Umm Al-Hiran makes me grieve for the Jewish, Democratic state.

In the Jewish, democratic state of Israel on 18th January 2017, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, Ayman Odeh, a member of the third largest party in the Knesset, was shot in the head and back with rubber bullets by Israeli police.

In the Jewish, democratic state, the Supreme Court granted the right for the state to forcibly remove the residents of Umm Al-Hiran from their land to make way for a Jewish town of Hiran to be built there.

In the Jewish, democratic state, at around 5.30am armed police surrounded the village forcibly removing residents including a 100-year-old man and dozens of children.

In the Jewish, democratic state, hundreds of Bedouin villages were forcibly relocated in 1956, and were not (and continue to not be) connected to electricity or running water. They are classified as ‘unrecognised villages.’

In the Jewish, democratic state, the response to challenging illegal building in the occupied territories is to clamp down on ‘unrecognised’ Bedouin villages in the Negev – to keep the peace.

In the Jewish, democratic state, a Palestinian citizen of Israel was shot and killed after police claimed he ran over one of their own, when video footage indicates that he was shot first and lost control of his car.

In the Jewish, democratic state, there are those who want to demarcate between what happens over the Green Line and what happens within the boundaries of Israel proper, even when in the past 5 years, those boundaries have become increasingly less distinct.

In the Jewish, democratic state it comes down to a question of the rule of law, but what kind of law allows you to demolish Bedouin homes on a regular basis?

In the Jewish, democratic state, organisations like the KKL and the JNF participate in this displacement as diaspora communities prepare to put thousands of pounds into those little blue boxes for Tu Bishvat.

In the Jewish, democratic state, I spent my gap year learning about how Israel lives out the values of its Declaration of Independence, where all citizens are treated equally ‘regardless of race, gender or religion.’

In the Jewish, democratic state, technological innovation and communal identity are threaded through the fabric of society. So is state violence and displacement.

In the Jewish, democratic state, I wait for leaders and commentators to hide behind the ‘complexity’ of supreme court rulings as if this is more important than the lived experience of a circle of Bedouin women surrounding a house to prevent it from being bulldozed.

Waking up to the news of what happened in my Jewish democratic state this morning, I felt like I was grieving. I want so much to believe in an image of Israel that was fed to me when I was younger, one outlined in the Declaration of Independence. I want to believe that Jewish values play a role in creating a more just and fairer society and instead what I see are examples of Jewish violence and repression.

In the Jewish, democratic state, I watch Israel eat itself from the inside.










About the Author
Emily is a Jewish anti-occupation activist living in the UK. She has written for the Independent, +972 Magazine and the Guardian.
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