Sunday April 17 : Tel Aviv

Monday 12 March 2012
popularity : 7%

Today is Taayoush’s last day on this side of the planet. We left the Youth Hostel after breakfast : we are now going to visit the Haganah museum, a « must » according to Tanguy. The Haganah, he told us, is a Jewish militia that fought against the British occupation before the independence of Israeli. It then gave birth to Tsahal, the Israeli army.

We have got to go through part of the city centre of Tel Aviv before gettingto the museum. We cross Carmel Market. The atmosphere in the covered passage is typically oriental. The buyers make their way between the rows of vegetable, spice, clothes, kitchenware and jewels stalls in an indescribable hubbub. It looks and sounds just like an Arabic souk and could easily be mistaken for one, except that everything here is written in Hebrew.

When we leave the market, we take streets whose buildings are in the purest Bauhaus style, « an architecture that is close to modernism and that puts the emphasis on egalitarianism », our Lonely Planet guide read. “It is characterized by a high sobriety that is symbolized by the dazzingly white colour of the buildings. Tel Aviv was nicknamed « The white city » in the 30s and 40s. The UNESCO has listed this part of the city among the world heritage sites.” As for us, we think that the name « the grey city » would fit better : despite the ongoing repairing work on a number of buildings, this part of the town looks grey and dilapidated. There is an obvious lack of means to launch a vast programme of restoration. Israel is not poor though. We can’t help thinking that it is a real pity (to say the least) they choose to rather invest on the wall and the army… We arrive at our destination by a wide street in the middle of which there is a promenade lined with huge ficus trees: a bit of quietness finally! Tel Aviv is a really noisy place.

We can miss the entrance of the museum as dozens of young militaries have gathered in front of it. Tanguy warned us: the Haganah museum traces the different stages of the armed fight that made the creation of Israel a reality. Visiting it and Yad Vashem memorial is an integral part of the young soldiers’« intellectual » training. [1]

At the reception desk, a young woman tells there is a problem since today the museum is for the soldiers only. As we say to her that we are taking the plane back home tonight, she finally lets us in. However, we won’t be able to watch the main film, which is shown at regular intervals in the small amphitheatre: militaries first. We are disappointed of course, all the more as the little information Tanguy gave us about it (it is a real propaganda film dedicated to the glory of the Israeli army, ending on an invitation to join in) piqued our curiosity. But we can go around the different rooms just as we please, between the groups of soldiers. Brief surrealistic moment : the young lady asks us to leave our weapons in the hall before we start the visit… Civilian visitors are obviously not commonplace here.

The museum itself is set in a new building that rises at the back of Eliahu Golomb’s former house. Golomb was born in White Russia in 1893. He came to Eretz-Israel in 1909. In 1920, he founded the Haganah organisation to replace the Hashomer which he was a member of [2]. In the years prior to statehood, he devoted his life to fostering a Hebrew defence force that was later to become today’s Israeli army. Golomb’s house served in fact as Central headquarters of the Haganah. It was given to the Ministry of Defense after his death in 1945.

The visit begins in two rooms that were part of the apartment Golomb lived in and operated from. That’s where decisions were made and from there that the men of the Haganah emerged on their way to carry out their missions: purchase and conceal weapons, disembark illegal Jewish immigrants in Palestine, etc. While we are waiting for our turn to enter the rooms, we have plenty of the time to watch other groups of soldiers standing, sitting or walking around us. They are about our age – 18 to 20- and behave exactly the way we do when we are on a school visit: everything is OK as long as we don’t have class. Except that they are wearing a military uniform and carrying a truncheon.

Except that, a few steps away from us, they have piled their machine guns, fitting each one into the other so as to build perfectly triangular towers… They don’t speak to us nor even look at us. They have taken up the whole space: they are at home in this place and make you be well aware of it. Unfortunately, the visit is going to confirm them in their feeling of superiority, Tanguy comments.

