Amos is a pseudonym, not because he runs a shady business, but because he witnesses shady acts. Amos is a young man aware of the State in which he was born and grew up – let’s call it the State of Israel. He knows, even at his young age, that his state does not especially favor those witnessing shady acts. The state where Amos’ parents were born and bore him, is the initiator, responsible for shady acts and supports them wholeheartedly.
No, the state authorities do not welcome a young man who looks occupation in the eye. In order to do that, he spends days and nights in Palestinian communities. His dictionary definition would be – a human rights activist. But in fact, he is a young Israeli, a history student three days a week, and on Saturday he sometimes goes to visit his parents in Tiv’on, let’s say. If you met him on the bus you wouldn’t guess that the last few days he has spent documenting a Palestinian shepherd community leaving its home, an eggplant field destroyed by bulldozers, a cucumber greenhouse demolished by another bulldozer, a destroyed tent, destroyed water holes, a colonist pogrom during which homes were stoned, live fire was aimed and wounded Palestinians, and a large fire was set to homes and a sheep pen. Amos also documented – just last night – a night raid of a Palestinian community whose doors were broken in and its rooms destroyed, as dozens of blindfolded arrestees were scared out of their sleep and home, and where one child was shaken awake and taken in an army jeep who knows where.
The arm that carries out the occupation in damned perseverance is the colonist one. It is aided by the “security” forces – the army and the police. Another “civil” arm is euphemistically called the Civil Administration. Amos looks at the activity of oppression, destruction and death common to all these arms, and then gets up in the morning and attends the university. Today, on the eve of the Jewish holiday, he will sit with his family in Tiv’on and eat cheesecake that will taste bitter. For he cannot relax and enjoy himself. The image of children gathering their toys from the rocky ground where their home had stood until an hour ago at Ein Samiyah cannot pass into the archive in his ind. It keeps etching itself in front of his active thought. So too the image of that huge fire at Burqa, and the helpless eyes of people watching. And the obedient silence of the arrested boy putting on his socks before the armed men take him away, before being taken from his parents who keep begging the soldiers to let him go, soldiers with opaque looks who are busy overturning drawers and trashing the home.
Amos will not go out with friends later in the evening, for they have stopped calling. He depresses them with his dark moods and stories about the Palestinian family – father, mother and three children – who hurried to the cucumber field to gather the fruit that had remained whole after the bulldozers destroyed the greenhouse. Amos stood and watched their bent backs, and in order to hide his seeing, tearful eyes, he too bent down and began gathering cucumbers.
No, the state and its messengers do not wish Amos to watch such vandalism. They do not want him to write someone in Tel Aviv about the beasts who came to celebrate the end of the transfer from Ein Samiyah. They leapt at the schoolhouse that remained, empty and horrible, and as the climax of their celebration they demolished it – the strong against the weak, so nothing would remain for posterity.
Now, as the law is about to be legislated reducing the action scope of human rights organizations in solidarity with Palestinians, Amos will have to hide his gaze more than ever. For as far as the state is concerned and its emissaries in the Occupied Territories, “These activists must be killed”, as the colonist said who came to enjoy the growl of bulldozers that erased a Palestinian eggplant field at Al-Auja this week.