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At-Home with Gila Svirsky

12 April 2001
Subject: Subverting the Occupation


Three young Israelis were arrested this evening for driving a car through Tel Aviv as they broadcast through a loudspeaker: “A curfew has been imposed on Tel Aviv. Residents must enter their homes. People seen on the streets after 7:30 p.m. risk responses according to the usual procedures.”

A second car with the same message made a successful getaway.

Police arrested the three (two young women and one young man – names still withheld) and have so far refused to allow them to meet with their lawyer. The charge against them is “terrorizing the public.”

One wishes that politicians and generals could be similarly charged for making the same statements in Hebron and other Palestinian cities.

In that same vein, another group of young people plan to “lay siege” to Kokhav Ya’ir tomorrow, the upscale Israeli community where many Israeli generals reside. The announcement of the action reads:

Kokhav Ya’ir is a place inhabited by several army generals who endanger both our security and the security of the whole region. [Therefore, ] for security reasons, tomorrow, Thursday April 11, we will put a crown [siege] on this place to prevent these dangerous people from leaving it to [go about] their harmful business. Needed: people, vehicles and tools. Those interested in participating please contact us as soon as possible. Moran and Noam

A few weeks ago, another group staged a march with signs calling “Restore the British Mandate!” Perhaps they confused some onlookers, but the message was clear: British colonial rule of Palestine was in many ways more benign than the Israeli occupation.

This defiance of the Israeli occupation by the young – often daring, often with humor – helps expose the absurdities of the occupation and subvert the self-righteousness of its perpetrators.

And the most optimistic news lately is the growing reluctance of Israeli men to show up for army reserve duty. While not generally motivated by ideological reasons, this very absence of ideology is what is so encouraging.

Post-ideology would be such a relief.

Gila Svirsky

At-Home with Gila Svirsky

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© 2001 Gila Svirsky.

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