Alright, the way is free now. We step into the apartment of the founder of the Israeli pre-army. Yet, without a guide or explanations, we don’t notice anything remarquable in it: a table, books, maps… Of course we are no Zionist Jews and consequently can’t feel admiration for this man and his work. We leave the two rooms to climb up the stairs to the museum, following the organised itinerary. First stage: the display opens with the beginning of the Settlement and Defense Movement. In the showcases, there are pictures, written documents and weapons that belonged to the Second Aliya pioneers [3]. Then, the notice boards tells us about the Jewish Brigades during World War I, their volunteering to the British army and their part in liberating Eretz-Israel from the Turkish yoke.

We can’t help feeling a bit uncomfortable, surrounded as we are by so many kaki uniforms. Some of the militaries throw quick interrogative glances at our little group, others speak and laugh together while their officers are not looking. Apart from that, the visit is going on normally. Audio-visual shows and wax life-size characters illustrate the display.

On the second floor, we find ourselves in the middle of the twenties and thirties, i.e. the years of the organisation and establishment of the Haganah – procurement of arms, preparation of the Jewish population for defense, expansion of the settlements – in other words the years of the progressive colonisation of the Palestinian territory. Then came the time of the clash with the British : following the publication of the « White Paper » (1939) [4], the struggle against the British power began. It was temporarily dropped during World War II but resumed at the end of it.

Diorama, audio-visual shows, a life-size reconstructed post of the Palmach [5]. In the showcases, there are objects illustrating the tricks the Jewish fighters used to transfer and conceal weapons (for example, a book whose pages were cut into the exact form of a revolver and served as an arm cache). The display ends with the 1947 War of Independence and the creation of the Israeli army, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), or Tsahal, in 1948, which our friends in Al-Arroub have renamed the IOF: the Israeli Occupation Force.

As far as form is concerned, we have to admit that the museography lies on an attractive multimedia presentation: videos, sound recordings, clear and didactic notice boards. The visitors follow the peregrinations of a fictitious character, Yitsik, who escaped from a ghetto in Central Europe to join Palestine where he became a war hero. What we will remember is above all the important part the Haganah played in the transportation of the survivors from the nazi judeocide to Palestine. In this context, the episode of the Exodus is essential. We have also learnt that Belgium was a hub for the supply of arms.

As for the content of the display... To tell the truth, everything around us has made us think more of an arsenal than of a museum and, as Tanguy told us, the message this museum conveyed is quite close to propaganda being subtly disclosed. Tracing the glorious past of Tsahal enables to justify the 1948 independence and, consequently, the treatment inflicted to the Palestinians. The museum doesn’t mention the massacres perpetrated against the Arab populations. Nor does it tell about the destruction of the Palestinian villages…

After so much culture, it is time to answer the call of our hungry stomachs. We leave the barracks-like atmosphere of the museum and of its immediate surroundings. We pass through the soldiers troops. They have gathered in the sunshine, are taking souvenir-pictures of each other, alone or in agroup, and sound rallying cries, the kind you hear boyscouts at jamborees. The army, rite of passage to adulthood...

Tanguy suggests we went down to the Café Tamar where we canld have some bagels. We cross the district of the posh boutiques and get to the said place, which is run by Sarah Stern. The lady is an institution in Tel Aviv: she was already there during the British mandate, serving food and drinks in the Formica decor of her café, in the middle of her collection of the charicatures famous (or unknown) people drew for her. Hearty meal, after which we walk down on the beach in order to enjoy the great weather. The most courageous of us have a swim, the others a lazy siesta on the warm sand. We then go and buy some pidés (kinds of mini-pizzas) for tonight’s dinner, then head to the youth hostels to pack up.

