Palestinian girl (15) published in Phili Inquirer
15-year-old Palestinian girl published in Philidelphia Inquirer + other reports
1) It exists not for security but for apartheid_Iltezam Morrar in the Philidelphia Inquirer 2) ISMer and Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein in the St. Louis Dispatch 3) "They killed him in cold blood"_Report from Jenin 4) Night raids in Al-Yamun_Report from Jenin
1) Philidelphia Inquirer http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/editorial/7994868.htm
Posted on Fri, Feb. 20, 2004
It exists not for security but for apartheid
A 15-year-old Palestinian student living in the West Bank
On Monday, the International Court of Justice in the Hague will begin hearings on the wall Israel is building around Palestinian cities and villages. I live in one of them: Budrus, a small village west of Ramallah. It is a very simple life here. Old women and farmers tend their sheep; children go to school, and people live together peacefully. Our village has many olive trees, which are very important for food and oil.
Americans should know that, from our viewpoint, the wall is not a security wall. Security and safety do not come from stealing land (Budrus lost about 80 percent of its village area in 1948, when Israel was formed, and stands to shrink by another 20 percent if the wall goes up). Security does not come from killing or harassing people (there is hardly a family in Palestine without some member who has been killed, hurt or imprisoned) or cutting trees (which Israeli officials have started doing around my village). So this is not a security wall. It is an apartheid wall.
Palestine will be separated into little pieces. Many people will be unable to go to work. Students won't be able to travel to university. After all this, when we are without land or olive trees, unable to work or study, people will leave. That is what the Israeli occupation is for. In 1953, for example, when Ariel Sharon led a military operation resulting in 69 civilian deaths at Qibya, the next village over from us, some people in Budrus were afraid and left. Everything the Israeli government has done is to make the people leave their land.
At the first demonstration to stop the wall in Budrus, only three old women participated with the men. I asked my father if the demonstrations were just for men, and he said no, they were for women as well. Some women and girls came to the next demonstration but left when they didn't see many other women. I told my father that we needed a demonstration only for women, and we made one.
On the first day Israeli officials came to cut the trees, I was at school. I said, "We should go; the land is more important than our exams." We marched to the fields, the boys and then the girls. Soldiers threw tear gas into the middle of us. We carried on; we were still holding our schoolbooks when we came to the Israeli captain. He was very angry and shouted, "Stop here. If you walk one more step, we will hit you." He pushed me, so I stood beside him and shouted "Free, free Palestine."
Because of the occupation, I cannot see my country. I can't travel in my country. It is like a big prison, and the wall will make it worse. If there were no occupation, I could be free. For me, the day my country is free will be my birthday. In the occupation, I have no future.
I want to study to help my country. I want to be a doctor, because here in Palestine, many people get hurt and there are few hospitals or doctors and little medicine. I want four children, but then, I want to be a doctor and will work late nights, so perhaps two is enough.
We don't hate Israelis because they are Israelis. The only thing between us is what we see as their theft of our land. If they gave back our land, nothing would be between us. We need enough land that all the Palestinian refugees who live outside could come and live here. Many Palestinians live in other countries, in tents, with no work.
Peaceful struggle is very important. It is the only way in which we can become free and stop the wall, even if we know the Israeli army does not want peace and will use violence. I think: If I use violence, all the children in Israel will feel in danger and they will use violence. So this makes the two sides always live in violence. It is important to show the world we are a peaceful people and all we want is peace.
The hearings in the Hague are very important even though we are not sure they will stop the wall. It is very important that the international community does something to say the wall should be stopped, even if it doesn't succeed.
Contact Iltezam Morrar at email@example.com.
================ 2) The Saint Louis Dispatch
THE MIDDLE EAST KNOW RESPECT, KNOW PEACE - NO RESPECT, NO PEACE By HEDY EPSTEIN 02/17/2004
Violence, humiliation only aggravate the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
In 1939, I left the village of Kippenheim, Germany, on a Kindertransport - a small group of children allowed to go to England - thus surviving the Holocaust. In December, I went to Israel to honor the memory of my parents, Ella and Hugo Wachenheimer, who did not survive the war against the Jews. At a monument near Jerusalem, I lit candles for my parents and for the other 80,000 Jews deported from France to the death camps.
