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On 16 June 2010 an event commemorating the occupation took place in the village of Waddi Racchal. Participants at [...]

9 October 2012
Avner Wishnitzer

On 16 June 2010 an event commemorating the occupation took place in the village of Waddi Racchal. Participants at this event included members of the Popular Committee from the village of El-Massra, members of Combatants for Peace, Israeli and Palestinian activists, and residents of the village.

Avner Wishnitzer, a leading member of CFP , had the following to say:

"I come here today as an Israeli who wants to be proud of his country, but I am not. I want to be proud of the Israeli democracy. But for the last 45 years, my people have chosen, democratically and independently, to continue the deprivation of independence and democratic freedom of another people – the Palestinians.

I want to be proud of a just Israeli legal system, but I am not. Israeli laws relate only to Israeli settlers, while the Palestinians are suppressed by a different legal system. In Israel’s back yard, the army is the law. Those Palestinians who break the army’s rules are tried in a military court. And they must function within a system in which orders which are constantly changing.

I want to be proud of the construction and development of industry and agriculture but, again, I am not. Here, beyond the “Green Line” roads and houses are built only for Jews. The Palestinians are not permitted to take part in the process of development and are not granted building permits. On the contrary, their lands are taken from them and many of their houses are demolished. Their needs are being ignored. They cannot even travel freely in their own homeland.

I want to be proud of the advanced technology in my country but how can I? Many brilliant minds invest their energy in the invention of all kinds of sophisticated gates, fences, and barriers – cages, cages and more cages!

Troupes of soldiers, who have taken on the role of guardians, make sure that the “natives” do not try to revolt and demand their freedom.

I want to be proud of our culture – theatres, a good educational system including excellent academic institutes. Everyone in Israel participates in “laundering” and concealing the occupation. Fancy theatres and campuses distract us from the fences and the barriers, from facing the people without legal rights – the Palestinians.

As long as the occupation continues, Israel cannot be a true democratic state.

I am here today because I believe the occupation is destroying both societies. Therefore it must end. I will not cease my struggle to end the oppression!

Today we are very few and very tired, helpless against the barriers and the bulldozers. But we continue to believe that all human beings are equal and should be free.

We are determined to struggle together, Israelis and Palestinians, in order to bring freedom and security for all.

I am here today as an Israeli who wants to be proud of his country and still believes that one day this will be possible.

Avner Wishnitzer is a member of Combatants for Peace