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International thoughts: Coping with the reality of Israeli occupation

by Iman

5 February 2012 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank

I am … well, it is not easy to explain.

I am overwhelmed, I am shocked, grateful yet disappointed, filled with love and anger, incomprehension filled my heart and an inability to truly understand what is going on.

On the one side I think I have seen it all and on the other hand it feels like I haven’t seen a thing. All this information regarding the illegal and destructive Israeli occupation are filling my head. I thought I was prepared before I arrived but I wasn’t. I came here to be an activist, to make a statement, to be of support for the Palestinian people on site as well as for those who I’ve left at home in Germany.

But I guess I will leave with a feeling of disappointment about myself, about not having done enough, about not having been well enough prepared and mostly about the fact, that I will leave before I got really started.

I’ve been to a demonstration, and what I experienced was confusing, hard,  and yet I have the urge to continuously take part in something that I will not fully understand as it is so unreal. I have inhaled the teargas, I saw the soldiers shooting into the crowd, aiming at houses with people who cannot escape from it. The Israeli soldiers seem not to have the slightest thought about the consequences of their brutal behavior.

I have experienced the checkpoint as an international, Muslim woman who wears the veil and observed the ignorant and mostly arrogant behavior of these young teenage soldiers. I am horrified, angry,  and left paralyzed by confusion as  I try to comprehend this behavior. I simply cannot imagine that the Palestinian people have to go through that every single day without having the possibility to leave as I do–without knowing that they can go home and are safe.

My brain has difficulties coping with that, coping with the fact that almost families are having their sons, husbands, brothers, uncles, mothers, and daughers, and wives arrested for no reason. They can be held in custody for 6 months without any reason, and these 6 months can endlessly be prolonged.

Can you imagine that? Can you understand that this can mean for Palestinians a imprisonment for years. Israel calls it “administrative arrest.”  I cannot, even though I’ve met some of these former prisoners and talked to them,  help but wonder if all of this is really happening.

But the answer is: YES!

Yes this is happening in addition to the regular house demolitions, leaving families with absolutely nothing. This is happening in addition to land theft by  Zionist Israelis in order for them to build their settlements and to create a settler army that is not only fanatic but simply insane, running around with weapons while jogging with their children, attacking peaceful Palestinians, and burning down the Palestinian olive trees out of hate.

Can you really imagine all that? I still can’t and yet I have seen some of that with my own eyes…

How is it possible?

I’ve met these brave people from ISM who all follow the same goal, to support the peaceful resistance, to fight the occupation, to show solidarity. I had the pleasure of taking part in it for a minute. I learned a lot and this journey, and it has shaped me – hopefully into a better person.

I will come back insha’Allah and I will spread the word. I hope I am able to keep on working with people and help to make a change in the lives of the Palestinian people.

May God bless all who struggle for Palestine and have an eye on their well being. Amen, Amen, Amen.

Iman, an international from Germany, is a volunteer with International Solidarity Movement.