If you’re beaten up, harassed, or verbally attacked for no reason, know that you’re in an area under Israeli colonial control. Indeed, one must find this irrational. Physics suggest that “to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction.” This could apply to most life cases too. When you’re in the Occupied Palestinian Territories or Israel, however, you obviously “provoke” a reaction by simply being Palestinian.
Just a few minutes ago, I came across an article on The Alternative Information Center (AIC) titled: “1000 Zionist tourists descend on Hebron, harass Palestinian residents.”
According to the article, the “tour” is part of an annual event to “celebrate the reading of the Torah portion detailing Abraham’s biblical purchase of Hebron land” and which will provide you with “the most unforgettable Jewish experience of a lifetime.”
Interestingly, the “tour” started at Hebron’s Shuhada Street, a once busy district of Palestinian markets Israel had closed and against closure of which Palestine solidarity activists in San Francisco disrupted a shopping district back in February 2010.
This allegedly “religious event” included harassing and intimidating a handful of Hebron residents and the arrest of two Palestinians and seven international activists. Israeli soldiers with machine guns strapped to their bodies patrolled the streets of Hebron forcing Palestinians to the sidelines seemingly to “protect” the “tourists” from any potential “terrorist attack.”
The article explains:
“In what In what was advertised by the Hebron Committee as “the most unforgettable Jewish experience of a lifetime,” throngs of young, mostly American males clapped and chanted ‘Am Yisrael Chai’ (‘The Nation of Israel lives’) and other nationalistic chants, while Palestinian residents were forced to the sidelines of their own streets and kept there by soldiers.”
Instead of being respectful to or at least mindful of the religious beauty of the city, tourists attacked Palestinian shops smashing commodities and terrorizing residents.
Mohammed Awawdeah who sells souvenirs in the old city is quoted in the article as saying the following:
“He came and broke my stuff,” Awawdeah says. “I told the police but they are not here for us, they are here for the settlers…I am not even angry for my stuff, I’m angry at the soldiers who let them do this.”
Surprisingly, young tourists held M16 rifles and intimidated international activists. One can only wonder what role rifles have to play in a “religious event.” From the article, I took the following:
One activist relates that “as we were walking, a group of young American Jewish boys got into an argument with us. They became threatening towards us, and one of them had an M16 around his waist. They told us they would break our camera, they told the nearby Palestinian shop owner they would burn down his shop, they told me I would be dead on the floor…”
Palestinians whether in Israel or the Occupied Territories are constantly treated as relative-humans never enjoying the “privileges” exclusively granted for Israeli Jews.
When deliberate intimidation, racial discrimination, and violations of human dignity are protected by a state that claims to be a democracy, Israel, massive campaigning and broad-range Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activities become the moral obligation of every individual and institution around the world.