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All Israelis Are Complicit in the Occupation

Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy
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Israelis participating in the march on Homesh look on at the nearby Palestinian villages.
Israelis participating in the march on Homesh look on at the nearby Palestinian villages.Credit: Amir Levy
Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy

All of us, every single Israeli, marched to Homesh the other day. All of us, every single Israeli, marched in the flag parade in Jerusalem on Wednesday. All of us, every single Israeli, are settlers. There is no other way to describe the reality. Anyone who thinks that it is only a small and violent settler minority to which most people have no connection, anyone who thinks that this is about some remote part of the land, some dark backyard that has no connection to the display window, is completely lying to himself.

How pleasantly false it is to think that it can't be us, it’s them; how pleasantly false to think that we, the enlightened ones, have no connection to this, that the government is only giving in to their craziness.

In every extortion, there is the extorter and the extorted. It’s not us, it’s those other people with the big skullcaps and long sidelocks, with the women’s head coverings and the religious girls’ schools. What does Homesh have to do with us? Or the Temple Mount? True, most Israelis have never set foot in either place, and many probably have no idea where Homesh is, but the truth is that we are all there. We all bear the blame.

Every provocative flag in Homesh, and all those that are waved on the Temple Mount, bear all of our names. One cannot sit in Tel Aviv sipping a soy latte, clucking one’s tongue and complaining, “What’s going to be with these settlers? They’re ruining ‘our’ country.” Nor can one sit in a government that is overseeing all of this and say that it is a government of change. Whoever still needs proof that there is no difference between this government and its predecessors, just look at Homesh.

Benny Gantz should have sealed Homesh off. Omer Bar-Lev should have dispersed the flags. Yair Lapid went up to Homesh too. Nitzan Horowitz also marched in the flag march and Merav Michaeli swung batons at old men in the mosque plaza too. They are a party to all these things. Idit Silman and Itamar Ben-Gvir never march alone. There is the IDF that protects them, the Israel Police that does not stop them and a government that doesn’t lift a finger. Therefore, we were all at Homesh.

This is what is called abetting a crime. Not just failure to prevent a crime, which is also a criminal offense, but aiding in the commission of the crime itself. Article 26 of the Penal Code states: “a person who, whether or not he is present at the time the offense is committed, does or omits to do any act for the purpose of enabling or aiding another person to commit the offense” is considered a party to the offense. Need anything more be said? The provocative demonstration at Homesh was despicable. It is apartheid in its purest form and a slap in the face of the High Court of Justice. It shows more contempt for the law than what is implied by the charges against Benjamin Netanyahu.

It is apartheid because the Palestinian owners of Homesh can no longer even dream about similarly marching to their land, not even for a quick visit. And it is contempt for the rule of law because the High Court ruled years ago that this land must be returned to its owners. So what if the court issued a ruling? It’s as if a court sends a criminal to jail and the criminal says: I don’t have to listen to the court. This is what the march on Homesh says. This is what the government, the army and the police that allow it to happen are saying.

It is also saying more terror with justification. The other day, Ettya Dimentman, the widow of the man killed in the recent terror attack at Homesh, stood on this stolen land and called for the reconquest of Sinai. Rather than exhort the invaders to immediately leave the mountain that is soaked with her husband’s blood, to do justice and return the land to its rightful owners, this widow wants more blood and more widows like her. What other recourse do the owners of the land from Burqa have to get their land back? And how do they feel when they are imprisoned in their village in order to allow the thieves to celebrate the plunder of the stolen land, all under the protection of the army and police? Rather than imprison the looters and protect the Burqa residents as they return to their mountain to celebrate, the non-apartheid state does just the opposite.

What shall we tell the people of Burqa? What shall we tell ourselves? Just don’t say: It’s the settlers, it’s not us.

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