Last night I attended a talk by Gal Lugassi, seen below, a young Israeli who spoke of her participation in anti-wall protests in the occupied territories.
Why does she do it? Anyone can see that the Palestinians are being oppressed but Gal participates because she knows that as an Israeli Jew she will not suffer the dire consequences that the Palestinians do if they are held by the IDF. While Gal might be detained for a few hours and interviewed after demonstrating, Palestinians can be put in prison without a hearing and for an indefinite period of time. In other words, Gal understands how apartheid works from real experience and uses her knowledge to help those who are suffering. She is also aware that while she lives in comfort, they continue to know the daily losses and deprivations that have been ongoing for decades.
I ask you - how can we Americans stand by in the face of this courage and support the very government in Israel that is causing the suffering?
Gal showed part of a gripping video of Palestinians losing their olive trees to make room for the separation wall. I hope to discover it online so I can present it to you.
She told of the mass of indifference in Israel and repeatedly told us that she thought 95% of Israelis don't care what happens to the Palestinians, viewing them as sub-human. The behavior of the IDF that I have seen would bear this attitude out.
She said that she and her fellow activist Israelis never go to a demonstration unless they are asked to do so by the Palestinians, again for the reason that it is the Palestinians who suffer the consequences so it is for them to decide what to do and what it is that they want to see in the future as a result of the protests.
Gal is a passionate advocate for justice. I know from the Vietnam War days that there is a tremendous inertia that will prevent activism by the public but without those like Gal to put their beliefs on the line, injustice continues indefinitely. It takes courage to do something when there are no great number of people acting with you. It's often lonely work but while not in the least humorous, the saying is true - someone has to do it. How about you?
Gal is a member of the group Anarchists Against the Wall. Click on "Videos" in the right-hand column of their website for some very revealing views of the protests.
Another member of Anarchists Against the Wall, Joseph Dana, presents a video talk about the history and methods of peaceful demonstrations by Palestinians and their supporters since the Second Intifada, mentioning the techniques used to counter the demonstrators by the IDF.