I’ve been in Palestine for almost a month now. I have been all over the West Bank. To Ramallah, Nablus, and Hebron. To the villages of Ni’lin, Kufr Quddum, Burin, A’qabah and others. And everywhere I go, the people have one request: “When you back to your country, tell your friends, your family, your president and the world what is going on here.” Every time this has been asked of me, I have promised to do so.
I’m fulfilling the first part of this promise now, as Israel Apartheid Week takes place at Boston University. I’m not going to write about this now. I’m not I’m going to write about what I have personally seen and experienced in the last month.
I have stood in the ruins of a demolished home in Twa’el, in the Jordan Valley, watching a toddler play in the heaps of dirt left by a bulldozer. I’ve choked on the tear gas Israeli soldiers fire each Friday at nonviolent protestors seeking nothing more than the return of the farmland, homes and roads stolen by the Israeli settlers and military. I have sat with an old woman in her home and listened as she recounted the burning tires rolled at her home. I have looked up the hill from her house to the Israeli settlement responsible for these and countless other acts of violence.
I have seen Israeli-only roads, buildings, buses, and tracts of land. I have been threatened with arrest for filming the acts Israeli soldiers are too ashamed of to allow the world to see. If this is not apartheid, I do not know what is. But I want to offer those who disagree with me an opportunity to respond.
Tell me I’m wrong, that I don’t understand the issues or the context. Ask me why I’m not writing about the slaughter in Syria. Call the American Jewish kid writing this an anti-Semite. Tell me that Israel really wants peace but lacks a willing partner as it swallows Palestinian land daily. Tell me that the occupation must continue because Israel’s unilateral transformation of Gaza into a prison didn’t bring peace. Tell me I haven’t seen what I have. Please.
Jeff Stein, CAS ‘11