Another eventful day in this strange Palestinian city of 160,000 Palestinians 400 settlers from Brooklyn who think it is their land and 2,000 israeli soldiers to protect the “true believers.”
I did not take my passport to a check point—along with Mario and his wife Margie —no entry though it was obvious we were with group. So I had a long talk with the young guard whose English was excellent.
I told him my background as a Shabbes Goy and a lover of all things Jewish, my experience as the first teacher of the Holocaust in Catholic schools etc. “You know this does not make friends for the Jewish state”. He hung his head a bit. “I know you have a job to do but this is ridiculous…the group will be back in half an hour.” I made my point then he warmed up and he asked me about my work and Canada. We had a nice chat and shook hands after that.” A smart kid, about 22, toting a sub machine gun at a Hebron check point. It’s bad enough that we let teenage kids drive car but putting heavy heat in the hands of a 22 year old kid is mad. As one boy soldier told me, “As soon as I finish my 3 years of army service I am leaving this crazy country.”
The guards from Jerusalem have little time for these fanatical settlers in Hebron—imagine the money to pen up 400 people in this almost totally Palestinian city of 160,000. and what of the 2,500 soldiers of the IDF doing this dirty job of defending such noxious betrayers of Torah? The money spent on this must be formidable. How long can this continue until Israeli citizens realize the futility of such oppression. As more and more internationals trek through the West Bank, Israel loses more and more credibility. It’s bad enough that Judaism represented by people like this, takes another body blow, much to the emnbarrassment of the holy ones who try to live Torah wherever they may be.
One of the merchants in the market showed us the eggs dropped from above (settlers’ homes) which ruined his beautiful hand-woven rug. An American offered to buy it for 2,000 dollars “Not for sale”, so instead he shows it to foreigners. He’s lucky. One kid’s face was disfigured by acid tossed from above. One local was killed when a huge nail punctured his brain. Here there is no manna from heaven—but urine, feces and projectiles of all kinds.
Then there is the strange case of Mr. