Sophia's Peace Work

Friday, July 30, 2004

A Day in West Jerusalem

Today we went to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in W. Jerusalem ... what always strikes me are the pictures and the stories of the people who quietly walked up to a trench nearly filled with dead bodies and stood there, often silently, waiting to be shot and added to the pile.  It really shakes me to the core.  First that they could do it so peacefully (?!?) and second that there was someone who could not only watch that happen but pull the trigger as well.

I noticed they had some old signs up ... "Kill the Jews" and I couldn't help be reminded of the sign I had read recently spray-painted on a wall in the Old City of Hebron ... it was written in Russian (many settlers come from Russia) but Jim a CPT member translated it for me.  "Kill the Arabs" it said. 

The other minor note about the museum was that I never saw a single description, display or even an exit sign written in Arabic.  Technically atleast Israel is a bi-lingual state ... Hebrew and Arabic.  You would think that Israelis might want Arab people of the surrounding region to understand who they are and what they have been through ... you would think they'd include some Arabic.  I'm certain, given the current situation, that most of their visitors are not Arabic speakers but Israeli Palestinians can go to the museum as can E. Jerusalem Palestinians ... and I would assume, because of the treaties with Jordan and Egypt, that atleast some Arabs come from those countries (but maybe I'm wrong).

Also today, we went to a Women in Black vigil at a square in W. Jerusalem not far from the Old City.  I know Women in Black from protests against the Iraq war in my town back in the states.  But these women (and a few men), dressed primarily in black and holding signs with English, Hebrew and Arabic that read "End the Occupation" are the roots of the Women in Black movement.  They are Israeli women protesting the on-going war and occupation of the Occupied Territories.  Their reception was either outright hositility (Several drivers passed by and told them they were "traitors") or indifference.  I was told by one woman that even when Palestinians drive by they avert their faces ... they are so used to pro-Israeli/anti-Palestinian rallies that they assume that that is what Women in Black is doing as well.

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