Palestinian youth respond to a play based on testimonies by Israeli soldiers, which portrays the brutality of the occupation from the point of view of the occupiers.
By Pam Bailey
The video above is a production called “It’s What We Do: A Play About the Occupation.” Although it is a drama, the soldiers’ reflections in the play are taken verbatim from actual testimonies of soldiers from Breaking the Silence, whose vivid memories continue to haunt them.
The play’s target audience was Jewish Americans, but several Palestinians from Gaza, ‘We Are Not Numbers’ writers who have themselves been the “targets” of Israeli soldiers, watched the video of the production. They were curious to see how far the the soldiers were willing to go in their confessions. It was difficult for many of them to watch, and their reactions varied. But they all agreed the video should be required viewing for Jewish people everywhere
These young Palestinians, whose reactions are reproduced below, are “an audience I never in my wildest dreams imagined for my production,” said director and producer Pamela Nice, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace. “If these young Gazans, who know first-hand how occupation feels, are willing to listen to and attempt to understand how Israeli soldiers think and feel about their roles as occupiers, shouldn’t each of us give these soldiers a hearing? And be open to other points of view? As one of them says: ‘This oppression is destructive to everyone.’”
As I watched “It’s What We Do: A Play About the Occupation,” many questions sprang to my mind: does confessing commission of crimes against Palestinians make Israeli soldiers noble people? Or does knowing that these men and women have belatedly felt some remorse make the experience less painful for Palestinians?
As a Palestinian living in Gaza, one whose brother and four best friends were killed in the last Israeli war on my home, I have to admit that watching this play didn’t make me feel better. It made me feel sick — sick that this is what it takes to prove our suffering is real to the outside world.
The play shows in a very real way what life under occupation is like for Palestinians living in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem. The actors, and the soldiers whose testimony they share, speak bravely and honestly about...Read More