Another Israeli, in this case an older and previously rather naive gentleman, has experienced first hand the violence of the settlers and writes about it. Now he knows how the Palestinians FEEL and how they are treated. It is no longer, for him, merely an exercise in stretching his imagination. His surprise at his treatment by these settler thugs is proof that, in truth, he had no concept of the depth of hatred that rules the land of Occupied Palestine.
Israel is committing suicide with its actions and if the choice is between Israel as it is now or no Israel, I’d rather there be no Israel. The people of the world are crying for peace and, until Israel is muzzled and leashed, peace will never happen.
By Richard Silverstein
October 25, 2011
Last Friday, we arrived at the Palestinian village of Jalud to participate in an olive harvest with a group of Palestinian farmers from the village. Joining us were a group of international peace activists and members of a Palestinian agricultural cooperative from the Hebron area. We climbed a hill in order to begin with the harvest.No more than five minutes passed from the time of our arrival, when four or five masked Jewish settlers arrived on the scene, accompanied by an armed security guard in civilian clothes. Except for the guard, they all covered their faces with white cloths ~ except one who covered his face with a black cloth. Seeing the direction that they came from, I assumed that they came from the illegal Jewish outpost of Esh Kodesh (“Holy fire”).Upon their arrival, I immediately started filming them. They started arguing with the Palestinian farmers and shouted:“Get out of here! This is our land!”, “You haven’t been here for 10 years, haven’t farmed the lands, now they belong to us”.A shouting match developed, but at that point it did not become anything more than that.Then suddenly I saw the armed guard and one of the masked men approaching me. I heard a sudden, loud explosion and I realized that one of them threw a shock grenade to where the people were harvesting. Immediately after the explosion I heard a round of shooting.At this point three or four of the masked men approached me quickly. I was convinced that when they would realize I was an older man and that if I would identify myself as Israeli, nothing would happen.When they approached me, they initially thought I was Arab and told me: “Jib al-hawiya” (“Give your I.D”).I tried to tell them: “Calm down, guys, I’m Israeli, no need for violence.”At this point the man with the black cloth pulled my camera and tried to take it. I argued with him:“Aren’t you ashamed? Why do you act violently? I’m old enough to be your father!” As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I felt a blow to my head, followed by the feeling of blood gushing out of the wound. I fell to the ground and they continued to beat me with clubs. I yelled at the top of my voice: “Help! Someone stop this!”, but no one heard me.On the way I met A. and M., who was also covered in blood, and I realized that she had been beaten by the masked men at the beginning, right after the shock grenade exploded. After we met, we started walking down the hill, towards the village, while tear gas grenades were falling all around us, shot from a military jeep which was parked under the hill. I believe a second jeep was firing at us from the left side of the hill;The masked men managed to grab the still camera from my hand, and took my backpack which had the video camera, cassettes and my glasses in it. When I tried to fight back to take my camera, I was again beaten, this time on my wrist. At this point they ran away with my belongings, while I was left bleeding and beaten, but with full consciousness and completely aware of my situation and of what had just happened.The truth is that at this point the actual beatings didn’t hurt as badly, and I was more worried about the amount of bleeding. In addition, I was completely in shock, and was in disbelief that this had just happened to me.Somehow, between the falling grenades, we managed to get of the hill and we stopped about 50 meters from the military jeep. A…kept yelling at the IDF soldiers to stop firing at us and that people were wounded ~ but they just kept firing.When we arrived at the edge of the field, close to the road which leads to the village, the second military jeep approached. It was a border police jeep with the word “Police” on it, and it stopped about 20 meters from us.E’ or A’ yelled: “Come help us, there are wounded people here!”A soldier emerged from the jeep, I was sure he was coming to help us. But instead, he walked to the back of the jeep, extracted a tear gas grenade and shot it at us. The grenade fell about five meters from us, but the wind was blowing in the other direction and the Palestinians told us to stay where we were and let the gas blow in the other direction. At this point I was continuing to bleed from the wound in my head and one of the Palestinians tied his kaffiyah (head cloth) around my head in order to stop the bleeding. M’, who was standing next to us, was also bleeding profusely.When we arrived at the Tapuach junction, we waited for some time before the military ambulance arrived. An Israeli police car arrived with it and the policeman started to ask questions about what happened.The military paramedic tried to speed up the questioning, so the policeman came on to the ambulance with us in order to continue with the questioning until we arrived to the Ariel junction.The policeman, accompanied by an officer, followed us in a car to the Ariel junction and informed us that an investigator had already been sent to the area of Esh Kodesh to investigate. One of the policemen said that after we receive medical treatment, they will contact us to continue collecting our testimonies. From there we were evacuated to Belinson hospital in the Madah ambulance.
There may be those who seek to distinguish between the mass of Israelis who do not support such brutalism and the radical settlers. But I think this is increasingly becoming a meaningless distinction.In a society infected by evil, when the majority ignores it and even colludes with it, all are guilty.