Our Editorial Staff is expanding. I am happy to present here for the first time Tamir Sorek.
(P.S. This Week's Tip: the Testimonies Page has changed its appeareance, and there is new and important material there)

July 23 - Collective Humanization

It would be better if the signatories to the Letter joined the War on Terror instead of protesting to discredit it……what coexistence are they speaking about, at whose expense? What we see from our point of view is a war of collective annihilation."

"Publicizing the declaration at this time, places upon Israel the blame for the continued Palestinian aggression …."

Who said these words? Benjamin Ben-Eliezer [Defense Minister] and Uzi Landau [Police Minister], who are angry at the Israeli refuseniks? No. If you replace the words "war on terror" with "resistance" and exchange "Israel" with "Palestine," these quotes are from leaders of the Palestinian opposition. They oppose the petition signed by Palestinian intellectuals that called for ending all attacks on Israeli citizens within the Green Line. (Alkuds 21 June 2002)

The first quote came from Abed Al-Aziz A-Rantisi, spokesman for the Hamas. Like many good Israeli citizens, he too is angry with those who dare to break ranks and protest against what they consider as unfair and unjust. He voiced the feelings of many Palestinians and Israelis, who feel that they have been forced by the other side into a war of obliteration, and therefore there is no moral boundary to what is permitted to do in this war.

The second quote came from Case Abed Alkarim, a member of the PFLP leadership. He too, like most Palestinians and Israelis, sees his side as attacked in spite of being innocent of any crime. Any public declaration that criticizes the "good guys," or that appears to him to free the "bad guys" from all responsibility, is invalid in principle.

The voices calling to see the other side first and foremost as human beings, are being silenced by both sides in a similar manner. Suffocating under the curfews and roadblocks, most Palestinians refuse to see Israelis as human beings, and killing an Israeli because he is Israeli is considered legitimate resistance. Trapped because of their fear of terror attacks, most Israelis justify any attack on Palestinians. Forcing starvation upon a million people is considered a necessary evil. The almost daily killing of innocent people, who violated the continuing curfew, or who happened to cross the wrong junction at the wrong time - is barely considered news. The continual building of settlements in order to "Jewify" the Occupied Territories and to destroy any chance of a compromise or political solution - is not even considered news.

Conscientious objectors and signatories to the petition against terror attacks are part of one Palestinian-Israeli front, a front believing that the lives of both peoples are of equal value, believing in the humanity of the other side and refusing to take part in the demonization of the Other. Apparently, there are bad days ahead of us, very bad days. It is possible that this joint front does not have the power to end the Occupation in the near future and shorten the length of these bitter days. But it has an important mission until this period ends: at every opportunity, to remind the public of something that may not be obvious anymore -
On the other side there are human beings, very similar to us. Too similar to us.

Tamir Sorek