Life of alienation | Machsomwatch
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Life of alienation

Life of alienation

Haaretz - Letters to the Editor
Sylvia Piterman and Tamy Sheleff

Regarding "Adventures of the Green Prince," Haaretz Magazine, February 26


Mosab Hassan Yousef is one of many. The Shin Bet security service exploits the distress of tens of thousands of blacklisted Palestinians, and leaves some of them two choices: collaboration with the occupier - meaning ostracism and even death threats - or giving up the chance of having a livelihood in Israel - meaning starvation and economic hardship. Recruiting collaborators indeed may bring life-saving information, but it also creates a regime reminiscent of those of the darkest periods in history, where survival depended on threatening informers.

Residents of the occupied territories are protected persons, and [the 1949 Geneva Convention] states: "No physical or moral coercion shall be exercised against protected persons, in particular to obtain information from them or from third parties." Can the authorities justify their actions by claiming that a Palestinian resident has become involved in collaborative activities of his own free will?

In a 2005 ruling, Judge Aharon Barak offered this interpretation while dealing with a similar subject: "In general, according to humanitarian law, [a person] must not relinquish his rights ... because in practice it is really hard to estimate when consent is given out of free will, or when it is the product of overt or covert pressure ..."

Long-term occupation of the territories has turned Israel into a serial law-breaker and the only way for it to return to the family of nations is to retreat to the 1967 borders in the context of a political agreement with our Palestinian neighbors.

And regarding Mosab Yousef, this is important to remember: It is not difficult to recruit a 19-year-old informer, who after having been recruited cannot go back. Those who boast are always the operators, but the people themselves, who were informers within their community, and even within their own family, are condemned to a life of loneliness and alienation.

Sylvia Piterman


Tami Shellef