Time is suddenly running: Tanguy, Sébastien, Laurie, Anne-Claire and JF are meeting Ronnie, the activist of the Anarchistes contre le Mur we came across in Jaffa yesterday. Everybody settles down on the terrasse of a rather posh restaurant overlooking the sea. Pang of sadness, like each time we realizedthe huge and unjustifiable unbalance there is between us and “the ones confined behind the wall”: none of our friends from the West Bank would ever be allowed or even able to come up to here, to sit down on this terrasse and have a drink while watching the birds flying over the sea or talking to his friends - feeling free, secure - here by right…

Ronnie tells us he lives in Tel-Aviv, is aged 34. He is wearing a three-day old beard and has an open smiling face. He is not that big but looks muscular. He seems to feel good about himself, relax, welcoming. He doesn’t know exactly how to continue yesterday’s conversation, where to begin, or what with. We suggest he started by the beginning: introducing himself and telling us how he came to become an activist, an “Anarchist against the Wall”. What would he, as an Israeli, tell us about the situation ?

“Let’s say I’m a bourgeois-anarchist, a vegan, a feminist, a gay-friendly anti-capitalist. I come from an a-political family, in which we rarely discussed any particular topics together.” He makes a big smile then goes on more seriously: “According to scholars, the situation in Palestine is clear as far as human rights are concerned. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the simplest: there are occupiers and there are occupied people…”

He tells us then about the so well-oiled brainwashing mechanism that is on in the Israeli society and its education system. It starts from kindergarten, which he went through, like all the Israeli kids: he mentions the repeated lessons about the justified creation of Israel, about the right of the Jewish people to be on this land and to resort to certain means to get back this land, “which has been theirs for more than 2000 years”. But, he adds, his family was OK. He never heard such speeches at home.

“After my studies, I went to the army to do my military service. We all have to. At this time, I was becoming a vegan: I had stopped eating meat. Indeed I didn’t like the idea of having to kill animals to get fed. In parallel, I realized that, if I wanted to be able to live in accordance to and be loyal to the universal values I believed in, I had to leave the army. Of course this meant I would be considered either as a traitor or as a parasite, but I was sure I was neither of these… “ As we tell him it requires some courage to go against the main stream, he comments simply : “In fact, once you have overcome all the psychological aspects, once it is clear in your head, all the rest is only technical… For me becoming a vegan and developing a conscience goes together…”

Tanguy smiles. What Ronnie says is music to his ears! He shares his credo 100%. He asks him what consequences his decision has had on his everyday life : “When people heard I had stopped going to the army after two months’ service, they asked me : ‘Why do you want to live here if you are not ready to give some time of your life to your country?’... You must be aware that talking about human rights in Israel is like cursing. In many people’s mind, if you are not for the Jews, it means you are against them…”

According to Ronnie, the legal system in Israel is for that matter more prone than before to treat the Israeli Jews who criticize the Jewish character of the state or its army the same way it treats the non-Jews. “For me, Israel is sinking more and more deeply in its paranoia and the exclusion of the others. This society is ill. It suffers from an ethno-nationalism that is dangerous for everyone. This is nothing new: there were already many fascist elements in 1967, or probably even before. Israel is ethnocratic. The Israelli nationality is only granted to Jewish people. In fact, being a Jew in Israel has little to do with being religious. Most Israelis are in fact secular. Being a Jew has more to do with ethnic racism…”

As we ask him if he knows that one of the psychological explanations given to such “anti” behaviours as his is “self-hatred”, he smiles, shrugsd his shoulders. He has heard more.

“The regime today in Israel is nothing less than fascist and racist. Its modus operandi consists in proposing grossly racist laws, which generally stirs some reactions among Israeli population. The government pretends then to make the laws milder. As a result, the people generally think they have “won” something and accept them though they are still discriminatory and unfair. An example of such laws is the law on the "Admission Committees". Not only that: there are also boycott laws against people like me…”

Ronnie à propos du racisme
IMG/mp3/DI_17_-_Ronnie_et_le_racisme_-_R09_0064.mp3

We tell him about Mary, the Israeli activist we met in the AIC premices in Jerusalem. She indeed told us about the real infringment of democracy the bills that were discussed at the 18th Knesset (the Israeli parliament) [6] are. We ask him the same question we asked her : does he feel personally targeted by the Israeli government? “Targeted, yes. It is not a feeling, it is a fact. But”, he adds immediately, “there is no comparison between what Jewish Israeli militants can be subjected to [7] and what the Palestinian civilians, or the Palestinian Israeli organisors or militants can suffer. [8] But it is true that it is more and more difficult for us to act because the Zionist government has us look like we are acting against the Jews.” [9]

