“Tell me, are you OK with yourself?”

“How can you raise your weapon at your brother?” asks a new song which aims to challange Israel’s attempts to recruit Palestinian citizens of the state to its occupation army.

Titled “Tell me, are you OK with yourself?” (The Electronic Intifada’s translation), the track was released last week by Ehna TV, an independent Palestinian media group inside present-day Israel.

The video for the track, which can be viewed at the top of this page, shows scenes of singer Mira Azar, wearing a traditional embroidered shawl, in what appears to be a destroyed Palestinian village, as well as archive footage of Israeli violence.

Some of those scenes include slain Jerusalem teenager Muhammad Abu Khudair’s funeral and Israeli bombing in Gaza and its bloody aftermath, as well as Palestinians fearlessly confronting heavily armed Israeli soldiers.

“Tell me, have you seen the pictures? Tell me, have you heard the news,” the song asks, referring to the terrible atrocities carried out by the military in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“And still you want to serve?” the lyrics, written by Azar, implore.

Sectarianism

The track is the latest cultural intervention pushing back against Israel’s attempts to divide and rule Palestinian citizens by fomenting sectarianism.

Israel’s renewed effort to enlist young Palestinian Christian citizens into its army was the subject of Project X, a short film featuring Omar star Samer Bisharat released earlier this year.

The Electronic Intifada reported earlier this week on denunciations of Nazareth priest Jibril Nadaf’s claims at the United Nations that Israel is the only country in the region where Christians are “not persecuted.”

“He represents no one but himself. The army he wants us to join is the same one shedding the blood of our innocent brothers and sisters — Palestinian blood just like ours,” Yara Salameh, a young Palestinian from the Galilee, told The Electronic Intifada.

Israel has groomed a handful of clergy and members of the Christian community like Nadaf to promote military service among Christians. Recruitment papers have recently been sent to Palestinian Christian youths.

Campaigning

Except for numerically small groups such as the Druze, Palestinian citizens of Israel, who comprise approximately 20 percent of the state’s population, are not required to perform army service.

Yet many state benefits are tied to army service, including employment.

However, the recruitment efforts are being met with resistance by Palestinian students at Israeli universities and anti-enlistment campaigning by Palestinian civil society organizations.

Meanwhile, a growing number of Druze youths are refusing to serve in the army and the state is facing an organized campaign within the community against conscription.

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Of course, Palestinian citizens of Israel, oppressed by Zionism, do not want to serve their oppressors. And, like all citizens, their right to refuse military service must be recognized. But, is individual refusal the road to national liberation, i.e. the overthrow of the racist Zionist regime? What would happen if Palestinian citizens demanded, en masse: "We demand equality. We demand a democratic state. We demand arms and military training for all. We demand that the military training be supervised by community groups, popular committees, and labor unions". Zionist racism will not be defeated by the pacifism of the oppressed, but by a revolutionary policy, which includes mobilizing and arming the people for revolutionary mass action. In a highly militarized society, the demand to be unarmed is tantamount to accepting second-class citizen status, i.e. remaining the pathetic victims of oppression.

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Everyone can do National Service and claim full benefits. Those services can be within the arab community or humanitarian work such as hospitals. Young arabs prefer to not do those for either national reasons or just to save time and start academic education or a career earlier.

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well the Zionists are using the od tried d true method of divide and rule. Using Palestinian Christians dissatisfaction to turn them against their brothers and sisters. And as for the claim that Israel respects Christians ,well that is about garbage . The day before the POPE arrived in PALESTINE churches in Israel were vandalized by ZIONIST GANGS and to date no one ha been charged . And tell the PAETINIAN CHRITIANS who are persecuted by ZIONIST THUGS. just how free they are . More lies from the masters of lies and disinformation, the government of ZIONIST Israel .

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Of course Palestinians are objecting to giving their time and service to the very military that dehumanizes them. Since the Israeli military doesn't consider a Palestinian life to be worth as much as an Israeli one, what good would the enlistment of such inferiors as Palestinians be to them?
Hey Israel, stick to Israelis when it comes to recruiting and filling your "country's" army boots unless you decide to curb illegal occupation (kick the "settlers" out and put them back on the planes they invaded with and send them back to where they came from...IN THEIR OWN TIMES, NOT THEIR ANCESTORS...because if the point of this game is to be able to go back to where we are from, expect EVERY HUMAN ON EARTH to arrive to the M.E./cradle of civilization region!
Israeli abuse of Palestinians must stop!

Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is the managing editor of The Electronic Intifada and lives in Chicago.