Monday, April 5, 2010

A rare voice of courage: journalist Gideon Levy interviewed

"DC: As an Israeli Jew, have you encountered hostility from Palestinians during your work in the Occupied Palestinian Territories?

Gideon Levy: Never. And this is unbelievable. I've been traveling there for 25 years now. I've been to [the scene of] most of the biggest tragedies one day after they happened. There were people who lost five children, seven children in one case.

I was always there the morning after and I would have appreciated if they told me, "Listen we don't want to talk to an Israeli, go away." Or if they would tell me: "You are as guilty as much as any other Israeli." No, there was always an openness to tell the story. There was this naive belief or hope that if they tell it to the Israelis through me, the Israelis will change, that one story in the Israeli media might also help them.

They don't know who I am. The grassroots have never heard about me; it's not like I have a name there. The only time we were shot in our car was by Israeli soldiers. That was in the summer 2003. We were traveling with a yellow-plate taxi, an Israeli taxi: bullet-proof, otherwise I wouldn't be here now. It was very clear it was an Israeli taxi. We were following a curfew instruction. An officer told us: "You can go through this road." And when we went onto this road, they shot us. I don't think they knew who we were. They were shooting us as they would shoot anyone else. They were trigger-happy, as they always are. It was like having a cigarette. They didn't shoot just one bullet. The whole car was full of bullets.

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