He goes on speaking : “Occupation officially started in 1948. The problem of the Zionist conflict is that it aims not only at ethnical segregation but at a real ethnic cleansing. It is not history: this cleansing is still happening now. Let’s take the example of Jaffa. Before 1948 it was a successful port, there were orange-trees everywhere. There were 180,000 inhabitants and about 80,000 visitors came every year. It was a really thriving city with its cinemas, hospital, train line up to Syria, concerts by Oum Kaltoum… But then the inhabitants had to flee in front of the bombs: only 34,000 stayed. All the others fled to Gaza and started living in refugee camps. The story of the people of Gaza is really tragic. 70% of them are refugees… As for those who are still in Jaffa, the judaisation of the town is still going on: rich settlers come and Palestinians are evacuated, deprived of their belongings… [10]. In the same way: there are problems of drugs and crimes in Jaffa. The Israeli police know about it but don’t do anything on purpose: the aim is that the Palestinian people become discouraged and leave the place.”

Ronnie heaves a sigh, his eyes lost in his glass of beer: “Yes, there is a real segregation. Apartheid. Resources are stolen... As it is the case with the Bedouins too, in the Neguev Desert, or in the Jordan valley.”

Anne-Claire, JF and Tanguy tell Ronnie that, thanks to their friend Daoud, they had the opportunity to travel over part of “Palestine of 1948” and that, indeed, they could witness traces of this organised theft of the ressources all along Motorway 90 in the Jordan Valley: on the one side of the road, they could see Palestinian communities living in poverty and destitution while, on the other side of it, the electrical fence protected the settlements, their secured farms and the intensive cultures.

“The Jordan valley represents about one third of the West bank. It is almost completely in the hands of the settlers and of the Israeli army. There were there about 250.000 Palestinians in 1967. There are only 55.000 left, as they were pushed to exile by interdictions of all kinds: they are not allowed to build houses, schools nor hospitals. They are not allowed to build basins to collect the rain water or wells or even to do the necessary work to maintain them...”

Could he tell us a bit more about the Bedouins of the Neguev? “These people have lived for several centuries in the Al-Naqab desert, where they progressively settled. After the creation of the State of Israel, Al naqab became the Neguev... and the Bedouins woke up Israeli. They suffered constant and systematic harassment on the part of the Israeli authorities, which lustered for their lands: their houses were demolished, their lands illegally confiscated, there were arbitrary arrests, forced displacements under various administrative pretexts. The Bedouins were then brought together to seven “Rekuzim”, which are no more than slums, piling up of concrete cubes in arid zones. Those who refused this now live in villages that are ‘not recognized’. There are 45 unrecognized Bedouin villages: they were simply ‘forgotten’ on the lists, so today, they are considered as illegal by the Israeli government, who regularly has them demolished. One of them has been destroyed 23 times in the past 15 years… When they are not demolished, public services allow them to fall into decay: they have no electricity, no water, no schools nor any health service, no address to which to send the mail.” [11]

“We, activists, fight for the rights of the Palestinian people and more especially, for the end of the occupation that started in 1967. Second, we fight for the refugees’ and internally displaced people’s right to return to their villages. This, indeed, was never acknowledged by Israel, whereas the Israeli government grants the right of return (‘to their promised land’) to the Jews all over the world. How this is to be put into practice or can be put into practice is another question. Finally, we are fighting for the rights of the Palestinians who never fled and find themselves now living “in Israel”, i.e. 20% of the Israeli population that are considered as second-rate citizens and the victims of an increasing number of explicitely racists laws, or laws that are racist in practice, for example: state lands can’t be and are never sold to non-Jews [12]. These 20% are really considered as the enemy, the fifth wheel, a demographic demon. The General Security Service is clear about them: they said in Court that one of their roles was to maintain the Jewish character of the State, which goes against Israel’s claim to be a democracy.”

