HEBRON: A Spiral of Violence
October 31, 2000
A Spiral of Violence
by Bob Holmes
The first and most devastating violence is the Occupation.
Next comes the violence of resistance in the Intifada. And
then, the massive military violence to repress the resistance.
On October 25, a school became for me an agonizing symbol of
this spiral of violence.
Osamma Bin Munqeth elementary school, built on a hilltop
overlooking the heart of Hebron, was confiscated by the
Israeli army at the start of this new Intifada. CPT observed
two tanks in the schoolyard, their guns pointing towards the
city. Soldiers on the roof threatened to shoot anyone who
approached. (See Update Oct.17).
Monday night, shots thundered from the school to the hillside
across the valley. In the morning Rich Meyer and I asked
soldiers what happened. They spoke of Palestinian gunmen
shooting at the Israeli settlements during the night and of the
army shooting back. A short time later Kawther Salaam and I
visited a family whose father had been killed by the bullets
from the school.
Machine gun fire had raked the front of a house, terrifying the
family huddled in the kitchen. A bullet broke through the front
window, an interior wall, the refrigerator and then lodged in
the wall beside them. The phone rang. Fifty-five year old
Abed Al-Azeez moved quickly to the living room and as he
reached for the phone his head exploded. Fares, Abed's son,
sitting with his wife in their bedroom of the house next door,
was startled by the bullets cracking through the window and
punching through two walls. Hearing that his father was hit,
Fares dashed across the fifteen feet of driveway, ten bullets
making deep pockets in the asphalt behind him.
These houses were on the opposite side of the hill from the
settlements and could not possibly have been the source of the
gunfire on the settlements. The family believes that their houses
were deliberately targeted because Abed was a known leader
in the Palestinian community; that this was an act of
intimidation and repression, not defense. It was a message of
terror sent in bullets, shouting, "Resist at your peril."
And so the violence spirals on. More occupation. More
Intifada. More repression. We remain believers in the third
way of Jesus - not flight or fight but nonviolent resistance. We
seek ways to witness to a breaking of the spiral through
nonviolent resistance to the basic and underlying violence of
the occupation in its myriad death-dealing manifestations.