Galia Golan 

Ramat HaSharon

In May of 1967, after the Egyptians placed troops in Sinai and closed the Straits of
Tiran, war was clearly expected.  I went from home in Jerusalem to Kibbutz Nahal
Oz (on the border with Gaza) to help if war broke out.   Golan had friends on the
Kibbutz and had spent a lot of time there as a volunteer in the past.  There was no
expectation of a Jordanian attack on Jerusalem. At the Kibbutz she was taught to fire
a Bazooka. During the war, the battle for Ali Muntar in the Gaza Strip went out from
the IDF forces in the fields of Nahal Oz.  Golan “manned” a field telephone in a
trench on the border.

 Like many others, Golan was thrilled with the surprising 6-day Israeli victory and,
also like many others, thought that now we had a bargaining chip – the newly
conquered territories – to exchange for peace with the Arab states.  After returning to
Jerusalem, she quickly went with friends to see the West Bank and Golan Heights
“before they would be returned.”  But within a year a settlement was to be built in
Hebron. Golan signed a petition against the settlement.  That was her first political
act. She set out to learn more about what was going on in the occupied territories.
Thus began what today has been almost 50 years of peace activism and a struggle
against the occupation.   

One evening that stands out was 10 February 1983.  Following the demand – made
by the demonstration of 400,000 in Tel Aviv – for a governmental commission of
inquiry into the massacres in the Palestinian refugee camps Sabra and Shatila in
Lebanon, Galia helped organize a march and demonstration by Peace Now in
Jerusalem – calling for the resignation of defense minister Arik Sharon.  Throughout
the march the demonstrators were violently attacked by right-wing on-lookers.  At the
end of the demonstration, Galia had just backed up her mini-bus to load the signs
from the demonstration gathered by Emile.  As she came around the car, there was
a bright flash of light; she was thrown back, then absolute darkness.  When the air
cleared, she saw people on the ground, slowly rising.  One did not rise – she
whispered – maybe not out loud – get up, get up.  But Emile did not get up.  He was
dead.  People bustled the wounded into Galia’s minibus and she drove them to
Share Zedik hospital nearby.  Avrum Berg helped her, not knowing that he himself
was slightly wounded.  Fortunately Galia’s husband David, a family doctor also in the
movement, had been called away to a house call that evening.  Otherwise he would
have been opening the back door of the minibus to load the signs; instead there was
now a line of holes from hand grenade shrapnel in the back door of the car.

The hand grenade was thrown by someone who lived two streets away from Galia
and David.
 
————————————————————————————————
(there is more to the story – david came to the hospital to get me, got into a fight with
right-wing demonstrators who had actually followed us to the hospital and taunted
us. The next day at Emile’s funeral in Haifa, Itzhak Rabin asked me if there really
had been a fight.  I didn’t want to tell him that David had probably started it…
There was even more – the funeral was on Friday and both David and I attended, of
course, which means we couldn’t make Friday night dinner.  When we got home the
girls had invited two friends over and they had made dinner (sandwiches or
something).  We were really touched.  The Lebanon War had radicalized Debra
(aged 16).  But all that is not for the Memorial ….

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Personal stories of Palestinians and Israelis who had been a part of the violence or witness to it. Yet they all made the choice to walk the path of non-violent activism and partnership.