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The Jewish People are not my People

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    The Jewish People are not my People. My People are Hashem and his Family from Bil`in. Beni Tziper Ha`aretz, 2 April 2007 Hebrew original:
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 8, 2007
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      The Jewish People are not my People.
      My People are Hashem and his Family from Bil`in.
      Beni Tziper
      2 April 2007
      Hebrew original: http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/845020.html
      Translated by Rann Bar-On

      There is nothing festive in this posting. Passover, shmassover, I
      hate the holidays because while we celebrate, while us Jews babble
      slogans about freedom, and fantasize that we are a miserable
      enslaved nation, we are in fact busy enslaving the Palestinian
      people. It`s become banal and boring to repeat this a thousand
      times, but in my eyes, the hypocrisy cries out to the heavens. [The
      Passover prayer] `Oh bread of poverty` is no longer the bread of
      poverty of Jews but of numerous Palestinian families in the Occupied
      Territories, who live off thirty or forty shekels the head of the
      household manages to scrounge together doing temporary jobs once
      every few days.

      I got to know one such family this past Friday. I joined my
      daughter, Talila, at a demonstration against the Wall in Bil`in. The
      protocol involves gathering at Tel-Aviv`s Northern railway station
      and from there somehow organizing ourselves into Arab minibuses and
      private cars, and driving to those Palestinian villages whose income
      has been affected by the Wall. That is, the Wall separates between
      the villagers and their fields. My daughter is well-accustomed to
      these demonstrations. For me, this was the fist time. This is how I
      met Dr. Ilan Shalif, the living spirit of the the demonstrations and
      organizer of rides.

      Shalif is a psychologist and an anarchist, who surely has better
      things to do with his time than to busy himself organizing taxis.
      This is what it means to be an idealist: to do things for altruistic
      reasons. He comes equipped with special large glasses to protect
      against the sting of tear gas the border police will throw at him.
      What encouraged me was that not all the demonstrators were
      youngsters, some were more-or-less my age, like Yisrael and Dvorah
      (Dvorah Ferdel-Zilberstein) who in the end volunteered to drive us
      in her red Vauxhall to Bil`in.

      We agree on a cover story in case we get stopped at the checkpoint
      after the turnoff from Road 443. We were to say that we were on our
      way to a circumcision ceremony at one of the settlements. But as it
      turned out no one stopped us at the checkpoint, nor did they stop
      the cars behind us. And so we climbed hills and descended into
      valleys between quiet and beautiful villages, between olive groves
      and fields of flowers, until we arrived at Bil`in.

      In the interest of calm and sanity, it is best not to look at the
      new settlements that are popping up on the way to Bil`in. All sort
      of ugly piles of cement that destroys the beautiful vistas of this
      land in the name of some fake `love of Israel`. When I stare at this
      colossal ugliness, designed to house all sort of orthodox parasites
      from abroad whose only job is to hate the non-Jew, I understand that
      what is called the `Jewish nation` is not my nation at all, and that
      I feel far more sympathetic and empathetic towards Palestinian
      residents of the Occupied Territories like the family from
      Bil`in who accommodated myself and my daughter after I was (lightly)
      injured during the demonstration by an exploding stun grenade.

      The father of the family is called Hashem. His wife is named Zahara.
      They have two married daughters living nearby, and they have lovely
      little children. I felt at home immediately. Hashem brought me herbs
      from the garden, which were supposed to help alleviate the effects
      of the gas thrown at me by the soldiers. Zahara hurried to bring us
      a tray filled with fresh vegetables, pita bread, olive oil and
      za`atar. Their house was small, pleasant and brightly lit. Hashem
      works occasionally as a gardener in the houses of rich people in
      Ramallah. Luckily, his brother owns the only supermarket in the
      village and sells him good on credit. This is how they manage to

      As I was walking with the demonstrators - some villagers, some from
      Ramallah, and some Israeli and international activists - towards the
      gate in the Wall that is protected by armed border policemen, my
      daughter told me that one border police unit occupied Hashem`s roof
      and fired at the house next door, where stones were supposedly
      thrown from. My daughter shouted at the soldiers that the house they
      were firing at had elderly and disabled residents in it, but they
      ignored her.

      In the mean time, I stood facing the soldiers guarding the gate in
      the Wall and watched them. They put on tough-looking faces, but to
      me they appeared to be just a group of cute kids. I thought to
      myself that any one of them could have been my son. The only ones
      who looked agitated were those who stood behind them, with the badge
      of the army spokesperson`s office on their shoulders, filming the

      The main attraction of the demonstration was a elderly Palestinian,
      who had Parkinson`s, who came in a black suit and a Palestinian
      keffiyeh and threw himself on the soldiers` shields. They pushed him
      back, though they did try to be gentle, not because they are gentle
      by nature, but rather because they knew foreign television crews
      were filming them from the adjacent hilltop.

      Once in a while the commander of the unit, who seemed slick and
      devious to me, one of those who will declare at a party a few years
      down the line that he`s really a leftist, instructed with a nod of
      his head the use of a water cannon to disperse us. Then the stun
      grenades began flying. What a disgusting man! How could I say that I
      belong to the same nation as this commander, who orders stun
      grenades to be thrown at me, while seemingly unable to wipe a vile
      smile from his lips. It`s clear to him that I am non-violent, and I
      will not lift a finger to his soldiers, nor I nor the elderly people
      I was with, much less the villagers who were even less violent than
      I was. All they wanted was to demonstrate a symbolic presence near
      the Wall. One day I will bump into this commander when he is back to
      civilian life and I will spit in his face(symbolically, of course,
      not really, because I am not violent like he is).

      This is how the Occupation functions. On the front line are good,
      youth, who could have been my children, about whom I could never say
      that they are oppressive occupiers. Behind them stands a commander
      who looks like a marketing executive who cannot harm a fly. And
      behind him stand all sort of slick-looking youths from the army
      spokesperson`s office who look like future cinema directors and
      authors. And even further back behind them stands a water cannon for
      dispersal of demonstrations. And what`s the big deal about a water
      cannon - water doesn`t kill. Nor do stun grenades. The whole thing
      looks like child`s play, and despite all this there is an
      Occupation, despite all this Hashem lives in a cage, much worse-off
      than black slaves in the US in their time. All the people of Bil`in
      can do is go to Ramallah, where the world they can travel freely in
      stops. All this misery is created by people who look like dorky
      marketing managers.

      So on the night of the Seder, while listening to the dull text of
      the Hagadah, I will think about Hashem and his family from Bil`in,
      who fed me a sparse meal, and yet I, even if I wanted to fulfill the
      commandment telling me to share my food and my home with the needy
      will not be able to, because of those fences and walls of Occupation
      separating between us, disguising themselves as elements in an
      `enlightened` Occupation. And I will think that they are truly my
      people, not the disgusting officers who look like marketing
      executives, who destroy my beautiful land with fortified cement.

      Upon them will I pour my scorn, as is commanded to do upon non-Jews
      in the hagadah.



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