When I write of the government of Israel’s deliberate, considered, planned out and carefully executed continuation of the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, please know I am not writing of all Israelis. Most Israelis are oblivious to the tactics of occupation. They rely on their government to do the right thing in the right way and try to live their lives as best they can.
Be that as it may, the Nakba continues. Contrary to the protestations of the propaganda arm of the government of Israel it is not a reaction to Palestinian resistance – basically non-existent and largely ineffectual. It is part of a plan devised by experts to destroy Palestinian culture, demoralize Palestinian people and depopulate Palestine of its indigenous community.
A key weapon in the Israeli arsenal is its focus on the family. Palestine is largely organized in and through family relationships. For Palestinians, family is everything. One way to see this is through the lens of homelessness. Palestinians, although well educated and aware are not, individually, very wealthy. Many are quite poor and work hard for anything they have. However, where we saw homeless people in relatively wealthy Israel (or Canada, for that matter) we saw none in Palestine.
Consider that contextually. This is a land where the occupation creates poverty and homelessness by destroying livelihood and housing. Where the occupation controls Palestinian access to employment and access to land. Where Israel routinely shuts down exports, imports and payments for trade goods. Even under that deliberate and ongoing pressurization no Palestinian goes without housing. The entire family would suffer personal shame and loss. So twenty people or more end up living in one house because the alternative is unthinkable. Family is all.
A cultural anthropologist might identify this as a key strength of Palestinian culture. An Israeli Military Cultural Anthropologist might identify this as a point which must be broken. That cultural anthropologist might advise Israel to do the same thing Canada did. Go after the children.
Not in the same way. Not by taking children and trying to strip them of their culture. Israel’s public relations campaign needs an ‘enemy’ to take land from. Israel, therefore, takes children, abuses them in Israeli prisons, harasses them in schools, shoots them in demonstrations, and kidnaps them from their homes. Creating a fresh cadre of ‘enemies’ of Israel, to justify the theft of Palestinian land and harsh rule of Palestinian people. While demoralizing Palestinian families who are unable to protect their children from the Israeli Military.
It is a masterstroke, worthy of Machiavelli. Through a planned program of threat, physical attack, kidnapping and assault causing death, the Israeli military wages daily and nightly war on Palestinian children. Ecumenical Accompaniers have visited hundreds of families whose children have been kidnapped and assaulted by the Israeli military. I participated in some of those interviews, was present during assaults on school children and know EAs who attended Israeli Military Courts where children were put on trial for resisting the Occupation.
While I was in Palestine the Israeli Military killed Palestinian children. Some were participating in protests. Some were just convenient targets. Israeli colonists in Palestine confronted Palestinian children, swearing, spitting, humiliating them in every way possible. Some (as I’ve written elsewhere) run down children in their villages.
These practices continue. The “No Way to Treat a Child” campaign strives to bring them to an end. To at least call out our own government’s complicity and acceptance. Canadian politicians, however, seem immune to pleas on behalf of Palestinian children. They appear to believe most Canadians support Israel’s campaign against them. Do you?