuitability, after her request to be recognized as a conscientious objector was rejected a day earlier.

“The army can call the waiver [from mandatory conscription] whatever it wants, but the fact of the matter remains that it gave me a waiver as a result of my simple refusal to participate in a system that uses violent means to oppress another people, which has imposed an occupation upon it for 50 years, and is imposing a siege, the consequences of which are yet to be seen,” Ben-Abba said in a statement upon her release from military prison on Tuesday.

“I walk out of military prison with my head held high, alongside many supporters who, like me, understand that refusing to take part in the occupation is a necessary, moral choice,” her statement continued. “There have been other conscientious objectors who came before me and others will follow, part of a growing movement of youths who aren’t afraid to say ‘enough is enough’.”

Ben-Abba is being supported by Mesarvot — Refusing to Serve the Occupation, a grassroots network that brings together individuals and groups who refuse to enlist in the IDF in protest at the occupation.

In March, the army recognized refusal to serve in the occupation as conscientious objection for the first time in 13 years, as it decided to release Tamar Ze’evi after she had spent a total of 118 days in prison.

Several other conscientious objectors refused to enlist in the army last year, including Tair Kaminer and Aidan Katri.

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Jewish-Palestinian protest camp celebrates success, digs in for long haul

With the help of hundreds of American Jews, Israeli and Palestinian activists, two Palestinian families returned to land the Israeli army expelled them from decades ago.

By +972 Magazine Staff

A little over a month ago, accompanied by over hundreds of Jewish-American, Palestinian, and Israeli activists, adel Aamer returned to the land from which the Israeli army expelled him some two decades ago. In the weeks since, some 500 people helped restore two cave homes and put their bodies on the line to ensure Aamer and his family could return to their land.

Now most of the foreign activists have gone home, and a secondary stage of solidarity work, primarily manual labor helping to clear dirt and rocks from cave homes, came to an end along with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Now the activists are moving into a longer-term phase of supporting the Aamer family’s continued presence on their land.

Speaking to +972 Magazine during a visit to Sarura several weeks ago, Fadel Aamer said that he has no intention of leaving his land again. “I will be buried here,” Aamer said, adding that he had waited many years for the right opportunity to return, which ultimately came in the form a coalition of Jewish-American, Israeli, and Palestinian activist groups.

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In a statement Tuesday, the organizing coalition, composed of the Holy Land Trust, Combatants for Peace, All That’s Left: Anti-Occupation Collective, and the Center for Jewish Nonviolence, said that:

Since the founding of Sumud: Freedom Camp on May 19th, over 500 Palestinian, Israeli, Jewish, and international activists rehabilitated the ancestral caves of the villagers, flattened roads connecting Sarura to adjacent villages, planted gardens, maintained a constant presence on the land, and established Sumud: Freedom Camp as a defiant embodiment of co-resistance to the Israeli occupation. Two families have returned to Sarura.

Following June 26th, the organizing coalition will maintain ongoing solidarity with the families of Sarura. The revival of Sarura as an autonomous community fulfills the coalition’s mandate to stand with the families in their call to self-actualize their right to home, livelihood, and safety. In the face of three military...

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I was taught to hate Palestinians — until I met one

I grew up believing the Arabs wanted to throw us into the sea. Then I met a Palestinian from Gaza, and started to question everything I was ever taught.

By Osnat Ita Skoblinski

As a young girl I believed that Arabs were evil. My belief wasn’t based on personal experience — it was just common knowledge. As befits a coastal country, Israelis would often talk about “throwing people into the sea” — either the evil Arabs throwing us into the sea, or us throwing them in first as a preventive measure.

I spent first grade studying in a bomb shelter because of the first Gulf War. In elementary school, I spent the breaks walking amid the debris and rubble left behind by suicide bombings in Tel Aviv. My high school years were darkened by the shadow of the Second Intifada. This all came together to reinforce a fervent, indiscriminate hatred of the faceless Other who was out to harm us.

Today I work with Israelis and Palestinians at B’Tselem, a human rights NGO that strives to uncover the injustices inherent to the occupation.

This change in my worldview did not happen overnight, and it wasn’t a change that my family and friends could easily accept. It began with a chance meeting with a young Palestinian during a family trip to the United States. He was a friend of friends, he was my age, and we had shared interests. He was from Gaza. He told me what Israel was doing in Gaza, and I told him that that wasn’t possible. It must just be propaganda. After all, it’s common knowledge that Arabs are bad and that Israel’s army is “the most moral in the world.” We became friends and would chat online. He would send me links with information on Gaza. I took it all with much more than a grain of salt.

As the years passed, I read more, studied, met other Palestinians and got to know peace activists. The realization that my country doesn’t always do the right thing, and that not all Arabs are bad, shook me up — it went against everything I was ever taught. The realization that injustice was being committed in my name was hard to swallow. My parents had fought so hard to immigrate to Israel. They escaped the tyranny and anti-Semitism of the Soviet Union in order to reach their promised democracy, where there...

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