Amos Gvirtz, an Israeli Peace activist from Kibbutz Sheffayim, north of Tel Aviv, is founder of Palestinians and Israelis for Nonviolence and a chairperson for the Israeli Committee against Home Demolitions.
Amos last came to Toronto on April 7, 2015 to speak on behalf of the rights of the indigenous Bedouin Israelis in the Negev. “Being Bedouin in a Jewish state: dispossessing Palestinian- Israeli citizens inside Israel”
Growing up on a kibbutz north of Tel Aviv Gvirtz always heard the lame excuse of many Germans that they did not know what was transpiring in Nazi Germany. He has made it his mission to tell his fellow Israelis and indeed the world, what is happening to the most vulnerable citizens of Israel, the Bedouin, a people who are seeing their land stolen from under them.
It is these poor communities that Amos Gvirtz defends, a true mensch a Jew of Conscience.
Weekly Amos connects with an international audience with his “Don’t Say We Did Not Know” information about unpublicized events affecting the Palestinian and Bedouin communities. Gvirtz’ new book of the same title examines the problems resulting from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory.
These citizens have been in the Negev since Abraham was a baby (about 4,000 years) and they are now called “trespassers on State land” .Their travail is hidden from North Americans who are knee jerk supporters of Israel come what may but their treatment reflects just how low Zionism has sunk and why many North American Jews are getting off this failed movement whose policy is well expressed by historian Ilan Pappé as “incremental genocide.”
Amos,like his biblical precessor from Tekoa is one of those great israeli Jews of Conscience who simply can not live with the largely hidden war on the real indigenous people of Palestine, the Bedouins.He has become one of their ardent defenders.
IDF destroying Al Araqib
In November, 2014 We met Amos in Al Araqib a Bedouin village which had been destroyed 77 times in four years. Now as of November 1,2018 it has been bulldozed 135 times. Amos became our translator for his good friend Sheikh Sayah Al-Turi. before the sheikh addressed us as per usual among Palestinians, no matter how poor they are, hospitality comes first. And so it was on this day. The Sheikh barely needed a translator as he laid out the outrageous treatment of these Israeli citizens.
SHEIKH Sayah Al-Turi
Approximately every two or three weeks, soldiers arrive with bulldozers and raze their living quarters. According to a report published by Dukium, the Negev Coexistence for Civil Equality “it is part of the government’s broader policy designed to compel Bedouin citizens to abdicate ownership over their ancestral lands and move to recently recognized villages or townships. Though over 70,000 people reside in unrecognized villages in Israel, the state denies their existence.”
As further explained in the report, the villages are not indicated on governmental maps or road signs, and are deprived of public services – electricity, water, health, education and transportation infrastructure and services. Israel destroys about 1,000 of their homes each year to force them into two towns with the highest rates of unemployment and poverty in Israel.
This staggers the imagination that the powerful state who always does what it wants to the weak and oppressed will go to these lengths to hound a poor community struggling to cope with the loss of grazing land for flocks.
Al-Araqeeb represents the story of all of Palestine and its people.
Israel destroys about 1,000 of their homes each year to force them into two towns with the highest rates of unemployment and poverty in Israel.
Dozens of Palestinians, including officials, demonstrated yesterday in support of the Palestinian village of Al-Araqeeb which has been demolished by Israeli Occupation Forces more than 130 times, Arab48 reported.