The following testimony was sent to me by someone I met last night serendipitously. It’s her daughter’s written testimony that she has submitted to the UN. After her amazing letter I will add details of how you can send something to them too if you were caught up in the war. I’m sorry this is last minuted: they are taking submissions until 31st January (tomorrow).
Mali is young Israeli woman who grew up in the centre of Israel: living on land returned to Israel only after 1967. She studies at Ben Gurion University in the south (which is close to Gaza). This is her testimony to the UN commission that is researching the effect of the latest Gaza war on civilians.
Letter to the United Nations:
My name is Mali; I am a student of computer science at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva, Israel. A few months ago, three boys were kidnapped from a bus stop by terrorists. Two of those boys went to my brother’s school. They were kidnapped from the same bus station my brother uses in order to travel home on weekends. It could have been him. But it wasn’t. Not this time. This time, some other family was robbed of their dearest love one, and my family was left to live with the daily fear that next time, it could be one of us. Every time my brother travels home, he could be taken away by some act of pure violence. I don’t deserve to live with that threat hanging over my head.
After the bodies were found, the war began. Beer Sheva was bombed daily. I had just started midterms, and I lived in an apartment with no bomb shelter. All exams were cancelled, postponed until further notice. Needless to say, the effect on my academic achievements was not good. Although I had more time to learn, I couldn’t. Like all other Israelis, I was glued to the news, waiting, dreading, I might recognize a name among the fallen soldiers. I didn’t study much. Eventually, a familiar name came up. The brother of one of my former class mates was killed. Due to these facts, my average went down, which could have a negative effect when I will interview for jobs in the future.
During the war, I travelled home to my house in Yehuda. On the way, my bus was attacked by Arab boys who stoned the bus with rocks. The rocks shattered the window I was leaning on. If the bus hadn’t been stone proof, I would have been killed. So when I was home I was attacked by rocks, and when I was in my dorms, I was attacked by rockets. I have attacked no one.
But when there was finally a ceasefire, the war was not over at all. Arab leaders declared a “Sacred War” against Israel, named “Intifada”. This being the third one against Israel. Every few days, there is a terror attack. People are being slaughtered going to the supermarket. Worshippers are being beheaded in their synagogue. One of the beheaded men was the brother of our neighbor. He and his wife were guests in our house. He was a good man, a good husband, and a good father. And he was murdered, solely for being Jewish.
Every day my mother leaves for work; I fear she will get stabbed. Every time I open a news site, I catch my breath, expecting bad news. And one time out of ten, the bad news is there. Reporting how an eleven year old girl had a Molotov cocktail burn off her face. How a girl who survived being stabbed in a terror attack a few years previously, was stabbed to death this time, another terrorist came back to finish the job. How brave police men and soldiers, who killed terrorists in action, are being prosecuted for murder. Because you, United Nations, have decided that we have the right to protect ourselves, but only under your terms. Every free man has the right to live, and right to defend that very right. Every man should be free to protect himself, without needing to calculate how many years in jail he will serve for defending his people. Every free man has the right to live without fear of going to the grocery store.
No man has the right to attack and murder a nation. Israel has committed no crime to justify such violence. I live in Yehuda. The land my house is built on, belongs to me. It wasn’t stolen, or confiscated. And even if some truly believes that my land should be given to them, it doesn’t justify using repetitive violent methods to achieve those goals. It doesn’t justify attacking Israel, and then lying to the world, claiming to be the victims.
Every Arab I see in the street heightens my senses. I can’t help but think I might be looking at a terrorist. And that does not make me racist; it makes me full of fear.
I have lost the luxury of trust.
And no individual should be so subjected to terror that it results in their giving up on the human race altogether.
If you can write something and send it to the UN today or tomorrow, please do. Full details of how to do this are on the site HearOurVoices:
U.N. Call For Submission Of Testimony
The United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict (established pursuant to resolution A/HRC/RES/S-21/1) has the mandate to “to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014, whether before, during or after”. The Commission of Inquiry interprets this mandate as including investigations of the activities of Palestinian armed groups in Gaza, including attacks on Israel, as well as the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip and Israeli actions in the West Bank including East Jerusalem. The Commission of Inquiry is looking at a broad range of alleged violations committed by all parties, and is considering the full range of human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights. The Commission of Inquiry will report to the Human Rights Council in March 2015.
The United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict invites individuals, groups and organizations to submit information and documentation related to its mandate, as outlined in the summary above.
Procedure for submissions:
Submissions should be sent no later than 31 January 2015 in a written form and must include the contact details for the author(s) of the submission;
Submissions may be sent:
By email to: email@example.com
By post to: The United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, Palais de Nations, CH-1211 Geneva, Switzerland
- Please indicate whether the submission, or any part of it, should be treated confidentially.
- The Commission of Inquiry encourages contributors to submit information in all UN languages and in Hebrew.