All of a sudden, a woman comes close to our table. She puts a folded sheet of paper on the table in front of Ronnie. He unfolds it and finds (written in English) a piece of advice for some good reading that is supposed to put our Israeli friend straight. Anonymous message. We have a look around, but the messenger has vanished. People around us are having a drink, smoking and speaking together, free and easy. Yet, it seems that walls have ears indeed... Ronnie has a clear voice that carries. His talk must have irritated this young “courageous” woman. He shrugs his shoulders, puts the note in his pocket. “Everybody has the right to express their opinion...” We ask him what he has to say about democracy in Israel. He has another large smile: “Israel is said to be Jewish AND democratic. If it is democratic, it is so only for the Jews. And Jewish indeed it is, which means against the Arabs. Be they Christians or Muslims... I personally want to stop Israel from being inherently ethnically racist. I want to help Israel to be democratic. But I think there is little hope for the future, except with the help of international citizens…” [13]

Ronnie à propos du boycott
IMG/mp3/DI_17_-_Ronnie_et_le_boycott_-_R09_0065.mp3

And, finally, what about his T-shirt? “I’m personally acting as an activist against the Wall. The "Anarchists against the Wall" is an organisation that leads an international non-violent struggle for the rights of the Palestinien people. It is a member of the Israeli branch of BDS (Boycott, Disinvestment, Sanction). Both organizations demand that the human rights should be respected. I’m also active helping young people decide if they want to go to the army or not.”

How did he manage not to do his military service ? Are not all Israelis obliged to do it ? How did he manage not to be sent to prison? Ronnie smiles again and answers laconically:“ I am a priviledged Jew: I belong to the upper class.”

Then he goes on : “I got involved in demonstrations. In 2002, I went demonstrating against the wall that stifles the villages of Budrus. There was a great film made about what happens in this place: that’s where a joined struggle started, Israelis, Palestinians and Internationals together against the wall.” [14]

“The Zionists try to impose their values on the local people. Ilan Pappe (one of the “new Israeli historians”) says about them that “they are racist people with good intentions”… We, anarchists on the contrary claim that we have come out of solidarity, that we are equal parts. You know the village Bil’in ? I can tell you, it is my second home… Now, what is important is to remember that this struggle is a Palestinian struggle.”

“I’m also part of another group called “New Profile, a feminist movement that works at educating and civilizing society, promoting civilian values, making this soldier society be a civilian society again… But the Israeli society is really apathetic. People either don’t know what is really going or don’t want to know…”

We could go on listening to Ronnie for hours. We still haved thousands of questions to ask him. The opportunity is too good: during their 2009 trip, the first Taayoush group were quite frustrated not to have been able to meet Israelis that were "different", people who, like us, are rebuked by the situation to the point of refusing to behave like the three blind, deaf and mute little monkeys… Unfortunately, time has flied in his company; we have to leave him and join the rest of the group at the Youth Hostel, and say goodbye. Indeed, the group is getting apart now: the younger ones are flying back to Belgium while the adults are going on to Jordan. We thank Ronnie from the bottom of our heart, say to him that we will tell our friends in Jerusalem and in Al-Arroub refugee camp about him, so they know that not all the Israelis have abandoned them. He smiles again (Ronnie, is a walking smile !) and gives us the addresses of sites where we can find information about the ongoing fights for more justice [15]. We tell him how much good it has done to us to meet him and to hear “live” that there are people who are working at changing things from the inside. If the situation is still quite far from acceptable for the Palestinians, it seems that the time when people thought they were all “terrorists who deserved their lot” is (almost) over. More and more people are becoming aware of the fact that there is “something rotten in the kingdom of Israel”, become indignant about it and are marching for more justice in this country. [16]

***

We run up back to the Youth hostel. Everybody charges their bag on their back and Yallah! Let’s go! Anne-Claire, Tanguy and JF bring the younger ones to Tel Aviv station (except for Caroline who is staying for a week with her family in the north of Israel and for Natalia who left to Belgium two days ago). From there, the train will take them directly to the airport.

