In January 2001, three Jewish Jerusalemite women first saw a military checkpoint in the West Bank and obeyed their conscience. From this point, MachsomWatch grew as an organization whose members are women of all walks of life in Israeli society. Within two years our number rose from 75 to 500, women were thoroughly convinced that with our activity we would put an end to the occupation.
We have no administration, are all volunteers and our decisions are made by voting in a plenary meeting. We reach every place accessible inside the Occupied Territories: the numerous and different military checkpoints; Palestinian villages in areas far and near; persecuted shepherd communities in faraway areas, and the military courts where Palestinians stand trial. From the beginning, we have been writing and documenting what we have seen, heard, and understood. The information we collect has been posted on our website and sent to Members of Israel’s Knesset (parliament) and journalists – for the more Palestinians were harmed, the less Israeli media reported this. With the silence of the media grew the public’s lack of interest and mistrust of the harsh realities of occupation with which it was complicit.
The checkpoints are merely the visible aspect of the Occupation story.
The depth of harm wrought upon every aspect of Palestinian life cannot be seen from Tel Aviv, Haifa, or Beer Sheva. With the lack of fair media coverage, the Israeli public has been unable to follow the State’s systematic takeover of Palestinian lands (de-facto annexation); understand and perhaps even identify with the fate of people, humiliated and helpless, who cannot control their own destiny nor protect their own property, children and families; learn how vulnerable Palestinians are as anyone may burn their fields and cut down their olive groves, run havoc at night in the streets of their villages, intimidate, threaten and harm without being accountable, and in innumerable cases even backed up by the army and the State itself.
We painfully watch how destructive the occupation is for our own children, the soldiers who only ‘obey orders’ during their military service.
We have taken it upon ourselves to recount the reality of the Occupation, publicize and pass on to the un-knowing Israeli public what has been taking place just minutes away from its homes, and in its name.