In the words of a Palestinian peace activist - part 4
What terrifies me most
was that government officials have accused me of being a traitor and an Israeli collaborator who worked with Jews and Americans to endanger the security of Palestine. Suspected collaborators in Palestine are kidnapped, tortured, beaten, jailed and executed - both publicly and secretly. Nevertheless, I refused to stop working with Israeli Jews, Americans and others for the sake of achieving peace.
We met Arafat
due to the efforts of the founder of the parents circle, Yitzhak Frankenthal. He was able to arrange a visit to Arafat's office in Ramallah in order to issue the circle with an authorization written letter that allowed the Palestinian families to work side by side with our partners in pain, our Israeli Jews. Indeed it is funny that we as a Palestinian needed an Israeli Jew to let us into Arafat's office.
However, even a signed letter from the most powerful man in Palestine – The Leader – did not stop the harassments. It seemed it had no value as those government officials had different orders from their leadership; not to consider the letter. It was just ink on paper and they had a job to do.
Despite everything I still refused to stop working with Israeli Jews, Americans and others for the sake of achieving peace.
The death and kidnapping threats continued even more so after the successful "journey of hope" event. The event that displayed thousands of coffins covered with Israeli and Palestinian flags representing the thousands of casualties on both sides, was placed in Rabin Square in Tel-Aviv and then in New York City, and was broadcast on Al-Jazeera. The display was rejected by many Palestinians and Arabs around the world but for me it was the first main event that I have helped through the parents circle to promote peace. The event put my live in danger in spite of Arafat's Authorization letter as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad both have a zero tolerance policy towards peace, and seek to destroy peacemakers by accusing them of collaborating with Israel. Peace activists and suspected collaborators are routinely silenced, kidnapped, tortured and sentenced to death.
The policies towards suspected collaborators contradicted the Oslo II agreement that was signed during that time by the Palestinian Leader, Yasser Arafat. The agreement stated: “Palestinian who have maintained contact with the Israeli Authorities will not be subject to acts of harassment, violence, retribution or prosecution”.
This paragraph was designed to prevent the PA from taking punitive measures against Palestinians who worked on behalf of Israel during the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
In Gaza Strip, Hamas officials have killed and tortured thousands of Fatah members and other Palestinians who opposed their rules including Palestinian peacemakers and labeled them as Israeli informers, collaborators and in some cases accused them of being American CIA.
During the Battle of Gaza, more than 150 Palestinians were killed over a four day period. The violence among the Palestinians was described as a Civil War by some commentators. During the struggle between Hamas and Fatah over Gaza strip over 600 Palestinian people were killed.
To be continued…