(more photos to follow, be sure to check back)
Truth and reconciliation is an inspiring and healing ideal but can reconciliation happen without truth? They are surely inseparable – you just can’t have one without the other. As the majority of the Israel public is in denial of Al Nakba, its creation of the refugee situation and the existence of a country called Palestine (which it classifies as disputed territories) it would seem that true reconciliation via any Peace Process is impossible. Also there is a dichotomy between what the popular resistance on the ground want and the ‘negotiations’ that take place between the global actors with their blueprints of how to achieve the seemingly unachievable.
‘Dialoguing’ with the Israeli Army in Nabi Saleh May 10th
The Friday non-violent demonstration started in a light mood with many songs and kids playfully running around. When the skunk tank made its way up the road the march dispersed. Some went into the village; others made there way up to the hill overlooking the village spring, which has been seized by settlers and is now out of bounds to Nabi Saleh villagers.
The soldiers were already there preventing access to the hillside, probably on the pretext of it being a closed military zone though no paperwork was shown. The Palestinian woman who had lead the singing attempted a talk with them, which was met with stoic silence. She became quite animated, telling them they were standing on village land, while we looked on.
After about 10 minutes, a soldier said ‘you don’t want to leave’ and proceeded to let off sound grenades and shoot tear gas so we walked quickly into neighbours’ houses. On the other side of the village, Bilal, who has a press card and video camera donated to him by the Israeli human rights organisation B’tselem to record events in Nabi Saleh, had a more violent confrontation with the army. Believing he was being targeted by a soldier, he stood in front of his house, and was hit with a tear gas canister. Luckily only on his arm.
Photo credit: Tamimi Press
So this is the face of the occupation on the ground, what happens on the top level?
The Renewal of the Peace Talks
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry has asked for a halt to settlement building before sitting down to the creaking negotiating table in June. While Israeli leader Benjamin Netahaynu has halted proposed settlement expansion in E1, 294 houses have been given the go ahead in Bet El. And yesterday, 16th May, he legalised 4 outposts which until now the Israeli Civil Administration considered illegal. Many believe the two state solution is dead in the water and the only hope for the Palestinians is the one state option. On that note here are two comments from Henry Siegman, an Israeli Jewish elder and statesman: ‘The Peace Process is probably the greatest scam in modern diplomatic history, and future historians are going to be absolutely in awe in how that was pulled off’ and ‘ Israel has crossed the threshold from “the only democracy in the Middle East” to the only apartheid regime in the Western world’. It’s Friday and I return to Nabi Saleh to witness another “dialogue” with the IOF.