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Israel inflicts { July 21 2002 }

Fwd: Eyewitness Account by Jewish American of Israeli Terror - New Haven Regist

> Israel inflicts terror on Palestinians
> Eric Levine July 21, 2002
>I recently experienced firsthand the current "security measures" being
>imposed by the Israeli military in the West Bank.
>On July 1st, while walking along a dirt road toward the West Bank city
>of Nablus, I was abducted by Israeli soldiers along with another
>American, a Briton and two Palestinians. We were taken to a
>Palestinian residence occupied by the Israeli army, confined to an
>outdoor patio six paces by six paces, guarded by an armed soldier and
>informed repeatedly that we would be shot if we attempted to leave.
>Our passports were taken and our requests for telephone calls were
>denied. The reason for our detention was never explained.
> From our open-air cell, I spent 48 hours witnessing and
>reflecting on what is conveniently called a "war on terror," but is
>increasingly a "war of terror" waged on Palestinian civilians.
> I saw a ghost town. Nablus' 200,000 residents imprisoned
>in their homes by a strict 24-hour curfew that threatens bullets for
>those venturing outside.
> By day, armored personnel carriers and tanks patrolled the
>streets, firing sporadically at children in front of their houses
>playing soccer.
> Below us, a Palestinian family was being held hostage
>because their home had a nice view and therefore was deemed a
>strategic military position. This practice, prevalent throughout the
>West Bank, involves families being locked into the lower rooms of
>their own homes for weeks and kept as human shields for the Israeli
>soldiers who turn the upper floors into sandbagged bunkers.
> Like most nights, between one and four o'clock in the
>morning, the firing started. I watched red tracers from large caliber
>machine guns on the hilltops etch steady arcs across the city, hitting
>whatever or whomever happened to be in their path.
> I fail to see indiscriminate firing on a captive civilian
>population in the middle of the night as anything but terrorism.
> A teen-age soldier chambered a round into his M-16 and
>shoved the barrel at me because he was tired of my requests to call my
>mother and tell her that I was still alive. Looking down at the
>assault rifle meeting my chest, I thought my tax dollars paid for that
>gun. The irony was lost on the young soldier.
> I began to wonder: If 50 mm rounds hit buildings in
>Brooklyn after midnight, would we call that "terror" or "security
>measures"? If 700,000 civilians, the equivalent of every major city in
>Connecticut, were shut in their homes under threat of being shot if
>found in the street, would the residents of Bridgeport, Danbury,
>Hartford, New Haven, Norwalk, and Stamford feel terrorized or call it
>a necessary tactic in a "war on terror"? If your town was invaded,
>your home occupied, your family held hostage, would you be outraged or
>understanding of some "necessary strategic position"?
> I think we would call this terror.
> After 48 hours of captivity, we were handcuffed,
>blindfolded and taken to a nearby military base. Our passports were
>returned and we were told to leave on foot. No explanations. No
>justifications for the arbitrary abuse of power.
> President Bush has urged Palestinians to "actively pursue"
>electing new leaders and political reform and condoned the terror
>tactics of the Israeli military as a measure of self-defense. Are we
>forgetting the intrinsic difficulties in pursuing anything while
>indefinitely imprisoned in one's own home?
> Our government strongly and correctly condemns violence
>against innocent Israeli civilians. Why then do we condone violence
>against innocent Palestinian civilians? Is terrorism called
>self-defense if the terrorist is wearing a uniform? The effect is the
>same for the innocent civilian victims.
> As a Jew, I object to the war of terror being waged on the
>Palestinian civilian population and fearful of what this bodes for the
>safety and morality of Israel. As an American, I am ashamed that we
>are financially and publicly supporting terror tactics being used on a
>civilian population exactly what we claim to be fighting against.
> The United States and British embassies have filed
>protests on behalf of myself and the other two internationals in the
>group. Not surprisingly, nobody is taking any action on behalf of the
>two Palestinian men held captive with us, nor is anybody taking any
>action on behalf of the Palestinian civilians being held captive by
>the Israeli military.
> The only effort currently being expended is the
>maintenance of a convenient fiction that allows us to avoid
>recognizing the terror that Israel is inflicting and that we are
> Eric Levine of New Haven was in Israel and the West Bank
>volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement and the Union
>of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees. Readers may write him in
>care of the Register, 40 Sargent Drive, New Haven 06511.

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