a Bit of reality -- Outside -- a schizo taking a stroll is more interestingthan


a neurotic in the cyber space of denial. As if Deleuze and Guattari had
never written about Palestine and the Palestinians. As if Derrida hadn't and
perhaps he hasn't . Let's see. Shall we say that the names of history escape
me? Who would deny the reality ? And with any conscience left of the
tattered remains of a Cheap Holiday in Other People's Misery. As if we cared
where someone went on their little travels... What does Beckett say about..
We're not so stupid as to travel.. and to talk about it...

No man is an island. That is what it's about. Justice, Freedom. Big words
you say? Sartre speaks about the Intellectual no longer standing aside but
being in the midst.. Geez is that hard to grasp?


Palestine/Israel: Do you know your ABCs?

by Tzaporah Ryter

Tzaporah Ryter, an American Jewish woman, was living in the Palestinian
West Bank during the current Intifada. The following 27 June 2001 letter
to the editor of the Twin Cities music and events magazine, The Pulse,
was written in response to a number of angry letters that had appeared
in the paper, including one from the ADL. What was all the commotion
about? A 23 May 2001 cover story, "Terror and Resistance: Just Another
Day Under Israeli Occupation", written by another resident of the Twin
Cities who had just returned from Palestine, had brought the usual
suspects out of the woodwork.

I just finished reading letters to the editor in response to Jennifer
Gulbrandson's cover story "Just Another Day Under Israeli Occupation."
Like some letter writers, "I am so upset I do not know where to start."
I will try to be calm. Rather than escalate the debate, I mean to open
it. I
challenge and support the editor to keep this discussion ongoing, despite
the backlash he is receiving.

I am a Jewish woman with family who lived in Haifa from 10 generations
ago, prior to the Zionist project. I just returned from living in
Ramallah, the
West Bank, Occupied Palestine for eight months. I was involved there in
nonviolent demonstrations and acts of grassroots international
intervention and solidarity.

In the nonviolent demonstrations in which I participated -- such as
dismantling with our bare hands the roadblocks that prevent thousands of
people from accessing vocation, trade, basic services and even
emergency medical treatment -- I cannot tell you how many people I saw
shot, wounded and killed. I lost count.

After the first murder I witnessed of the man standing in front of me, I
grew numb. Then it was just a stream of bodies -- the guy with his head
blown off, the little boys so small you don't even need a stretcher for
them, and old women -- carried off into ambulances which every single
time were shot at by the Israelis directly on the driver's side of the
windshield. Ambulances turned back at checkpoints.

Throughout this Intifada/Israeli Siege, what I witnessed was an
overwhelmingly nonviolent struggle within civil society for justice.
one of the endless demonstrations I attended began as marches with
signs, banners and chants. The Israelis shot first every single time
any rocks were thrown. Rocks -- thrown at armored jeeps -- seldom hit
fenders -- stones that are a symbolic way of saying, "We will resist our
oppression, even if you have a tank and I have a rock."

In fact, the Israeli soldiers even shot at some of our demonstrations
we were singing "we shall overcome" and no stones were thrown even
after the Israeli soldiers began and continued to shoot us! Every night I
went to sleep to the sound of shells falling on the nearby school for
children. I walked to do my shopping past 10-year-old boys with patches
over their eyes. How come all of them in the eye? Accident? That's quite
sharp-shooting accident.

The death toll for the Israelis is about 100, the death toll for the
Palestinians about 600. Numbers cannot reflect the losses. The
Palestinians also have about 20,000 wounded civilians, some in critical
condition and many permanently disabled while hospitals are being
attacked and medical clinics destroyed.

I had to walk through streets of crippled people, through the human
of funerals, which become demonstrations, which become more funerals,
just to get a can of soda.

And that's just Area A.

Area A is like a vacation. Don't know what that is? Learn your ABCs. I'll
happy to help you. Then maybe we can have a conversation. In Areas B
and C -- where the majority of people live in villages completely
surrounded by clusters of Israeli settlements such as Ariel, which even
within Barak's generous offer were set to remain permanently, in order to
maintain permanent military bases -- life is much worse.

