28 April 2010
PALESTINE: Twenty-five insanities of the Israeli Occupation
By Paulette Schroeder
[Note: According to the Geneva Conventions, the International Court of Justice in the Hague, and numerous United Nations resolutions, all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) are illegal. Most settlement outposts are considered illegal under Israeli law.]
"That's insane!" I often insist as Palestinian friends tell me about one more restriction in their daily lives. The following list I have compiled mentions some of these insanities.
- In Bethlehem, workers arrive at the Gilo checkpoint to go to East Jerusalem a few hours early in order to get to their work just on the other side of the checkpoint on time.
- A friend who was standing with Palestinians for 1.5 hours inside the Gilo Checkpoint reports seeing an Israeli poster with the caption, "Feel the Glory."
- People crossing through the heavily militarized Gilo checkpoint into Bethlehem read the sign, "Peace be with you."
- A fifteen-year-old neighbor boy from Hebron’s Old City, accused of throwing a stone, is now in prison, and will carry that record for his life.
- A Palestinian mother tells a group of soldiers that settlers are throwing stones at her house. The soldiers respond by arresting her thirteen-year-old daughter.
- Soldiers lead a blindfolded child playing with/throwing stones behind a military gate, putting a dog near him to breathe down his neck. (see HEBRON REFLECTION: Arrests of children in Hebron’s Old City)
- On the first day of school this year, soldiers detain twelve teachers from a boys' school in Hebron for one hour.
- Every day young Palestinian children have their bags searched at checkpoints for weapons as they travel to school. (See HEBRON REFLECTION: Clipping an angel’s wing)
- An elderly blind Palestinian man must grope his way through the turnstile and beeper at the Ibrahimi mosque checkpoint. When he finally gets through the beeping machine, he must search, with his hands to find all of the belongings soldiers forced him to take out of his pockets.
- After folding up his wheelchair, a disabled man struggles to navigate both himself and his wheelchair through the same checkpoint’s turnstiles.
- The U.S. government allocates $11,000,000 a day to Israel to support its occupation of the Palestinians, and at the same time insists that Israel stop building settlements.
- A twenty-five-foot "security wall" stretches more than 200 miles around Palestine, topped with rolls of razor blade wire manufactured in the U.S.A.
- Israel destroys hundreds of centuries-old olive trees to build this wall.
- A young Israeli soldier from Cleveland, Ohio calls the 300+ children killed in Gaza during the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead, "collateral damage."
- While using scissors to cut the rags off the razor blade wire in their front yard, a CPTer is checked by a soldier to see if the CPTer is carrying a weapon.
- Every Saturday, eight to twelve Israeli soldiers lead a group of Israeli visitors through Hebron's Old City to see homes where Jews lived before 1929; yet, Palestinians may not revisit their homes in present Israel.
- Israeli soldiers believe they advance Israeli security by detaining numerous young Palestinian men at checkpoints for prolonged periods. (See HEBRON: Israeli military targets Palestinian children for searches and detention)
- A young Russian Israeli soldier has a chance to save a Palestinian boy and his father from going to jail. He refuses to tattle on his colleagues who started the altercation between the soldiers and the two Palestinians.
- Soldiers force young Palestinian men against the wall, handling them roughly and searching them as a part of their practice drills.
- CPT's neighbor must enter her house, carrying groceries, by climbing up a ladder over the roof entrance and then climbing down into her home. She is one of many Palestinians who are not able to use their front doors because their front doors are facing a street that Palestinians, and their international and Israeli friends are forbidden to walk on. (USAID paid to renovate the street in 1997 on the condition that it would always remain open to both Israelis and Palestinians.)
- In an ancient Palestinian pastoral village located near a huge Jewish settlement, the Israeli military and settlers have installed four different roadblocks and barriers across the Palestinian road to provide security for the settlers.
- A settler holds a baby while sporting an M-16 on his side or back.
- The settlers living in Hebron cite God to justify their acts of violence toward our Palestinian neighbors.
- Israel accuses Palestinians who have lived on their land for generations of stealing water—originating in West Bank aquifers—from settlements built in the 1980s.
- The Israeli military takes orders from Israeli settlers. (see Al-Bweireh by Kathy Kern)