The Occupation From the Air

Dear Friend,

For the first time ever, the annual Independence Day Israeli Airforce flyover on Thursday will include Hebron and the adjacent settlement of Kiryat Arba, in addition to other West Bank settlements. 

The Israeli military insists that the unprecedented Hebron flyover has no political significance or intention. But Americans for Peace Now has the clear vision to see exactly what this flyover means - an audacious salute to the settlement enterprise, already being celebrated by the settler leaders in Hebron.

From 5,000 feet, the pilots of the IAF’s aerobatics squadron will be hard pressed to see the brutal reality in downtown Hebron, where several hundred Jewish settlers have displaced thousands of Palestinian residents and merchants. From that vantage point, people will appear as tiny ant-like dots – both the Israeli settlers who enjoy full civil rights, and the Palestinian residents whose basic liberties have been denied for the past 55 years under a repressive Israeli military occupation.

From the air, flying over Kiryat Arba, the pilots will not see the burial site of Baruch Goldstein, the American-born Israeli terrorist, who in 1994 murdered 29 Muslim worshipers at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron and wounded 125 others. Goldstein is buried at Kiryat Arba’s Meir Kahane memorial public park. His tomb has become a pilgrimage site for the area’s Jewish ultra-nationalists. The tombstone depicts this mass murderer as a “martyr,” who had “clean hands, and a pure heart.”

From the air, the pilots won’t see their friends, fellow IDF soldiers, clashing with Palestinian teens carrying flags and rocks to demand their dignity, freedom and national independence, denied since 1967.

Israel’s national independence is worthy of celebration. We at APN celebrate our Jewish homeland and its many accomplishments and revel in it on Israel’s Independence Day – and year-round. We are committed to Israel’s security and wellbeing. We yearn for it to thrive as a democracy that is true to its founding values of justice and peace.

This is precisely why we so strongly oppose the occupation. We oppose Israel’s occupation of another people. We oppose the creeping normalizing of the occupation within Israeli society. We oppose seeing this intolerable anomaly being tolerated and normalized to the extent that it has numbed the hearts and minds of so many Israelis and their friends abroad.

We clearly see the facts on the ground. And we know that for Israel to be truly free and independent, it must liberate the Palestinians of its military rule, and liberate itself of the occupation. We see clearly that ruling over another people not only denies the Palestinians their liberty and independence but also denies Israel its character as a democracy, as a peace-seeking ethical and just society that can be accepted as a respectable member of the family of nations.  

Your support of APN keeps our eyes focused on what is happening on the ground. Please make a gift today to help us continue to document and expose the ugly reality of the occupation, and help fellow Americans understand what we can do to help fix it.

We have never been distracted by flashy aerobatics or by propaganda acrobatics. We observe and document the occupation. And while we celebrate  what Israel is and what it means to us, we also work to fix what is broken, reverse what is unjust and create an Israel of which we can be proud every day.

Thank you for your generous contribution and for your commitment to a peaceful future.