Once at the airport, Margot and Marie-Gaëlle take the reins. At the security control, they speak in the name of the rest of the group, pretending they are the only ones to speak and understand English – the best way to avoid Laurie, Sébastien and Paul giving diverging information by mistake or out of distraction. They introduce everybody as part of a student group who came to celebrate Easter for two weeks in Jerusalem and briefly visited Bethlehem. Margot will tell us afterwards how much it disgusted her to tell that to the Istaelis. Because, she says, if she chose to take part in this project rather than in the official school trip, it is also to do something else than paint the town in red precisely. But, OK, if she has to play to game to avoid having trouble at the constrol, she will…

A moment of stress for Sébastien (again, just like at Bethlehem checkpoint!) who is bringing back Israeli and Palestinian cola cans for his father, who collects them: the metal detector alarm sounds and one of the security guards orders him to follow her to a table where she asks him to open his bag and questions him about the cans. Sébastien has some trouble convincing the lady. Margot, on the other hand, goes through the security check without anybody asking her anything or searching her bag and without the metal detector being triggered: that’s the difference between having red or black hair, apartheid is everywhere all the time, she says half-jokingly.

The plane takes off and carried away five young people whom the travel has changed, some of them more than the others. Marie-Gaëlle has decided she will take part in one of the summer camps Daoud organises for the children of East-Jerusalem. Once her studies are over, she will come back to Palestine to shoot documentary films about its inhabitants.

It is now obvious for Margot that most of the western media are no reliable source of information. She is aware of how huge a job there is to do to inform the people correctly. She is coming back from Palestine with a strong desire to tell her friends how important it is to open one’s eyes and one’s heart. Next year at university, she wants to study History and to put it at the service of more justice for everybody in the future.

Caroline is going to study medicine and in parallel she is determined to testify as much as she can, so the people around her get involved.

Sébastien never says much but he seems to have taken the full measure of the unfairness of the fate reserved to the Palestinians. Laurie progressively has dropped the armour of distrust with which she joined the project. The fact she didn’t know English went for a while against her of course: as she always had to resort to translations by Anne-Claire or Tanguy, she couldn’t help feeling that what they were telling her were attempts to brainwash her. Fortunately, it seems that sharing the young people’s everyday life in Al-Arroub has finally helped her open her eyes and understand that the discourse according to which the Palestinians are a danger for the security of Israel is hypocritical and misleading. What she will do with that, nobody knew. Same question for Natalia and Sébastien.

As for Paul... We still hope he will now put some more humanity in the respect he shows for the Catholic religious precepts. But the fact is that we had hardly come back to Belgium when he told us that “the trip would have been more credible if we had gone and met people from the other side". We remained speechless when we heard that: always this famous equidistance “good” people want to keep, whatever the price. This is an impossible attitude to keep, the people who have been to the West Bank (and a fortiori to Gaza) say. Indeed, it is impossible not to see who are the ones who occupy the others, who are the ones who build the wall and the ones who are shut behind it, who is all the time subjected to humiliating controls and who controls and humiliates, who is denied basic rights and who denies other people their rights. We should have gone andmet people “from the other side”? Who? Settlers? What for? We know what they think about the situation. Who else? Israelis living in Jerusalem, or Tel Aviv, or Haifa (and later Eilat for Anne-Claire, Tanguy and JF)? We could observe how the majority of them live without giving a second thought to their “Palestinian neighbours”. But did we really avoid meeting “the other side”? What about the Israelis we came in closer contact with? Why didn’t he have any question to ask Mary from the AIC in Jerusalem? Why didn’t he try to speak with one of the young soldiers during our visit of the Haganah museum in Tel Aviv? What a pity it is too that he didn’t join the five ones who went to interview Ronnie on the last day! Why didn’t he go to Yad Vashem memorial? He had the opportunity to… In the same way, why did he decline the invitation to meet Israeli veteran soldiers working for the Israeli organisation "Breaking the Silence" when they came to the Halles de Schaerbeek in Brussels in December 2011? Too bad… But as the saying goes, there is none so deaf as he who will not hear. [17]

This makes us sorry. If even going out there doesn’t make you open your eyes and heart, what can still be done?

