Can you imagine watching your land, your house and your child’s playground being bulldozed and demolished?
“It’s emotionally exhausting,” said Gal Maugah Lugassi. “I’d rather get shot with a rubber bullet than have to go through that.”
Lugassi, an Israeli activist and representative for Anarchists Against the Wall spoke during a guided discussion Tuesday about her experiences, the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and the isolation of Palestinians from the rest of the world.
About 35 people attended the open forum, Stand Up Against The Wall: Liberate Palestine, hosted by Students for Justice in Palestine at the Reitz Union in Room 282.
According to Vice President Mohammad Tina, the group spent $500 on the event.
Lugassi spoke of riot-control methods such as skunk water, teargas and rubber bullets, which are everyday occurrences for Palestinians within Bil’in and Nebi Salah. The persistent peoples within these Palestine cities have rioted every Friday for the past six and four years respectively.
“There will be justice when the occupation is removed,” Tina said, “when the Apartheid Wall is removed and when Palestinians are given full human rights.”
The Wall, which began construction in 2002, will run over 400 miles and zigzag through 10 out of 11 West Bank districts.
During the open forum, a video clip was shown, illustrating life within Palestine. Members of the Israeli Defense Force were shown destroying olive trees and guarding checkpoints.
Lugassi said that taking away olive trees is like taking away a basic human right of Palestinians— the right to provide for themselves with dignity.
Israelis have privileges that people who live a few miles away don’t have, she said.
“I’m forced to call them privileges because the people I meet every week don’t have them.”
Lugassi said the AATW is here to raise awareness about the struggle and raise money for legal costs. Lugassi said she has been arrested at least seven times at demonstrations.
Tina made sure to clarify that Palestinians are against Zionists and the occupation, and not Judaism.
“Have an open mind and don’t be spoon fed things,” Tina said. “It’s a cold world out there, and we have to be aware.”