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‘The world hears’ — Susiya village calls on solidarity activists to help prevent its destruction

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Susiya, Palestine. 7 July 2015

In these first days of July, I am struck with the reality of my time here in Palestine juxtaposed to my family and fellow Americans celebrating Independence Day.  While my native USA just had a weekend of festivities celebrating  independence, with most celebrating the joy of freedom, abundance, liberty and the ongoing progress of expanding justice, dignity and human rights, my hosts here in Palestine continue to live under Israeli Military Occupation and subjugation.

Now more than half way through the month of Ramadan, the most holy time of the Muslim calendar, my hosts here in the village of Susiya continue with renewed hope and faith. Even as Military bulldozers arrived and appear to be part of the staging of equipment for the demolition of Susiya, one of the elders reflects, “With your presence here in Susiya and that of other solidarity workers throughout my land, when we raise our voices to speak of the violence and injustice perpetrated by Israeli Settlers and Military, the whole world hears. This is important. Back in 1947 and 1948, when my mother and my father raised their voices about losing land and freedom, no one listened; no one heard their cries for help.  Throughout the subsequent decades, we cry, we die, and we lose land, water, family and freedom.  But today, when we cry out, the world hears us, many around the world hear our struggle and though not physically here with us in Palestine, they stand in solidarity with us and our struggle.”

The Palestinians with whom I live and work hope that the world hears this cry of inhumanity and the plea to end the Israeli occupation and subjugation.  And with the amplification of the lived Palestinian experience there is hope that the world will act. I have hope that my country will take a stand and demand an end to the ongoing violations of International Law.  This year alone since January, in violation of International Law, Israeli authorities have already destroyed 281 civilian Palestinian structures. An average of 11 structures destroyed per week in the West Bank, compared to the already worrying average of 10 weekly destructions in 2014.  (UNOCHA  Protection of Civilians Weekly Report, 16-22 June 2015)

Soldiers enter Susiya

Soldiers enter Susiya

On July 7, a military transport carrying five soldiers accompanying the DCO (Israeli District Coordination Office) arrived in the center of Susiya and all walked through Susiya documenting and photographing various structures. As residents tried to engage with the soldiers and DCO, all communication attempts went ignored as if the village residents did not exist.  All this is the precursor to what is believed to be an imminent demolition.  The nearby bulldozers fired up their engines and were driven about by soldiers.  Yet, no demolition has begun. 

For the residents of Susiya, the elevated tension is palpable and the show of power by the Israeli Military is threatening and intimidating. This psychological dance amplifies the reality of living under Military Occupation and the psychological fear one has when the safety of family and home is never secure.  This coupled with shortages of freedom, dignity and the most basic of human rights of water, electricity, sanitation, food, freedom of movement, and access to education demands that the Israeli Occupation of Palestine must end. Living with all things “Under Military Occupation” burdens ones heart, one’s soul, one’s life.   My  heart breaks, my heart cries for the struggle, the struggle for all here in this land,  Palestinians and Israelis alike,  Muslims, Jews and Christians all living in struggle in differing levels of intensity.  I believe that this conflict, this occupation and subjection of another’s land and life is eroding the soul of all.  The mistrust, the anger, the terror and aggression, all silently eat away at the moral and ethical nature of what it means to be human.

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Recently, President Obama spoke of America’s Original Sin when delivering the eulogy at the memorial for Rev. Clementa Pinckney in South Carolina.  I understand the Original Sin of which Obama speaks as a reference to Nation Building on the backs of those the nation has subjugated.  I believe the USA  as a nation is creating distance  in redemption of that Original Sin when the USA supports Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestine by providing Israel with $3.1 billion in aid for fiscal year 2015 (Congressional Research Report, US Foreign Aid to Israel, June 10, 2015, www.crs.gov RL33222 ).  Israel is nation building through the subjugation and ongoing occupation of Palestine. What the USA finds abhorrent in its own history, the subjugation of a people, we support in Palestine and Israel by the ongoing economic support for Israel’s Military occupation and Israel’s building of illegal settlements for its citizens to live in inside Palestinian territory.

Here in this land, the light of hope is kept shining through public witness and presence on the ground and through the ongoing commitment to advocating for a just peace.

Rev. David Etherington is participating in a program with Church World Service as an Ecumenical Accompanier serving on the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). The views contained herein are personal to him and do not necessarily reflect those of the sending organization, CWS, or the WCC.

About Rev. David Etherington

When not in Palestine, Rev. Etherington makes his home in Gainesville, Florida.

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8 Responses

  1. bintbiba
    bintbiba on July 9, 2015, 1:35 pm

    Many sincere Thanks, Rev. David Etherington , for your impassioned testimony and call in support of the cruel and never ending Occupation.

    “My heart breaks, my heart cries for the struggle, the struggle for all here in this land, Palestinians and Israelis alike, Muslims, Jews and Christians all living in struggle in differing levels of intensity. I believe that this conflict, this occupation and subjection of another’s land and life is eroding the soul of all. The mistrust, the anger, the terror and aggression, all silently eat away at the moral and ethical nature of what it means to be human. “-

    See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/07/solidarity-activists-destruction#sthash.AdYoW0w8.dpuf

    • bintbiba
      bintbiba on July 9, 2015, 6:40 pm

      Apologies for the error in my first sentence:

      “……..for your impassioned testimony and call in support of the [Palestinian people under] the cruel and never ending Occupation .”

