Regardless of one’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, all American Jews who support Israel should understand the affects of Israel’s continued occupation and/or blocade of Palestinian territories (the West Bank and Gaza) on Israeli society.
It is astonishing how many Americans do not realize that Israel does not claim – and has never claimed – sovereignty over the occupied territories since taking control of these areas in 1967. This is precisely why they are called “occupied” rather than Israel (except for the extreme fundamentalist Jews who continue to claim these territories as “Greater Israel”, or Judea and Samaria). So, Israel’s occupation of these Palestinian lands for the past 40 years is the longest military occupation in modern history – supported by the majority of American Jews, of all stripes (as well as our government).
While Americans are increasingly aware of the consequences of this occupation on the Palestinians (though more of us should make themselves aware of this), we seldom have the opportunity to consider how this extended military occupation has affected Israeli Jewish citizens — Fortunately, more than 500 Israeli Defense Force (IDF) veterans have joined together to communicate their experiences in a project called Shovrim Shtika/Breaking the Silence. Anyone concerned for the well-being of Israel and its citizens should take a few minutes to have a look at this exhibit of photos, interviews and testimonies of Israeli Defense Force veterans of the Palestinian occupied territories available in part online and currently making an American tour (Philadelphia, New York, and Boston).