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Soldiers in Civilian Garb

A report from Our Stand at the "Anti-occupation Bloc" on Kaplan and da-Vinci junction.

Last night, six youngsters approached our stand and asked for large or extra large shirts. I asked if they had already been drafted. They said they were already soldiers. Unfortunately, they said. Unfortunately. Soldiers in regular army service bought t-shirts with the inscription “Democracy and occupation cannot co-exist”.

They took their time over the shirts stand. Wanted to talk. All around, the demonstration buzzed. Megaphones, drums, unidentified music. It was hard to converse in the cacophony that was supposed to reach the callous talks at the President’s Residence.

But the soldiers wanted to pour out their hearts. Their eyes shone in painful joviality. One of them spoke: “We think you are right. We identify with your message. We can’t wait to finish our service. Go on.” He spoke as if firing single shorts. Shook a fist meaning to give us strength.

Later another young man came, huffing and puffing. I have been on the base until now, hurried to get here. Is there still a large one?

Something is happening. Most of the buyers this week were young. Mostly women. Put the shirts on immediately and proceed.

Photo: Tamar Reuveni

We were wrong thinking that our target audience had been exhausted. Last night hundreds of shirts were bought at the stand. It is no longer connected to the fact that Shira Gefen, a well-known public figure, wore one to her father’s funeral. It is directly connected to the message itself. People take a shirt and pay four times its price. They want to be a part. To contribute to a solidarity action with the Palestinians. To go on giving a voice in the Israeli street about the occupation injustices.

The stream of shirt buyers does not dwindle from one Saturday to the next. It signifies recognition of the obstacle called occupation on the way to democracy. The wish to wear a shirt with the word ‘occupation’ on it means that one may now point out something that was taboo for so long, the occupation. It is now permissible to say that occupation is bad for Israel.

Someone told us that for the first time she heard a woman leader of the protest speak negatively about the colonists.

Something is happening. People love life. They are decent and wise, and do not want to dominate others. People who are moral do not possess the sin of occupation greed, do not exert cruelty over the helpless. No occupier has any future outside the occupation.

This realization brought parents with their children to our stand last night, disappointed when no children size shirts were to be had. So they bought the smaller sizes which girls put on as dresses against the occupation and proceeded in winners’ smiles.

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