My name is Amir Pansky and I have a long, complicated relationship with the Occupation.
Before diving into that, a little bit about me:
I was born in Safed, some years after Mahmud Abbas was forced to leave the city in 1948.
My father was a sole holocaust survivor who taught me to always be involved, responsible and to care for people. His legacy was ”No More!” but in a broader, universal sense:” No More!” for any human being, regardless of race, gender, religion, opinions or any other distinctions.
Following military service... I graduated and completed Ph.D in Physics from Weizmann Institute of Science. I got married, built a family and worked intensively in medical devices development companies.
During that period, in parallel to my civil life, I served in the reserved force of IDF as a mid-rank officer in the Armour Force, defending the Israeli borders but also serving in the Occupied West Bank. This was actually the first time that I Looked the Occupation in the Eyes. My first duty in the Occupied Territories was in 1987 in Nablus. I strongly felt the dissonance between the beauty of the city and the violence there due to the Occupation. Even at those early years (the first Intifada) I looked differently at the situation and understood that the Occupation is wrong and immoral. I also realized that it will not go on without resistance.
Around 2010, I joined Yesh-Din, a human rights organization which collects testimonies from Palestinian victims, represents them to the Israeli Court when possible and tries to bring some justice where justice for the Palestinians does not or cannot exist. Looking at those Palestinians victims of settlers terror or military hostility and listening to them made my frustration grow huge. I felt I had to do something, to be more effective.
Fortunately, during one of the testimony collections in Ein Hilweh in the Jordan Valley, I met Guy Hirschfeld and decided to join the group of volunteers that chaperon Palestinian shepherds in the Jordan Valley, helping them to survive, to put food on the table, in the hostile environment of violent settlers, army and police. There, I could take advantage of being a privileged Israeli citizen who can sometimes protect the human rights of deprived shepherds. In the last 6 years (or so), I’ve spent hundreds of days in the West Bank, especially in the Jordan Valley. During which time I met and connected, even without speaking Arabic, with Palestinian shepherds and their families. I am inspired by the way they are able to keep their daily hard life in harsh desert environment in spite of the continuous violence of the Jewish settlers, the discrimination of the army and police. The social bond of the Palestinian people reminds me of Israel several tens of years ago.
Spending time in Palestine with the Palestinians made me able to see them as they are: proud people, stick to their land, their traditions, carry themselves with dignity, decency, and self control, in spite of their complex, fragile existence. This is in contrary to the common prejudice perspective of them by the typical Israeli.
More and more frequently I am overwhelmed by the cruelty of the settlers, their arrogance and aggressive behavior towards the innocent Palestinians but also towards us, the Israeli human rights defenders: those extremists who live in the violence nests, usually called “farms” or “outposts”. But also from the silence and indifference of those who live in the surrounding area, in the big settlements and communities, next door to those illegal terror outposts.
More and more frequently I am astonished by the corrupted behavior of the law enforcement authorities- Israel police. But also the loss of moral values and ethics, lack of humanity of all official entities including what is called Israel Defense Forces while in fact acts as Settlers Defense Force. All is backed up by the policy of the Israeli governments through 56 years of Occupation.
I simply cannot accept that the crimes of Occupation will continue, the abuse of human rights in the West Bank is intolerable and sure enough will lead us all, the state and people of Israel, to a dead end. I cannot accept, yet feel helpless, starting maybe to comprehend just a little bit of the helplessness of the Palestinians under 56 years of Occupation. That’s why me and my friends stick to our moral obligation and will stand and record the crimes and evil in the West Bank as long as can.
During the last months, I can be recognized by a 4 legs anarchist companion – Karma. A young lovely Boxer dog which familiar and aware to the occupation more than 99 % of the Israeli.