Where Are We?


Amos Gvirtz – TRANSCEND Media Service

9 Aug 2021 – Very quietly, and with no media fuss, Bennett acceded to the demands of the right-wing nationalists, completing what Netanyahu began. In the space of a week the IDF destroyed two Palestinian villages, Humsa al Bqai’a (for the sixth time) and Ras a-Tin, in a drive to compel the residents to relocate from Area C in the West Bank to Areas A or B. The IDF has devised a strategy for circumventing any legal measures that would delay execution of demolition orders (in any case the “left-wing” High Court will eventually give its stamp of approval):  demolition orders are issued only after the fact, preventing victims from applying for a stay of execution.

A Palestinian building is blown up by Israeli forces in the village of Sur Baher, East Jerusalem, July 22, 2019.  (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

The Netanyahu government wanted to destroy the Palestinian village Khan al-Ahmar which is located near Jerusalem in the politically sensitive 1E area. When this happens close by, it is relatively easy for large numbers of human rights and peace activists to come and demonstrate their opposition to the government’s egregious actions. It is also easier for Israeli and international journalists to report these events.  Naturally, being next to Jerusalem, it was not difficult to enlist the help of the diplomatic community in preventing this crime from being committed.

But this time, when the villages marked for destruction are located on the far edge of the West Bank, only a handful of dedicated human rights activists turn up, those same people who for years have risked their own safety in their non-violent defense of Palestinian farmers from the aggression of the settlers and the IDF soldiers who are trying to drive them from their villages and from their lands.

The question is why have all the Israeli human rights and peace movements not rallied en masse to stop this barbarousness? Where is Meretz and where is Ra’am? As partners in the coalition they share responsibility for these despicable deeds! Is there no red line they won’t cross?! And where are the Israeli and international media when events in a remote area have to be reported?! If we are all silent, there is no chance that the international community will go out of its way during its summer recess to halt these atrocities.

However, the questions are much broader and they concern large sectors of Israeli society. We in the Left and the Center have to break out of the euphoria that enveloped us in the wake of the success in bringing down the corrupt government. We cannot shut our eyes and consciences to the deeds of the new government.

Why do we not hear the voices of jurists who refuse to sanction the serial war crimes that Israel commits in the occupied territories? Those that declare that they studied law in order to fight crime and not to give it a legal stamp of approval? After all, these are the same Israeli jurists who created the fake legal system that legitimizes the serious offenses that Israel commits in the occupied territories as part of its policy and in defiance of international law. They did not seek to fill a legal void but rather created fake laws on issues where international law is unambiguous!

Where are the judges who refuse to give their blessing to this fake legal system?!

Why do we not hear from the officers and soldiers in the IDF who claim to have enlisted in order to protect the country and not to carry out war crimes in the name of a controversial policy? After all, they have friends who did have the courage to do this.

I am not better than anyone else. I sit at home and go out of my mind thinking about the victims whose villages have been destroyed and I ask myself if it was for this that I demonstrated almost every Saturday against a corrupt government? What about all the other humanist values? The deliberate destruction of people’s lives simply because they are Palestinians living under the Israeli occupation, is an offense more grievous even than government corruption.


Amos Gvirtz is founder of Israelis and Palestinians for Nonviolence, was chairperson of the Committee against House Demolitions, and a peace and human rights activist. He is a former Israeli representative to the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) and wrote the book, Don’t Say We Did Not Know. It is live in the Amazon store and is available for readers to purchase here. In Kindle you can read it for free.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 16 Aug 2021.

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