Regional Programs > Israel & Palestine > Next Story

 Please, Go Ahead and Prosecute Us
 Ilana Hamerman, Israel
 May 13, 2002
The Education Minister calls for the prosecution of professors from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, because they have expressed their support for soldiers who refuse to serve in the Territories. Please, go ahead and prosecute them, and maybe this will finally wake the true political protest, the outcry that is being so shamefully and appallingly delayed, the protest of parties, movements and individuals, against the foul current of mouth-shutting that has been washing over our country for so many days. Please, prosecute the professors, prosecute the "singer of four wars" Yaffa Yarkoni [who in April said that some sights from the invasion remind her of the Holocaust, and sympathized with the refuseniks], prosecute the managers of the Tel Aviv documentary film festival, prosecute Yael Sternhal [rising star TV news anchor who is nowadays conspicuous for her critical attitude towards government policies], who interviewed [UN envoy] Terjeh Larsen and [former public TV manager] Mordechai Kirshenbaum, and persecute Amira Hass and Gideon Levy [two reporters for Haaretz daily who specialize in bringing real stories of the Occupation's wrongs to the Israeli public. All the people mentioned above have suffered some degree of censorship, have become targets of boycott campaigns, were threatened or even lost positions, shows or sources of income lately—translator].

And until this list grows longer and longer, I humbly ask, please add me to the list, dear Education Minister. Because I hereby declare in public—I, who receive my paycheck from a public publishing house—that not only do I support the right of soldiers to refuse to serve in the Territories, I even do my very best to convince every young man and reserve soldier I happen to meet, to refuse to serve there. I ask them not to risk their life for Netzarim and Kfar Darom and Kiryat Arba [names of especially extremist settlements], and not for any of these wicked and idiotic settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, whose construction and maintenance have dragged us into this lunatic bloody dance that we are dancing now. I ask them not to risk their own lives, and also not to sully their hands in a war perpetrated in the midst of a civilian population. Because in the long run, they will not be able to protect us from the killings that come out of this population, because in this type of war you can never win, but can only lose.

There is no need to order the General Security Services to follow me and my comrades, dear mister Deputy Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra [who said that the "treacherous leftists" should be tracked down]: we are spelling our opinion out in the open, we are openly participating in demonstrations in the streets and at the roadblocks. And openly I tell you and [Education Minister] Limor Livnat and [Police Minister] Uzi Landau and [brand-new minister and Messianic racist] Ephraim Eitam, and all of you at the wheel, who are galloping us into the abyss: we are not united behind you, we are against you. It is not us who endanger the nation's security from within as it fights its external foes, but rather you, you are our greatest danger, you who have no other way to offer except this bloody route.

You, and Ariel Sharon who leads you, who has already led us deceitfully along this exact same way, exactly twenty years ago, and destroyed the world of tens of thousands of people—Israelis, Palestinians and Lebanese. Then, too, the soldiers were sent "to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure" in the cities and villages and refugee camps, the tanks crushed, the bulldozers ruined, curfews were imposed, "most wanted" people were arrested—and a solid infrastructure had been laid for a much larger and more murderous cycle of violence. Therefore, until we shall at last, after that one leader whose eyes were opened was murdered, see more sane, wise, brave and strong political leaders take their stand—until then we shall open our mouths and not shut them, each person in his or her place, and say harsh words and do harsh deeds.

Because a struggle is a struggle, and this one is for our very lives, for our very future, for our physical, moral and mental existence.

Translated from the Hebrew by Assaf Oron.

Ilana Hamerman is a translator and senior editor at Am Oved, the General Labor Union's publishing house.

From Haaretz daily, May 13, 2002.