Magazine article New Internationalist

We Refuse to Be Enemies

Magazine article New Internationalist

We Refuse to Be Enemies

Article excerpt

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[Graph Not Transcribed]

Jeremy Milgram

Jeremy is a member of Rabbis for Human Rights, which champions a more humanistic Judaism than the more fundamentalist religious authorities. The Rabbis defend the rights of Palestinians and others (Bedouins, guest workers) against housing demolitions and other restrictions on their human rights. Jeremy believes that Israel is a society 'wrapped up in its own traumas that suffers from a deep insecurity that allows it to lash out with great ferocity. It is an immigrant society that concentrates on its own needs and everything else is wilderness.' Milgram believes that 'while we can never forget the holocaust, we need to share it'. He is rare in Israel (or Palestine) for his belief in a bi-national state in which Palestinians and Israelis would live together.

Jeff Halper

Jeff is one of the key people behind the Israeli Committee against Housing Demolitions. He and other members of the Committee go and sit in front of the bulldozers sent to destroy 'illegal' Palestinian houses. According to Halper: 'A Palestinian doing what I do would get shot.' He believes Israeli authorities are consciously trying to create a Palestinian housing shortage to force people out of the greater Jerusalem area in a process he calls 'quiet transfer'. Halper talks of an Israeli 'matrix of control' extending over the occupied territories and points out that the number of settlers has doubled since the Oslo agreement. Halper is highly critical of those in the Israeli peace movement who feel 'betrayed by the Palestinians'. The Committee refuses to work with organizations that aren't explicitly against the occupation. According to him 'most Israelis know little of the daily brutality of the occupation. They just don't get it.'

Fatin Mukarker

Fatin is a Palestinian writer who lives in Beit Jalla, a Palestinian town that has become 'a hotspot' because of its proximity to the Israeli settlement of Gilo. An attack on Gilo brings down holy hell on Beit Jalla. Curfew, periodic shelling and gunfire have become normal. 'Our small children are crying at night,' she says. 'You have heard of an eye for an eye; this is a hundred eyes for an eye.' Fatin says that curfews last for days and that 10 Palestinians were killed in a little over a week. …

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