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Damian Clarke's Update From Palestine - 3


Damian Clarke's Update From Palestine - 3

Damian Clarke is a 31 year old from Miramar in Wellington, NZ and is currently in Palestine under training with the International Solidarity Movement - a group of internationalists campaigning for peace in the Middle East. Damian is writing to Scoop regularly about his experiences.

Kia Ora

Last night I spent my third night in Marda. It was also the third night in a row that the Israeli Occupation Forces had disturbed the peace with sound bombs. Last night one jeep came in to the village and detonated a sound bomb at 9.40pm, the night before it was two jeeps and one sound bomb at 2.55am. It's worth remembering that this was not the third night only for the locals.

I am beginning to get a clearer picture of motivations for some of the things going on in Marda. It could have something to do with the planned Apartheid wall. The official word is that the wall will go between Marda at the bottom of the hill and Ariel (the largest Israeli settlement in the West Bank)at the top of the hill. However there is also a map which shows the planned route of the wall running right through Marda. It would cut the town in half. A third possibility for the walls route is down the motorway which runs beside Marda. The Israeli government has been uprooting trees alongside this motorway with the stated purpose of widening the road. This road is already wide and is not very busy. If the wall takes this route then Marda will be on the same side of the wall as Ariel and will be cut off from other Palestinian towns in the West Bank.

Last night we were invited for coffee to a house near where we are staying. The Palestinians seem very hospitable and as a result I'm drinking copious tea and coffee. One of the lads there is a student at Nablus University. He has a scar on his arm where he needed to have seventeen stitches a year ago. He needed the stitches because his arm had been smashed by the butt of a gun. He now has plastic in his arm to replace some bone. His crime was that he forgot his student card. He also carries an identity card, but this apparently is not enough. His mate who also studies at the same university is onto his third student card. He was told each time by a soldier that his cards were not original. They were taken from him and torn in half.

Today I'm visiting a town called Zawya. We're here to use internet and to sit with the Palestinians in the solidarity tent. They are there to show support for the prison hunger strike which is into its eleventh day. Four strikers have been hospitalised as a result of this strike.

I used to play a game when I was little with my brothers and sisters. I would lie on the floor and one of my brothers or sisters would slowly drip water onto my forehead from a wet cloth. At first it just felt wet, but after a while it felt as though the drops of water were many times heavier and harder than they possibly could be. The game ended when I could no longer take it, then we would swap. Just a thought.

Kia Kaha

Damian Clarke


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