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Doing his Duty

Ilana Dayan: The ISA (Shin Bet) reported that the Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir instructed the police to ignore Jewish terrorism in the West Bank


Ben-Gvir puts our safety in danger (Looking the Occupation in the Eye poster)


The first policeman who answered the phone was polite and friendly. He introduced himself by his first name. Nice, short and soft. Perhaps I was already prejudiced, and thus associated such a name with some enlightened and wise Israeli-ness, for he showed both sincerity and honesty when he admitted that the kind of notice I gave him is not a part of his duties. At the end of this sympathetic dialogue, he promised to pass it on to the authorized man who deals with such matters.


Less than a minute later, the authorized person called. He did not introduce himself, merely shooting with dismissive arrogance: “Yes, what’s your problem, lady?” I said I wanted to make note of the fact that above the Palestinian village T., right now, an illegal colonist outpost is being erected. I ask you to send a force there to evict these colonists.


Before I managed to utter the word “colonists”, he screamed in my ear: “That’s what interests you now, lady?! There’s a war in Gaza going on, are you aware of that?! And you’re busy with this nonsense?!!”


I tried to say this was no nonsense, that this was illegal takeover of privately-owned Palestinian land in a way that threatens the T. villagers, but the voice of the authorized person rose and became hoarse and filled the distance between us with eruptive venom: “My buddies are hostages, do you get that?!”


I got it very well, and expressed my sympathy, although I wasn’t sure the personal story he gave me was indeed true. After all, I too could have said anything within the framework of a national catastrophe. People use whatever is accessible to them, and if that’s a tragic fact, one cannot possibly doubt it. That’s not done.


I began telling the authorized person that whoever hoists the Israeli flag on the hill above T. village are not soldiers but colonists disguised as soldiers, and they’re hoisting not just a flag up there – but an entire encampment.


I began to say this, but the authorized policeman would not let me speak. He screamed and screeched. Madly. He promised he would not send one person to the hill above T. village, he has more urgent business. With that same loud momentum, already hoarse, he added: “I am not sending any force because some fucking leftist asks me to, and I am about to open a case file on you.”


At this point the aging leftist was scared enough to hang up. She did exactly what the authorized person wished her to do.

No, dear and polite women-friends of mine, I did not record the conversation. Only later did my aging-but-amazed leftist friends try to alter my helplessness and showed me how to record a phone conversation. It’s never too late to learn how to record the next curse, and it will definitely be sounded.


"Outposts are terror" (Looking the Occupation in the Eye activists protest in occupied west bank)


The colonists, just like the policeman of the occupation police, are very adept at using the war in Gaza. They take over privately-owned Palestinian land in a grab-as-much land-as-you-can-now attitude. Their job is easy. You only need to “visit” the Palestinian wearing an army uniform and bearing an automatic rifle. You may beat him up a bit, push his aging father down to the ground, drag him through the rain puddles, humiliate and threaten very bluntly: “If you are not out of here by tomorrow, I shall come and exterminate you and your family.”


The Palestinian villager has understood this violent language for years now. He needs no translation. This event was described in detail to a Palestinian journalist. Amer Abu Awad, a Palestinian member of a small shepherd community in the South Hebron Hills, got up the morning after the Havat Meitarim colonist’s violent visit, packed up some meager personal effects, and left his home with his wife, their five children and their flock. They had to walk, carrying their belongings in hand for the Israeli army had forbidden any Palestinian vehicular traffic around there. The home of the Palestinian was left with all their property, including furniture and the flock’s fence and the stock of grain sacks, feed for the livestock. Later that night, colonists arrived with a bulldozer, destroyed the house and the fence, and the sacks of feed, so that Abu Awad would have no reason to come back and collect his belongings. The colonists erased all traces of the lives of the Palestinian and his family at the site.


The war in Gaza is good for anyone who profits from it. It is good for the policeman with his racist and misogynist worldview, for it gives him righteous justification to ignore the duties dictated him by law, and by the way ventilate by phone some vulgar charges he needs to hide at more “normal” times.


And this war, breaking out following a monstrous catastrophe inflicted not only by Hamas but by Netanyahu and the colonist lords of the land, this war is actually very profitable for colonists. Not only do they covet land that is not theirs in Area C of the West Bank – they are already eying a merry return to the Gaza Strip.


The fu—ing leftist will finally understand, at the end of the day, the tight connection of the behavior of the policeman authorized to dirty the verbal air with the colonists who erect an illegal outpost with their both divine and governmental license. This tight connection, made up artfully of toxic threads of a total loss of values and ringed by total moral looseness, has become tighter and thrives on the catastrophe of others, Israelis living close to the Strip and the numerous Gazans.


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