The children cannot breathe. The tear gas day and night being thrown at
their windows has damaged their respiratory systems, maybe irrevocably
at this point. I have even tried to scream at the soldiers pleading, "the
children are being taken to the hospital." But then they shot at me so I
ran back inside the house I was visiting.

Night and day there are settlers attacking, backed up by soldiers,
into the villages and screaming "Death to the Arabs," burning down
property, even marching into schools in broad daylight and shooting the

The soldiers shot my friend in the middle of the day while he was
outside his house bringing the kids inside as the troops stomped through
the village. They threw a stun grenade into his brother's face and then
pointed an M-16 at his head and threatened to shoot anyone who would
try to bring my friend to an emergency medical vehicle. It took 30
before he was permitted to be taken to a hospital. Now he is paralyzed.

This is only a partial list of what I have witnessed in the past eight
months. What is happening is called ethnic cleansing. The death toll in
baseball terms may be 100 to 600, but this isn't baseball. The figures do
not describe the conditions of life the Palestinians are living under,
is a fabric torn from the seams of hell that you cannot imagine without
knowing it firsthand.

One side goes out dancing in nightclubs when it gets dark (a nightclub is
right next to the Russian compound, where Palestinian detainees are being
interrogated and tortured while listening to people laughing and drinking
and dancing).

The other side sits in fear inside their homes or is under forced curfew.
have lived on both sides and I am not sure the realities are in the same

This is an army -- one of the most powerful in the world -- against a
civilian population. This Israeli army has an intact infrastructure and
and a government capable to give orders to kill -- or not to kill.

The Palestinians do not have an intact infrastructure, state or
capable of telling anyone anything in particular. I will let you in on a
secret. Not even Chairman Arafat can stop suicide bombers. Only justice

And no, Mr. Baehr, of course it is not the collaborators that are killing
Israelis. (Although, as far as shots at night go toward the settlements
collaborators/Israelis doing it, I can tell you only one inside scoop:
Israeli settlers chartered several buses and brought children to recently
stand on the roof of Gilo settlement to watch the shelling. The point is,
they had to schedule the occurrence and charter the buses, get it? And if
it was so dangerous to the Israelis, why were they standing on the roof
the time eating treats?)

People who have come to understand that violence is the only language
the Israelis reward are killing the Israelis. Thus far they are
correct. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called the ceasefire after the
bomber at the mall. The Israelis are rewarding violence. Otherwise, why
they renew negotiations only after their own death toll is on the rise
why do they shoot nonviolent protestors?

Violence is less of a threat to Israel's existence in its present racist
fascist form than nonviolent public demonstrations and freedom of
expression and the struggle for the exposure of truth, liberation and
democracy and the end to Zionist apartheid. Violence should not be
rewarded. But unfortunately it is -- and it will be that way indefinitely
the international community takes a stand and insists upon international
protection for the Palestinian people.

Then, with the protection of the innocent, with freedom of expression,
with the complete and total withdrawal from the Occupied Territories, can
a discussion toward justice -- toward what justice even means -- begin.

I will let you in on another secret: the occupation is violence. There
be no negotiations under violence. When and if we finally reach it, it
be a long discussion -- even prior to any successful or worthwhile
negotiations -- since currently even Israeli researchers are censored and
taken to court for daring to publish their findings concerning what
did occur in the Palestinian massacres of 1947 and 1948. There is a lot
talk about before signing any deals or even bringing them to the table.

I hope that those who become defensive of Israel and upset can take a
deep breath and consider, have they ever visited or lived in the West
or Gaza? Jennifer Gulbrandson has. I have. Rather than condemning
Gulbrandson, we should all thank her for bringing back the truth and
the effort to inform us and encourage us to think about it. I am sorry if
this hurts some of those who feel for the Jewish people and for their
difficult history.

They are my people, too. My journey to the truth was very painful. But my
people have no right to kill the Palestinians, steal their land, destroy
communities and culture and leave them refugees from their homeland. My
people have no right to disregard international law and U.N. resolutions.

Our history is not the fault of the Palestinians. But the Palestinian
of recent generations is the fault of my people. After nearly 6,000 years
experience and survival, I think that my people can find more creative
ultimately sustainable ways to survive than by becoming murderers and
war criminals or by choosing to be those who defend or support them.

Tzaporah Ryter
Minneapolis, MN

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