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The occupation is now 50 years old and the political forces in power in Israel seem intent on silencing Israelis who want to see it end. We cannot afford to let these voices be stifled. Conflicts do end. But no problem that is swept under the rug will ever be solved.
We oppose the occupation because we care about Israel and about human rights. The occupation is Israel’s military rule over the lives of millions of Palestinians. And it hangs like a cloud over all of Israel, eroding democratic values, poisoning relations between Jews and Arabs within Israel, and undermining the prospects for peace.
We who care about Israel can join together, speak out boldly, and act in support of Israelis who are keeping the occupation on the public agenda.
A central part of the answer will need to come from the Israeli street, from a larger, more efficient, and better coordinated movement of Israelis who want to see the occupation end. In fact, the number of Israelis who oppose the occupation is bigger than most people realize. But they need to be better informed; they need to be able to speak out without fear of retribution; they need the connections and the know-how to effectively mobilize.
They also need to see that there is a worldwide network of people who care about Israel and who stand with them in the desire to see the occupation end.
That’s where we come in. We can provide the resources that these Israelis need. We can take a stand.
Right now, the New Israel Fund is investing in strategies to support Israelis opposed to the occupation and to provide them with the space to succeed, while showing all Israelis what takes place behind the both literal and figurative wall that separates them from their Palestinian neighbors.
Problems are never solved by denial. That’s why we are keeping the occupation in the public discourse — because Israelis need to see what the occupation is doing to Palestinians and to Israeli society. And because there is no way that the occupation will be addressed if it is pushed out of view.
50 years of occupation has done enough damage. The time has come for people like us to stand up and be counted. You can choose to stand with Israelis working against the occupation.