See photos of Tel Aviv and Jaffa

Lire la suite du voyage d’Anne-Claire, Tanguy et JF

Une fois que les jeunes ont passé le contrôle à la gare, Anne-Claire et ses deux gardes du corps prennent la direction de la gare routière pour retourner à Jérusalem. Là, ils assistent médusés à une scène ahurissante : les cars sont littéralement pris d’assaut. Des jeunes Israéliens de 12-13 ans n’hésitent pas à bousculer les aînés. Certains évitent de peu d’être écrasés. Quelle brutalité ! Nous échangeons quelques regards médusés avec des adultes présents, d’autres semblant trouver cela normal. Et dire qu’on est dans un pays qui se veut civilisé... Nous nous mettons à l’écart et laissons les fauves s’entasser dans un premier bus, puis dans un second. Un bon quart d’heure plus tard, nous trouvons le moyen de monter à bord d’un troisième. La nuit est tombée lorsque nous arrivons à Jérusalem. Nous sommes soulagés de retrouver ses vieux murs et notre auberge pour une dernière nuit dans la vieille ville. Notre objectif pour le lendemain est d’abord d’aller jusqu’à Naplouse où nous espérons revoir Layali, une jeune universitaire rencontrée deux ans auparavant. Ensuite, gagner la la Jordanie, pour la suite de nos pérégrinations...


[1Just to remind you, military service is compulsory for all young Jewish Israelis. Conscientious objectors end in prison. Only women are allowed to do civil service.

[2Founded in 1909, Hashomer is an organisation dedicated to the guard and defense of the Jewish settlements in Palestine. It was first present in Galilea then in the West Bank (« Judea and Samaria »). It took part in the creation of new settlements and ended up streching its defense sysstem to all the territory.

[3Aliya is a Hebrew word meaning "ascension" or "spiritual rise". For a Jew, it refers to the act of immigrating to Eretz Israel. The second Aliya started after the 1903 pogroms and lasted until 1914 (First World War). Between 30 000 to 40 000 immigrants, most of them Zionist socialists, came from the Russian Empire. David Ben Gourion is one of them. Tel-Aviv (founded in 1909) dates back from this second Aliyah. The Zionist left-wing political parties who will run the state after it is created in 1948 were created by these immigrants too.

[4With this White Paper, published on May 17, 1939, England tried to ease the uprising of the Arab population of Palestine: the sale of new lands to Jews iq now limited so as not to create an important Arab population without lands. Above all, the Jewish immigration juive is limited to 75 000 people during 5 years so the Jewish population doesn’t exceed one third of the population of the country. In the same document, the creation of a common and independent Palestinian state (with an Arab majority) is considered (quite vaguely) within the following ten years. The application of the White paper by the British mandate will intensify at the end of the Second World War, fighting in particular against the massive flood of the survivors of Nazism and of the judeocide. The White Paper led to a strong reaction on the part of the world Zionist institutions and caused a first wave of anti-Britishattacks committed by Irgoun from 1939 on. From 1944 to 1948, the armed organisations (Lehi, Irgoun and to a lesser degree Haganah) killed more than 300 Britons, as well as dozens of Jews and thousands of Arabs. Bevin, the British Foreign Minister was at a loss and decided in February 1947 to bring the matter to the UNO. The first law the young state of Israel voted concerned the repeal of the « White paper ».

[5Striking companies of the Haganah, paramilitary Zionist Jewish group set up in 1941, active during the Second World War up to the independence the state of Israel.

[6Read the article by +972 on this subject.

[7For example Jonathan Pollak, condemned to three months imprisonment for having taken part in a cycling demonstration in Tel Aviv.

