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  On Recruiting Informers.      

Need a permit to go to Amman for cancer treatment? No problem. Work for us and you’ll have it. Want to go study in Egypt? Visit your dying sister in Saudi Arabia? Get out of prison? Stop getting beaten up? Sit in jail for a single year instead of ten? Be eligible for family unification? Live with your children? Get treated in the only institution that might save your life? Keep your magnetic card? Your work permit? No problem. You help us, we’ll help you.

And on and on it goes, at every nook and cranny, Israel persists with one of its most horrible, sinister and stealthy crimes – the recruitment of collaborators. All black-listed, all guilty, unless you go say ‘yes’ to the ‘captain’. Black-listed regardless of what they’ve done or not done, prevented a-priori, so that any natural right should have to be purchased. Offer something in return. And that something is betrayal.

Want to accompany your ill baby to Hadassah Hospital, to be at his side? No problem, says the ‘captain’ who is actually the Shabak (secret/security services) officer. Just say "I am willing to tell you who throws stones in my village, who rebuilt their home after it was demolished, give you as many names as you ask for, guilty or not, five or ten, as many as you wish” and then you can accompany your baby. And cure him. And have money to buy him baby food. And the triple vaccination.
Did you say no? Goodbye then. It’s your own choice.
And the baby? What about him?
It’s all in your hands. You must decide whether to save him. Help us, we’ll help you.

The right to life, to work, to health, to education – are not to be taken for granted under Israeli Occupation. They are conditional. Goods to be traded. Everything is negotiable. You can choose not to be shot, not to have your house demolished, to study, work, get medical care even inside Israel. You just need to say that one tiny, terrible word. “Yes”. Yes, I’ll work for you.

Thus behind the checkpoints that are removed and re-erected, removed and re-erected, behind the Jews-only roads that are constantly improved, behind the institutionalized land-grab, the indiscriminate killing, the starvation, the humiliation, the ethnic cleansing carried out in broad daylight, lies the most sophisticated bomb activated against the Palestinian people. It’s a transparent bomb. Hits and remains invisible. It impacts, unreported. Mostly. For whoever said “yes” to the Occupation forces, will not admit it. Will not tell. Will not be counted.
And this bomb – recruitment of collaborators – is activated exactly in the place that is supposed to be protected even under Occupation: civil space. That space that Israel, according to the conventions it is signatory to, is supposed to facilitate. Those civil needs that are to be provided for population under occupation, not denied. That which official Israel keeps claiming that it does.
There, in the Civil Administration, lies this terrible bomb. At any junction of needs. That is where the real occupation is carried out. There lie the real checkpoints that only grow with time. And the real wall stretches out and deepens. And the cold, cynical darkness that has no borders, whose emissaries are Shabak agents. “Captain Zakai” or “Moussa” or “Tomer”, whose names these are not, of course. And they, unknown or documented by name, they are those who stand at every junction of civil application in order to refuse it, to condition it. Soft spoken, while offering a cup of coffee, a cigarette. There the monstrous words are uttered, in outstanding politeness: no problem, just work for us.

After these words, pending on the answer given, the dying Palestinian who said “no” will go back to die, or will not see his dying sister, or will not go to study or work or see his children.
Or he’ll say “yes”, I’ll work for you, and will receive a work permit, and the right to have chemotherapy unavailable in the Occupied West Bank because medical infrastructure is just not adequate, because Israel will not enable it, and then die anyway. Because beyond the “yes” lies a huge, bottomless pit of no return. It is but the beginning of the end. Danger of death, ostracism, malediction, and remorse. A chronicle known from the onset which people suppress in moments of desperation and weakness. All those good people who answer “yes” to a question so difficult to withstand.

And for this crime, this silent, this damned, this transparent crime with which Israel has caused good, normal people to cross the lines of no return and betray their own people – Israel will be infamous for all eternity.

We have several stories of people who told Shabak captains “no” and paid a heavy price.
Muawiya said “no” and lost his livelihood, Eyad said “no” and had to part from his own children, Faisal who – in order to say “no” – nearly did the ultimate.
And this is their story.
And this is the story of the Occupation, from its onset to the present day.

Aya Kaniuk and Tamar Goldschmidt. Translated by Tal Haran.

 
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