October 27, 2007

Peace Now? Well not now, wait till I finish my reserve duty

I got this story from a comment to an earlier post on the Oxford Union debate debacle. Because after zionist pressure the Oxford Union dropped Finkelstein and invited Paul Ussiskin of Peace Now, Hulkagaard posted this link to the Alternative Information Centre.
The general secretary of Peace Now, Yariv Oppenheimer, did his reserve military duty at a checkpoint in the Jordan Valley, deep in the occupied Palestinian territories, acting just like any other good Israeli soldier.

In an article published today in the Israeli news-portal NRG, Two Machsom Watch activists report seeing Oppenheimer doing his military reserve duty at a checkpoint inside the occupied territories, in an area that is slowly being ethnically cleansed of its indigenous population, mainly through the use of checkpoints, which forbid almost any type of transportation or access between the main Palestinian cities of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley (see also Amira Hass article, “Clearing The Jordan Valley Of Palestinians.”

Oppenheimer, together with the other soldiers at the checkpoint, also refused a Palestinian family with seven children who were traveling to see their relatives in a nearby village to go through the checkpoint. The fact that this was the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fiter that ends the month of Ramadan, didn’t seem to soften the Peace Now soldier.

The Machsom Watch activist attempted to speak with the soldiers to let the family go through, arguing that an exception should be made because of the holiday and the young age of the children. The soldiers kept refusing the taxi in which the family was driving in, to go through, claiming it doesn’t have the right permits and stating that they are following orders given to them from above.

Oppenheimer didn’t deny the story and told the journalist that “When I am being called to do my reserve duty in the territories, I am doing my best to make my task successful also if it is against my point of view and to act in a humanitarian way.”

Israeli peace activists who are fighting these last years against the Occupation can’t be very surprised from this story. Peace Now and their male oriented leadership have always attacked the refuseniks movement and kept on proudly committing war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories in the name of national unity and obedience to the law. One can just hope that they will stop being seen by the world as a part of the peace movement in Israel.
Now go check Paul Ussiskin's letter in today's Guardian.
The union did not cave in to pressure on Norman Finkelstein's appearance in the debate from Dershowitz. What is true, however, is that a debate's balance is undermined if on the opposing side is a speaker who supports the proposing side.
Finkelstein supports the two states solution. He was to oppose three people who support the one state solution. Together with two other supporters of the two states solution that would have made for a valid debate. Paul Ussiskin is the leader (or some such) of Peace Now UK. The General Secretary of Peace Now in Israel helps the Israeli army ethnically cleanse the Jordan Valley, thereby making the two states solution impossible. Who is more credible, Ussiskin or Finkelstein?

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