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The violation of lives and human rights that has been going on for three-quarters of a century and does not find who wants to stop it is a real plague. There is a vaccine that nobody wants to use.
Day after day, the very few communication operators who still give news from Palestine report of an arrested child, a wounded boy, an elderly man beaten, one, two, or three destroyed houses. But it makes no difference. They report of people, especially young people, arrested without real charges. Just as during fascism, those who were simply annoying to the regime were arrested. They report of murdered Palestinians, of illegally confiscated lands, of violence committed by Jewish settlers to whom Israel has conferred citizenship, calling them Israelis even if they do not live in Israel and, periodically, of bombings of the Gaza Strip. They report of shot fishermen and boats confiscated by Israeli patrol boats that besiege Palestinians from the sea.
But we only know this from very few free media outlets, while none of this makes headlines in the mainstream media. It is routine.
Finding out that a sixteen-year-old who opposed the confiscation of his precious generator is dying thanks to the easy trigger of a soldier of the Jewish state is only possible because we are told this by a news agency in the Near East that does not submit to the diktat of silence.
The news spread thanks to a free but “niche” newspaper and to the much-maligned social media that revive it. Among the many negatives, this is the positive aspect of social networks: they manage to crack the wall of silence or of domesticated information represented by the main mass media.
By the same means, news spread of one of the many arbitrary arrests of a young resident of At Twani, a village south of Hebron. I use the Jewish name because it is the best known but actually Hebron, a Palestinian city south of the Bank, is called Al Khalil. The name in both languages has the same meaning and refers to Abraham, “the beloved, the dear” to God.
I want to dwell on this news, knowing that the others are no less serious, not only because I know the arrested boy and his family, but because I know enough about the situation in the village of At Twani and the area where he is located.
What happens in those hills has been told repeatedly by various activists. But those who have not been there in person, perhaps even stopping there for a couple of days, can hardly imagine what happens in that area every day. And what is happening is one of the most striking demonstrations of Israeli lawlessness represented by the most “fascist” (let me use the term in its broad sense) among the outlawed settlers that Israel uses to facilitate the annexation of large areas of the West Bank.
Sami Hureini, the arrested boy, is the son of Hafez Hureini, the representative of the nonviolent resistance of At Twani. A mission called “Operation Dove” has also been operating there for many years, with international boys and girls extraordinarily prepared for everything, both from a psychological and from a cultural, practical and operational point of view. Essentially, the international operators of Operation Dove have the task of coming between the violence of the settlers and trying to reduce it by monitoring the situation, denouncing the crimes, making reports that are then published and practicing physical interposition.
Reporting that the children of the small villages in the area in order to get to school unscathed must be escorted to protect themselves from stones, whips and kicks, and punches of the settlers seem impossible to those who only know the pro-Israeli vulgate transmitted on TV and by many journalists who worship Israel, or complacent or, at best, tolerant of its many crimes.
Reporting about the shepherds who are beaten and their goats running away or killed, not by four bullies but by a few hundred thugs protected by the kippah, seems equally incredible to those who are unaware of these cruelties aimed at making life impossible for Palestinians and to force them to leave their land. I am talking about everyday actions in which mortification, theft, damage, constant beating and destruction prevent a normal life.
It is the practice of the democratic state of Israel.
So, knowing what happens every day there, and the type of response given by non-violent resistance (despite the violence suffered daily) can help to better understand what the arrest of Sami Hureini means and why it is necessary to have the courage to say that Israel is a rogue state that must be led, into the field of international law for its own security,
Though still insufficient, an increasing number of young Israeli girls and boys who refuse military service are also beginning to understand this. Theirs is not a silent objection but a refusal with an explicit declaration of not wanting to serve the occupation and therefore not to become direct oppressors of the Palestinian people. This is a great sign, but in the meantime, the army that recognizes itself in Israeli politics continues its actions. This includes the night arrest – because there is also a “choreography” of the arrests and the night means more terror for the whole family of Sami Hureini, the twenty-three-year-old student-pastor, guilty of organizing a nonviolent protest in response to the wounding of Harun, the sixteen-year-old who tried to prevent the confiscation of his family’s generator set and who is now dying because the Israeli soldier shot him in the neck.
For a family that cannot have a tent or a house because Israel prevents it and that therefore lives in an underground cave, a generator means having electricity so as not to die of the cold. But this, of course, for those who do not know the situation could be difficult to understand.
The soldiers had warned him that he would have paid for that demonstration, but Sami has in his house the giant photo of his grandmother defending herself from a heavily armed soldier by threateningly waving a shoe. He has in his native village examples of “sumud” – a hardly translatable term that means at the same time resistance, resolve, unshakeable attachment to an idea. He is also the co-founder of the Youth of Sumud association. And, finally, he is the son of Hafez, the recognized leader of the popular resistance committee of the area south of Hebron. Therefore the threat of arrest would certainly not have made him desist, so much more in that it would not have been the first experience since three years ago he met the Israeli prison.
Two nights ago, a good number of military vehicles invaded At Twani and Sami was arrested. Guilty of what? Guilty of opposing the violence of the occupation with nonviolent practices.
It is not a crime, but it is not a crime where the rule of law is in force and not under the heel of the military occupation of a rogue state which is nevertheless defined as democratic.
Yes, life in the occupied Palestinian territories is not easy. But in some areas, it is particularly difficult and this is where that particular form of resilient tenacity occurs to the point that the Youth of Sumud group, together with other organizations, including the Center for Jewish nonviolence, managed to reclaim Sarura, one of the villages arbitrarily evacuated by the occupier and to recreate a space, called Freedom Camp, by building houses carved into the rock.
An underground village where the principle of nonviolence is in force and where the dream of a future based on freedom and justice as founding elements of a just peace grows.
But Israel is a little disturbed by this resistant creativity. And, the settlers who surround the area, knowing that they are doing what pleases their country of reference, often organize violent expeditions with the illusion of overcoming the Palestinian “sumud” by force.
So far they have not made it and the Palestinians are sure they will never make it.
Sami will have the trial in a few days, as Israel has said. However it goes, it will be a sham trial because he is the son of an arbitrary arrest.
Perhaps there will not be a single mainstream information organ to give the news, but the beauty of the web is right here: the online newspapers in the first instance and the social media as a relaunch will broadcast what otherwise would end up being swallowed up by the darkness or would fall into the phony Israeli narrative, providing another alibi to national and international institutions not to take sanctions against Israeli crimes. That is, not to use that vaccine that could defeat the plague.
Translation by Ilaria Cuppone, from the voluntary Pressenza translation team. We are looking for volunteers!