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The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil,    but because of the people who don't do anything about it    
Occupation magazine - Activism

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The Intimacy of Evil ( Don`t Say We Didn`t Know!)

By Amos Gvirtz amosg@shefayim.org.il

What hasn`t already been said and written about the Bedouin village El
Araqib in the Negev? These are people struggling for the right to their land
and their right to continue living in their village as it existed before the
establishment of Israel. On Wednesday August 21st I was witness to the
ongoing evil that the authorities perpetrate against them. I arrived there
with another human rights activist to maintain a Jewish presence in the
village alongside the unwanted Bedouin citizens. And indeed we didn`t have
to wait long before vehicles from the Israel Lands Authority (ILA), the
Green Patrol and the Police arrived to enforce the law on the `Bedouin
criminals.` When I later thought about what I had seen, it occurred to me
that I had witnessed the intimacy of evil.

It turned out that everyone knew everyone else. The ILA man seemed very
determined. He filmed everyone present and handed out orders to his workers
and to a policeman. I had the impression that he was not only carrying out
his mission, but that he identified with it. The workers seemed to just be
doing their job. The Bedouin knew him. They told me that his name was Yair
and mentioned a disease he was suffering from. At a certain point, when he
went to his car, he noticed that I was laughing in my conversation with a
local activist. This aroused his anger … that I had dared to laugh. I
reminded him of what the anti-Semites had done, and wondered if he
understood the similarity between his actions and theirs.

One of the Bedouin women started arguing loudly with the policeman. She was
angry that on his last visit he had run after her among the gravestones and
tried to arrest her: `If I did something like that in the cemetery of your
ancestors you would shoot me.` Afterwards she showed me a film of the event
on her cell phone.

I felt with fury the impotence that overtook everyone present, the Bedouin
and us. But we all knew the limitations and acted accordingly. At one point
the policeman detained a young man who was giving strong vocal expression to
his rage, but he was released a short time later.

The frames of the few shacks that stood on the ground were dismantled, their
wooden planks were confiscated, and the invading force returned safely to
its base. Only we remained at the site, not knowing what to do with our
shame and our anger.


Questions and clarifications: amosg@shefayim.org.il
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