It’s my third time visiting Palestine, and not much is different. I was just commenting to my co-volunteers on how I’ve already written about such and such issue, I can’t do it again… but my housemate here pointed out the truth: repetition is life here. If reading the same stories over and over feels exasperating, imagine living it.
A few days ago, we were called by Maher, a town leader in a village in the north of the West Bank, very close to the actual 1967 green-line border of Israel. In fact, it’s right next to an Israeli town where 70% of this Palestinian village population worked before the intifada (or “uprising”) began and Palestinians were no longer allowed entry inside Israel. When we arrived, Maher led us to a home and explained how, as the family was religious, we would be visiting with the women and a family member would translate for us. We entered a room where 50 women sat on floor mattresses against the wall. It was the final day of the three day mourning period in which family members and neighbors sit with the father, brothers, sisters, spouse, and mother of the deceased from morning till night. We sat next to the mother and wife of Omar, a 28-year-old Palestinian man who was assasinated while walking with his wife and 30-day old baby from his brother’s house next door after an evening visit. Plain clothes officers jumped out from the entrance way in his apartment building and shot him 3 times, put the baby in his arms and told his wife that if she screamed, the baby would die as well. They ran towards the road where military jeeps stood waiting.
Did the family contact a lawyer? They said no. See, Omar’s brother is in prison. After a long period of hiding from the military police, he was finally imprisoned last year. Omar’s family knows he has been tortured and fears even more retaliation if they initiate a legal battle with the Israeli military.
Almost EVERY single Palestinian family has had a few people imprisoned in Israeli jails and few people die from Israeli bullets. Where would your anger lie?