Aktion in Südkorea, 2015. Foto: Connection e.V.

Aktion in Südkorea, 2015. Foto: Connection e.V.

Resisting war and apartheid from within the Green Line to the West Bank & Gaza

Newsletter of the Refuser Solidarity Network (RSN)

by Tal

(14.07.2024) Hey,

"A queer Palestinian asylum seeker from the West Bank is out on the streets, can anyone help?" This was the text I received early on an October morning, two weeks into Israel’s assault on Gaza. My name is Tal, the new international solidarity coordinator at Refuser Solidarity Network. I would like to share how I found my way to RSN and how you can support us by following our page Voices Against War on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date with Israelis resisting war and apartheid. Share it with your community to help us to amplify their voices.

Back to Samer. Samer was working at a car wash, with an official work permit, when the Israeli police raided his workplace and rounded up all the Palestinians employed there. “I have a work permit,” he pleaded. A police officer was kicking him on the ground and announced that his permit was invalid during wartime. When we first met, he was missing one of his front teeth from the severe beating he suffered. He was kicked out of the only hostel in Tel Aviv after suffering racist abuse from staff. I tried to find him another place to stay, but without any options, I resorted to hosting Samer at a number of friends’ homes rather than leaving him homeless.

Samer’s life was not easy before the war, but after October 7th, he was too scared to be out in public. Any police officer could send him back to the West Bank, even though he had been living in Tel Aviv for years. For a while, he was glued to my side; every night we would sit over dinner talking about our lives. Everything was becoming personal. Holed in apartments scattered across Tel Aviv, I found myself befriending someone who I thought would be a fleeting part of my life. The reality of apartheid found its way into my home.

My experience with Samer shattered the temporary split I tried to make between the West Bank and “here.” At the outset of the war, I spent much of my time doing protective presence in villages across the West Bank who were suffering from settler and military violence. The West Bank was a place of action for me, while Tel Aviv felt like a place for discourse: to talk about the war and protest with signs.

Samer challenged that for me. Here too was a Palestinian living his day-to-day life in fear of physical violence, prevented from making a livelihood and forced to live in the shadows. But we were in Tel Aviv rather than Hebron.

At the same time as I was hosting Samer, Tal Mitnick, an Israeli refuser, published a letter where he called Israel’s assault on Gaza a “revenge campaign.” He described the indiscriminate bombings of residential neighborhoods and refugee camps in Gaza, full military and political support for settler violence in the West Bank and political persecution on an unprecedented scale inside Israel. In one move, he made lucid connections between the conditions in the West Bank, Gaza and within the Green Line, illustrating the underlying political agenda that determines life across these geographies. Reading his letter in the wake of my experiences with Samer was an important political lesson: refusal is not a circumscribed response, it’s a rejection of the entire state of affairs that connects all people living from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

Mitnick’s and other war resisters’ ability to make these political connections is what brought me to RSN to amplify their voices: we are not just opposing Israel’s daily massacres in Gaza, but a regime that affects all people between the river and the sea, including people like Samer. Together, we can reject the status quo and strengthen the growing number of Israelis refusing to take part in war and occupation.

Support us in bringing these brave refusers and war resisters’ stories to the world by following Voices Against War on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and bringing their voices to your communities. Help us amplify their voices and ask your community to follow us on social media.

In solidarity,

International Solidarity Coordinator
Refuser Solidarity Network

Tal, Resisting war and apartheid from within the Green Line to the West Bank & Gaza. Newsletter of the Refuser Solidarity Network (RSN). Sent via email on July 14, 2024. https://mailchi.mp/refuser/resisting-war-and-apartheid-from-within-the-green-line-to-the-west-bank-gaza

Keywords:    ⇒ Antimilitarism   ⇒ Conscientious Objection   ⇒ Conscription   ⇒ Human Rights   ⇒ Israel   ⇒ Military   ⇒ Peace Movement   ⇒ Projects   ⇒ USA