Employees work at the offices of "Breaking the Silence" in Tel Aviv, Israel.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Left-wing NGO Breaking the Silence published this week a book marking 50 years of Israel’s control of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The book, Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation, is a collection of stories written by authors from 14 countries about their experiences in the region.
The authors were brought to Israel and the Palestinian territories throughout 2016, when they took part in Breaking the Silence tours and journeyed to east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The authors met with Israelis and Palestinians from various fields, including human rights activists, businessmen, farmers, settlers, lawyers, academics and writers.
Each author was given the option to expand and direct his local tour according to his interests and wishes, Breaking the Silence said. It said that the editors of the book, Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, invited the authors to take part in this project based on their writing excellency and influence, not their political views.
The NGO explained Waldman’s motives: When members of Breaking the Silence met her in 2014, they invited her to tour Hebron, “a city of more than 200,000 Palestinians, with a settlement of a few hundred Israeli settlers – guarded by hundreds of Israeli soldiers – lodged at its core. What she witnessed disturbed her greatly.”
“Storytelling itself – bearing witness, in vivid and clear language, to things personally seen and incidents encountered,” the NGO quoted Chabon and Waldman as saying, “has the power to engage the attention of people like us, who had long since given up paying attention, or have simply given up.”
Amit Deri, chairman and founder of Reservists on Duty, told The Jerusalem Post that this book is yet another step by Breaking the Silence in its effort to create a false image of Israel and the IDF.
“They are bringing these authors to places like Hebron, while they have no clue about the Israel-Palestinian conflict,” he said. “They are not telling them that this is one of the most complicated cities in the world, and they show them only a small part of it.
“They tell them that the IDF is closing them [the Palestinians] in their houses, but they never tell about the terrorist attacks there,” Deri added. “They are using authors in order to intensify the volume of their message, but they portray a false image.”