Below is an email from an Israeli relative who I know since she was a child. Several decades ago I walked her to kindergarten and that established a life long relationship. She sent me this email because she can’t communicate with family and friends around her. This is what she wrote:
I teach creative thinking for students of visual communication.
Last month we were doing a project on prejudice. We discussed this phenomenon, and how prejudice can be deconstructed.
Deconstruction of prejudice is done by breaking the subject into details and facts. In order to deconstruct prejudice, the stories we tell ourselves are put aside, and we take a careful look at WHAT IS. This is not an easy task, since our brains are programmed to continue creating prejudice thoughts on and on. It’s a needed energy saving mechanism. Sometimes, it is a dangerous one, as it is responsible for all acts of racism in our world.
There is prejudice between Israelis and Palestinians.
For Israelis, all Palestinians are terrorists. For Palestinians, all Israelis are brutal soldiers.
Israelis seem to know all the facts about their pain, but very little when it comes to their opponent’s.
I am not savvy of all the facts regarding outcomes from each and every war since the birth of Israel. I am not savvy of all the talks held between this side or the other or a third and fourth and fifth party.
I am savvy of what I see now, from my humble point of view. I do not have the chance to see much, since the Israeli government does a good job of hiding and blurring my vision. However, I do drive on route no. 6. I see the big wall standing erect, only its highest part visible. The rest is decorated by grass and trees or bushes. The road is wide and beautiful.
On the other side, I know from photos, and from my own eyes which have been to Bili’n, an Arab village on the other side of the wall, stands a very big gray wall, with rubble, construction garbage, barbed wire, electric fences and cameras.
I know a vast amount of checkpoints run through the territories of Yehuda and Shomron, monitoring Palestinian movement. Every Palestinian man is ordered to lift his shirt to show his bare skin to soldiers standing above him with rifles in their hands. Sometimes Palestinian women have no other choice but to give birth at these checkpoints. Sometimes very sick people who need medical care die, because they could not cross the checkpoint in time to get help. I know the Palestinian people of Yehuda and Shomron do not have freedom of movement.
I know Israeli reporters are not allowed into the Gaza strip for the past 2 years. I know Israeli army forces control air, sea and ground passages to and from Gaza, since they have evacuated settlements from there. I know Israeli government controls water and electricity supply to Palestinians in all territories.
I know Israeli army is very strong, has technologically advanced weapons, tons of explosive bombs of all sorts, airplanes, tanks, and atomic bombs. I know Palestinians have Skuds, Grads, guns, knives, and other homemade explosives.
I know the simple mathematics of the casualties of this last “war”. The ratio is beyond comparison.
I know most Palestinians can speak Hebrew. I know most Israelis know no more than 2 words in Arabic.
I know Israelis are privileged people, and Palestinians are an oppressed people.
I know 99.9% of Israelis would never switch places with the Palestinians.
I know the Palestinian people are living under occupation. I know Israel is the occupying force.
I know the younger generation of Israelis does not even know what the word Occupation means, in this context.
I know these two sides are not equal in their power to live.
The ordinary people, not their governments or rulers, manifest the true story.
These facts are enough to break my heart, thwart my stomach and make me cry out for justice.
If this is not enough, as little as a monthly dose of B’tselem human rights reports just might do the job.
And if that is not enough, than I will raise a white flag and I will put tape on my mouth.