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On July 12, three Israeli
teenagers disappeared. The Israeli government and most of the media say they were "kidnapped," although there have been no ransom demands. If they were taken by one of the five previously unknown groups that claimed responsibility (including, apparently
, a branch of the now-ubiquitous ISIS), that group would probably say that they were "captured." Some Palestinians have described the teenagers as "soldiers" or "soldier-settlers," or "armed settlers." Israel denies they were soldiers (probably true, especially for the two 16-year-olds), but at least one of them lived in an illegal West Bank settlement, where carrying arms is common.
However these particular teenagers have served the Israeli state and its settlement enterprise, in order to understand the motivation of whoever might have taken them, it's worth
remembering the policies that teenage Israeli soldier boys carry out on the even-younger boys of the illegally-occupied population:
At any rate, in
response this disappearance/kidnapping, for the past two weeks, the Israeli government has been carrying out what
its own minister describes as a "wide-reaching operation against the civilian population" of Gaza and the
West Bank. In other words, as Chris Marsden points out, the Israeli government has proudly
announced it is engaging in a blatant form of collective punishment--a war crime, illegal under the Fourth Geneva
Convention. Israeli tactics have included raiding thousands of homes (sometimes
blowing their way in with explosives), abducting hundreds of people, cutting
off electricity, and killing about six Palestinians so far, including a 13-year-old boy. Amnesty International and
Israeli human-rights groups have denounced the operation, saying that the
army's actions "raise serious concerns of unwarranted infringement on basic
rights and collective punishment." The
United States, of course, blocked a statement of concern at the UN.
There was a
demonstration in Union Square on Thursday against this collective punishment,
and, in the course of it, Philip Weiss, of the fine website Mondoweiss
the following interview with Tzvia Their, a 70-year-old former resident of Israel, and formerly Zionist, Jewish woman.
In this interview,
Ms. Their describes how the Palestinians are "oppressed" in a "terrible" way: "They
are tortured. They are imprisoned for no reason. Their land is stolen. What is
going on there is a pogrom. They just destroy everything they can."
She insists on our responsibility as Americans: "Only if American people would wake up, this
terrible thing can stop. Without America this cannot happen. It's American
money, American weapons. And without America, it won't happen."
When asked by Weiss
whether her outreach is targeted at American Jews, she says: "This is the main
target, American Jews, because they do such a harm. They don't understand they
are fooled by the Zionists. There is no connection between Judaism and Zionism.
The Zionists just use Jews. Jews are so naÃ¯ve. They think they protect Israel.
They don't know what Israel is. Israel is a monster."
This interview is
a must-see for every American--especially liberal Americans, who can be all
wrought-up about whether and how to criticize Israel. It's way past time cut to the chase: "It is
colonialism." If Tzvia can say it, without fear, so can we. Jewish, Christian,
Muslim, atheist, or Wiccan, no apology needed. Just stand with Tzvia.
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