  2. Citizen
    Citizen on July 9, 2015, 1:46 pm

    Why do I get the notion this well meaning article will go nowhere? Because I can’t even get a single member of my own American family to read MW? MORE. MY family is not pro-Israel. They just don’t care.

    • DaBakr
      DaBakr on July 9, 2015, 6:31 pm

      @cz

      most people really don’t care about much except their families and creature comforts. I would say this is definitely true in Israel was well as some areas of Palestine. It is definitely true of many American Jews and I would guess also American Palestinians. While they keep up their ‘struggle’ their societies move more and more in to technological and mass-marketed bubbles. Mid to high ends cars increase, more cafes and more chic restaurants open in Ramallah as well as TA. It may not be ‘equal’ the way some judge equality and there is also no denying what the Rev. says about the shortage of dignity, sovereignty and freedom of movement that the occupation imposes upon them. But in terms of suffering-it is very hard to single one group out over another-especially when one group is in dire danger of dying in place right now versus the other engaged in a protracted revolution to overturn an initial loss and what Palestinians consider a grave ‘injustice’ in 1948. There is no actual ‘genocide’ as some falsely exclaim for PR reasons. . The population in WB is growing as is the general level of wealth and population in WB and GZ too. Live is tough in certain sections of Gaza to be sure but the citizens show no inclination to lay down their arms, their support for militant violence and revenge. I wonder if MW saw that one ‘brigade’ of one militia (surely Hamas approved) built a rudimentary ‘tower’ as close as they could the southern border with Israel. They very well could be able to see our carriers and transports but its more likely a psychological battle of “you watch us-we watch you” .

      I have family who wonders why I bother to spend any time on MW and insist it is probably a core group of maybe 18 people all posting with multiple names! ( I don’t argue with them but do mention they are not correct. That there is at LEAST 26 members. haha-Zionist-humour, sorry)
      I don’t know the number but assume its fairly large for a fringe blog but no larger then comparable radically off-center blogs-left and right. I could even see if it were one of the top 10 lefty blogs focusing on the i/p conflict. At least it is entertaining. That is the true litmus test for myself.

      So-ctz-dont feel too bad. I would suspect that many here, including the tiny handful of pro-Zionists couldn’t ” a single member of my own …….family to read MW..” Its takes a strong stomach for political turmoil, conflict, caustic animosity and just sheer pique that there are those who feel so 100% certain that THEY are correct and you yourself just doesn’t see it that way and is dead wrong. hmm..

      • Citizen
        Citizen on July 11, 2015, 8:35 am

        @ DaBakr

        It’s also true that all my college educated siblings are aware of Israel’s conduct over the years since US aid became the largest single chunk of US foreign aid–and they don’t like it. None have any respect for our government representatives and they are aware of the power of the Israel Lobby–the adage: “Follow the money.”

  3. lonely rico
    lonely rico on July 10, 2015, 10:40 am

    > DaBakr

    … there are those who feel so 100% certain that THEY are correct and you yourself just doesn’t see it that way and is dead wrong …

    You’ll have to count me amongst those who feel 100% certain that the cruel criminal dispossession of the Palestinians, on-going for over 70 years, involving daily humiliation and cruelty coupled with periodic massacres of those who were not born into the right ethnic/religious group, is ABSOLUTELY WRONG. And those who defend these racist crimes are absolutely wrong as well.

    … the general level of wealth and population in WB and GZ [is growing]

    Where in your accounting do you include the thousands of demolished homes, imprisoned/tortured children, injuries (both mental and physical) suffered, stolen land and water, destroyed olive trees, murdered Palestinians?

    Your hope is that the apathy of the American public, as attested to by Citizen (and it is real), will continue to shield the Zionist state from any meaningful push back.
    I suspect you would have sneered at Rosa Parks’ resistance in 1955 to Jim Crow, and you would have been right that the American public “didn’t care”, but her action and the ensuing civil rights movement brought the injustice to the attention of the public, and led to the end of legally sanctioned racism in the USA.

    I think and hope that the increasing awareness in America of what Israel is and does, (evidenced by internet sites such as MW and others) have sown the seeds that will grow to end the ugly racist brutality perpetrated by the state of Israel.

    At least it [MW] is entertaining. That is the true litmus test for myself.

    That you find the (daily) reports of racism, destruction and cruelty entertaining tells me everything I need to know about you and your lack of compassion.

    I have family who wonders why I bother to spend any time on MW

    I wonder too, when your postings do nothing more than reveal the vacuum of your soul.

    • Citizen
      Citizen on July 11, 2015, 8:46 am

      Yes the apathy is real, but I can also say this: If any US politicians and main news media talking heads spoke up about the situation as MW does, and/or if POTUS spoke from the pulpit directly to them, my siblings would be quick to make all aid to Israel conditional; that is, they would vote to curb Israel. They definitely do not think Israel’s practiced and ideological values are the same as America’s or good for Humanity as a whole. They all judge individuals they meet as MLK did, would, by the content of their character.

  4. Bornajoo
    Bornajoo on July 11, 2015, 6:34 am

    @Bintbiba

    ditto!

    @lonely rico

    Great reply!

    Many thanks for your article and for everything you do Rev David Etherington

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