I Fund Terror Groups

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A view of the Israeli settlement of Efrat on the southern outskirts of Bethlehem in the West Bank, in July.
A view of the Israeli settlement of Efrat on the southern outskirts of Bethlehem in the West Bank, in July.Credit: AHMAD GHARABLI - AFP
Amira Hass
Amira Hass

I am announcing and confessing here that I finance terrorism. Some of the tax money I pay to the Israeli government is transferred to its terrorist activities and those of its representatives, the settlers, against the Palestinian people.

If by “terrorism” one means imposing terror and fear – then what are the commanders in the army and Shin Bet security service doing when they send masked soldiers to raid the homes of Palestinians night after night? Accompanied by dogs and with rifles aimed, soldiers wake families from their slumber, overturn the contents of closets, confiscate property and strike the adults in front of the children.

What are the inspectors of the Civil Administration doing when they wander among communities of shepherds, and check whether maybe a tent or a slide for children was added that should be demolished? What do the surveillance cameras stuck at every checkpoint at the exit from a Palestinian city do, if not intimidate and regiment?

And the male and female Border Police in Jerusalem, who detain anyone who looks to them like an Arab, and the soldiers and policemen who deliver a kick here, a slap there, to anyone who dares to argue with them, or to harvest olives – what is their job if not to instill fear?

Israeli soldiers detain a Palestinian during a protest in the West Bank, last year.Credit: AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed

And the gangs of masked settlers, with bare chests, holy fringes and “nonlethal” weapons and firearms – what will we call their orgies of attacking people and trees if not terror? Fractions of percentages of the taxes I pay certainly reach them: Perhaps they end up going to the settlement councils that embrace the thugs, perhaps to their officials and to Defense Ministry officials who together planned and implemented the successful model of shepherds’ outposts.

Throughout the West Bank the outposts operate by the same pattern: One family of veteran settlers takes over a plot of Palestinian land, receives a herd of sheep or goats and cattle, and then, using rifles, stones, dogs, young shepherds and drones, threatens the Palestinians and prevents their herds from reaching their grazing areas.

The concept “terror” has long since exceeded the bounds of simple intimidation, and also includes acts of destruction and killing. My taxes, and those of all Israeli citizens and residents, finance them.

Part of my taxes went to the bombing of residential structures and the killing of their Palestinian inhabitants, including young children and women. My taxes finance the bullets that kill and wound demonstrators in the West Bank village of Beita and in Gaza. Our taxes subsidize the settlements and cover the cost of the demolition of Palestinian homes by the Civil Administration and the Jerusalem municipality. Under the camouflage of a law-abiding country and by means of our financing, Israel has perpetrated all these acts of terror and many others. Day by day. Hour by hour.

Those who control the centers of power have always tried and are trying to assume a monopoly over the language too, as a way of perpetuating their supremacy. The patriarchy derived the medical term “hysteria” from the Greek root for uterus, as a way of cementing the inferior status of women. Englishmen made sure that “Irish” would be a synonym for stupid, and later for lazy and a drunkard, as a way of explaining their colonization of Ireland.

“Stupid,” “black” and “terrorist” were also synonyms among the whites in South Africa, used to justify the exploitation, the racial segregation and the terrorist oppression. And that’s how the Israeli occupier decides what terror is, and includes in it another six Palestinian NGOs.

The reason for persecuting them is so clear: These civil society organizations have registered several impressive achievements in their opposition to the cruel Israeli occupation. It was they that acted and are acting to prosecute Israelis who are responsible for war crimes and crimes of apartheid in the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and urged the Palestinian Authority to take this route. It is they that expose Israel’s system of wholesale detention, including of minors, and the scandal called the military court.

It is they that support Palestinian farmers against the harassment of the Civil Administration and the settlers. They nurture leftist and feminist values, and criticize the Palestinian authorities as well.

They (and not only they) are in a constant battle against the terror of the occupation. And the occupation, through its persecution of those organizations, aspires to terrorize other Palestinians and deter them from mounting any resistance.

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