Ahmed Abu Artema, one of the organizers of the Great Return March in Gaza, responds to Israeli conscientious objector Hillel Garmi, who said his decision to refuse the draft is partly inspired by Artema’s acts of civil disobedience.
By Ahmed Abu Artema
Thank you, Hillel. You gave us hope.
The morality of a position is not measured by how closely it reflects popular opinion, but by its unique advantage. Throughout history, those who did not compromise their morals were the ones who carried more weight and inspired others, even if they were alone to confront mainstream perspectives. When a person decides to take an ethical stand, they fulfill their human calling and reconcile with the reason we were born into this universe, even if it comes at the cost of their personal comfort.
Dear Hillel, I read your letter and listened to your recording on YouTube. You sparked a feeling of hope in my heart, that there is a foundation on which to create a more just and humane reality between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea – a reality that does not derive its legitimacy based on the number of people who believe it can be accomplished at the moment, but because it is more feasible and closer to the values of justice and equality, and is based on respecting humans, rather than disqualifying them.
Your decision is what will help end this dark period inflicted on Palestinians, and at the same time mitigate the fears of younger Israeli generations who were born into a complicated situation and a turbulent geographical area deprived of security and peace.
Palestinians do not seek to drive Israelis into the sea, and Israelis cannot ignore the fact that there are more than 10 million Palestinians who still dream of the day they will live in freedom, and return to the homes they were forcible removed from in 1948. We can choose between two options, and there is no third: either we agree on a compromise based on a shared existence in accordance with human rights and equality, or we continue with this state of instability for 70 more years.
Dear Hillel, I grew up in the Gaza Strip, where my grandfather sought refuge after he was forcibly displaced from his hometown, Ramleh. I envy your ability to visit Ramleh with ease, while I have not been able to make it across the...Read More