AN EVENING IN HEBRON

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The streets of Hebron were unusually quiet on the night of the 26 of Ramadan, a holy night for Muslems. These are the final days of Ramadan. As we stood at the entrance to the Ibrahmi Mosque we noticed that the numbers were significantly down from a year ago. A year ago there were also more venders selling falafels, pastries, corn, tea, coffee, juice, ice cream and kabobs. A year ago there were so many people in the streets of old Hebron, that walking was difficult. This year, perhaps out of fear, people are at home watching the news on TV. We hear that there are lower numbers also on the streets of, and worshipping in the mosques of Jerusalem. At Bab Zawyeh there is a small crowd of young and middle aged men. There was no call on this day for a demonstration. They showed up anyway. At 2:00 am they were still standing around. It seems that they were waiting for something to happen. Every now and then a boy threw a stone and ducked for cover. The air is pregnant. A young man approached us and inquired whether we were spies. He wanted to know whether we were Israeli agents. He warned that bad things would come of our continued involvement with Israel. His speech seems to serve a creative purpose. Listening to him I am tempted to judge his words harshly, but there are at work in his words a complicated technique of dealing with what is going on. Some of his words expressed hatred for those he holds responsible for all that is wrong with life in Hebron. Tonight his thoughts are also about Gaza. He is thinking about how the lives of Palestinians in Gaza are lightly held by Israelis. He thinks about the conspiracy of silence about the hatred of some settlers and others for Palestinians, and how all of this functions and what it means today. But in this conversation, at least in this instance, his bitterness and resentment is released in a creative way. As I listened, I heard him travel from despair to possibility. He said that all of this, this pressure exerted upon the people of Palestine, all of this leads to hatred and hatred leads to spiritual death. He affirmed life. According to the Palestinian health ministry, the death toll in the Gaza operation has passed the 1,000 mark. The United Nations says some 80 percent are civilians, among them at least 168 children. Over the last few days alone, Israeli forces have on average killed at least one child in Gaza per hour. Children also make up one-third of the more than 4,000 wounded, many with debilitating injuries that Gaza hospitals are ill-equipped to properly treat due to dire shortages caused by the Israel’s siege. Meanwhile, more than 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza are internally displaced, access to clean drinking water is increasingly scarce and electricity is practically non-existent. 43 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the Gaza Strip.

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About Christian Peacemaker Teams Palestine

CPT Palestine is a faith-based organization that supports Palestinian-led, non-violent grassroots resistance to the Israeli occupation.
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