Wednesday, February 07, 2024

The Israelis who refuse

There are people living in Israel who do not support the war against the Palestinians, and nor do they support the occupation.

I have been on the circulation list of the Refuser Solidarity Network for some years now. Here is the latest email I received...

My name is Maya Eshel, I just joined the Refuser Solidarity Network team as the international solidarity coordinator. I want to share a few words about myself and also tell you how you can amplify the voices of Israelis against the war on Gaza and call for a ceasefire.

I moved to Israel at the age of 16 and six months later I was already sent an initial draft order from the Israeli military. About two years later I was drafted into the Israeli military where I served in the West Bank for 9 months. During my time there I witnessed several detained Palestinians being brought to the detention center on my base. While waiting for the military doctor one day, a young Palestinian boy was escorted into the clinic. In the middle of winter he had just one long sleeve shirt on. He was blindfolded and handcuffed and could not have been over 11 years old. This very moment, sitting just centimeters away from a boy who could not see me, who was alone and was kidnapped from his community, stayed with me. 

Over the years I would often think of this boy. I would think about the trauma he may have from those exact moments and my participation in such a brutal system. I looked deeper into myself, into my environment and at the violent occupation that we as a society here in Israel have normalized. After educating myself and learning about the supremacist policies Israel uses to uphold an oppressive military rule over millions of Palestinians, I decided to join the resistance movement against the occupation and apartheid. You can also support the resistance by following our instagram page, voicesagainstwar, and our other social media pages where we provide a platform to document and publish anti-war protests and individual testimonies of Israelis against this war.

My solidarity work led me to living in Palestinian villages in the Southern Hebron Hills, located in area C of the West Bank, documenting demolitions and settler and military violence against Palestinians. I witnessed settlers violently abuse and threaten Palestinians, uproot hundreds of olive trees, dance with guns on stolen Palestinian land while the military was standing by. I also witnessed soldiers tasked to demolish homes, abuse small farming communities, and arrest men in the middle of the night. 

Since I started visiting the South Hebron Hills the situation has escalated tenfold. The horrors of October 7th have shaken the Israeli ethos to its core.  And with no time to grieve, the Israeli government is weaponizing our pain, enacting a revenge war on Gazans, killing thousands of civilians and displacing over one million people. 

Today, more than ever, we need to resist the war from the bottom up and we need to do this together. Please help us amplify Israeli voices who resist the government's violent manipulation of our pain. Please watch and help share our various social media pages, to spread the voices of Israelis protesting this war. 

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