[8One example among others : Amir Makhoul, managing director of the Union of Arab Community-based associations in Israel, ITTIJAH (based in Haifa), was recently condemned to 9 years imprisonment, accused of spying on behalf of Hamas.

[10This is, indeed, what we saw in Jaffa the day before

[11For the year 2010 only, for example, between the beginning of July to mid-octobre, the village of Al-Arakib was razed six times to the ground. Souces : AIC, "Bédouins oubliés du Naqab" de Joseph Algazy - le Monde Diplomatique, www.jnf.org.

[12For example, the state lands cannot be (and for that matter never are) sold to non-Jews.

[13Let’s remember that in 1975, the general Assembly of the United Nations adopted Resolution 3379, which considers Zionism tantamount to a form of racism. This decree was crossd out in Decembre 1991. Yet, in 2001, during the conference against racism, Israel was condemned vehemently. Nothing has changed on the ground since then.

[14Ayed Morrar, a citizen of Budrus and a community organizer, unites all Palestinian political factions and Israelis. Together, they wage a peaceful struggle to save his village from destruction by Israels Separation Barrier. Victory seems improbable until his 15-year-old daughter, Iltezam, launches a womens contingent that quickly moves to the front lines. They not only save the village, but the Barrier is pushed back behind the Green Line into No Mans Land. In the process, Ayed and Iltezam unleash an inspiringmovement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories that is still gaining ground today. The movie "Budrus" directed by award-winning filmmaker Julia Bacha, is an action-filled documentary featuring archival footage of this movement from its infancy. It doesn’t only tell about one Palestinian village. It tells a much bigger story about what is possible in the Middle East. Ayed succeeded in doing what many people believe to be impossible: he united all the Palestinian factions, including Fatah and Hamas; he brought women to the heart of the struggle through the leadership of his daughter, Iltezam and he encouraged hundreds of Israelis to cross into Palestinian territory for the first time and join a nonviolent movement.The story of Budrus represents what could happen in the region - provided people know about it. The film got several awards in different festivals (Panorama Audience Award Second Prize, Berlin International Film Festival, 2010 - Special Jury Mention, Tribeca Film Festival, 2010 - Audience Award, San Francisco International Film Festival, 2010 - Honorable Mention for Best Documentary in the Spirit of Freedom Award, Jerusalem International Film Festival 2010 - Witness Award at Silverdocs Film Festival, 2010 - Honorable Mention of the Jury, Documenta Madrid 10 - Amnesty Italia Award, Pesaro Film Festival, 2010 - Founders Prize, Best of Fest, Nonfiction, Traverse City Film Festival, 2010 - Checkpoints Award, Bergen International Film Festival, 2010 - Festival des Libertés Prize, Festival des Libertés, 2010). See also Julia Bacha’s talk for TED Ramallah: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=5A7AEC1D575EAD3F.

[15See for example the information sites boycottisrael or Popularstruggle.

[16Consult on this subject the excellent little book by Karine Lamarche, "En attendant la chute du mur - Agir et protester en Israël aujourd’hui" (Ginkgo Editeur), On the cover: a picture of... Ronnie !

[17St Mark, Chapter 4 (extracts): “1 On another occasion he began to teach by the sea. A very large crowd gathered around him so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down. And the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land ; 2 And he taught them at length in parables, and in the course of his instruction he said to them, 3 ; hear this ! A sower went to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep ; 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots. 7 Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it and it produced no grain. 8 And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit. It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold." 9 He added, "Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear." 10 And when he was alone, those present along with the Twelve questioned him about the parables. 11 He answered them (…) 14 The sower sows the word. 15 These are the ones on the path where the word is sown. As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once and takes away the word sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who, when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy. 17 But they have no root; they last only for a time. Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Those sown among thorns are another sort. They are the people who hear the word, 19 but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, and it bears no fruit. 20 But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold." 21 He said to them, « is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be plced on a lampstand? (…) 23 Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.