It is impossible to visit Israel these days without being aware of the constant threat posed by terrorists. Suicide bombs kill and maim innocent persons riding in buses or taking a meal in a restaurant. We Jews who survived the Shoah know all too well that the intentional targeting of civilians is illegal and immoral. So I grieve the loss of life in Jerusalem from the suicide bombs.
But I also grieve the loss of life in Palestine, which occurs almost on a daily basis. So I went to Palestine as a member of the International Solidarity Movement to observe the difficult conditions of daily life under military occupation. It would have been enough to reach out and touch just one Palestinian and place my hand on her shoulder and tell her that I was with her in her pain. But I saw and did much more.
In Bethlehem, I saw a Caterpillar bulldozer ripping up centuries-old olive trees to clear a path for rolled razor wire and antitank trenches dividing the town where Jesus was born.
In Qalqilia, I was dwarfed by Israel's separation wall rising more than 25 feet. In President George W. Bush's phrase, it "snakes in and out of the West Bank." It keeps farmers from their fields and hems in 50,000 residents on all sides.
In Masha, I joined a demonstration against this wall. I saw a red sign warning ominously of "MORTAL DANGER" to any who dare cross this fence. Then I saw Israeli soldiers aiming at unarmed Israeli and international protesters. I saw blood pouring out of Gil Na'amati, a young Israeli whose first public act after completing his military service was to protest against this wall. I saw shrapnel lodged in the leg of Anne Farina, one of my traveling companions from St. Louis. And I thought of Kent State and Jackson State, where National Guardsmen opened fire in 1970 on protesters against the Vietnam War. Near Der Beilut, I saw the Israeli police turn a water cannon on our nonviolent protest. And I remembered Birmingham, Ala., in 1963 and wondered why a democratic society responds to peaceable assembly by trying literally to drown out the voice of our protest.
At the end of the journey I had a shocking experience. I knew that what I had said and done was viewed by some as controversial but surely not as threatening. So I did not imagine that the Israeli security force that guards Ben-Gurion Airport would abuse a 79-year-old Holocaust survivor, holding me for five hours and performing a completely unnecessary strip search of every part of my naked body.
The only shame these security officials expressed was to turn their badges around so that their names were invisible. The only conceivable purpose for this gross violation of my bodily integrity was to humiliate and terrify me.
Of course, I felt humiliated by this outrage, but I refuse to be terrified by cowards who hide their identity while engaging in such unnecessary disrespect. It is a cruel illusion that brute force of this sort provides security to Israel. Degrading me cannot silence my small voice.
Similarly, humiliating Palestinians cannot extinguish their hopes for a homeland. Only ending this utterly unnecessary occupation will bring peace to the region.
Hedy Epstein of St. Louis is a Holocaust survivor, Holocaust educator and longtime civil rights and peace activist. Her story is featured in the Academy Award winning documentary, "Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport."
3) "They killed him in cold blood" Jenin Andrew 16 Feb 04
I try to count the bullet holes that riddle the side, bonnet and roof of the car but lose count at 36. The distraction of the blood, hair and brain matter that cover the passenger and back seat proves too much. It strikes me at that moment that it hardly matters, there were bullets enough to kill a man. The car has been left at the side of the road, bloody, shot up, every window gone and tyres flat. Now a harsh and uncompromising memorial, with roses placed on the bonnet and roof, a shaheed poster pasted on the passenger door.
Read the full report: http://www.palsolidarity.org/reports/writings/16Feb04_09_21_08JeninAndrew.htm
4) Night raids in Al Yamun Jenin Andrew 15 Feburary 04
"We have no clothes, no food, no water, nothing remains for us" states Mohammed Hasan Mobada Ferihiat, 44 as he stands in the shattered remains of his home. Two sides of the room have been destroyed, the view over the village of Al Yamun now unimpeded save for the scaffold that is keeping the roof from crashing in on top of us. The remaining walls are scarred with blast marks, shrapnel holes and deep fissures, the floor sags ominously beneath our feet. Its is 10 hours since Israeli soldiers detonated explosives in this room shaking the house to its foundations and shattering the windows in the neighbouring home; 10 hours since Mohammed's son, Ashraf was taken handcuffed from his home to an uncertain future within the Occupation detention system.
Read the full report: http://www.palsolidarity.org/reports/writings/15Feb04_04_12_09JeninAndrew.htm
INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT www.palsolidarity.org
"For the tyrant has the power to
inflict only that which we lack the strength to resist"...