26 September 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank
A child of about eight years old sneaks past a multitude of soldiers at as they hold back Al Rumeida residents from climbing the hill to their homes. He runs into the corner store, comes out and joyously waves his forbidden purchases at them–a bag of candy—and continues running home. A settler funeral was going on in a Jewish cemetery half way up the hill. Although the procession only took about two hours, Checkpoint 56 at the bottom of the hill was closed for five hours.
Palestinian women on the bus chat happily and endure the wait it takes to fill the bus from Bethlehem to Hebron. A young Bedoin woman with a small child does not miss the opportunity to try to make a sale. She shows the lone tourist on the bus some exquisitely woven money bags and pillow shams. Everyone hustles: it is called survival. Whether it is olive soap, scarfs, kafiyas, watches, Kleenex packages, or bread, Hebron Palestinians hauk their wares daily.
A merchant selling fruit juice noisily liquefies carrot juice five meters from where the supposed Settler Hebron Tour passes. According to the sanctimonious settler, something happened to someone who lived or died some 100 or 2,000, or 3,000 years ago. The merchant grinds on.
A gaggle of children, some as young as four years old, run and bang on metal doorways yelling in unison as they hurry through the old city alleys together with journalists and international observers, only to be stopped at intervals by many soldiers who protect the Saturday Jewish Settler Hebron Tour. A small child pushes his metal cart through the cobblestones. The din is deafening. Local Palestinian merchants sitting in their stalls endure it for the sake of resistance. This has been going on for years. They wait. The Zionist settlers look terrified even though one of the strongest military in the world protect their parade.
They have been taught from a very young age that the Palestinians want to kill them or push them into the sea. It is a tragic drama where the aggressors play the role of victims although in reality, all are victims, either of deception or of cruelty.
A woman merchant is accosted by a gang of settlers during the tour. One tells her that her Palestinian map is wrong: that it should be all Israel. She stands up to them, albeit afraid, and declares it is indeed Palestine and if they don’t like it they can go elsewhere. “We have been here for 64 years, and we will be here another 64 years,” she said, defiantly. And they will.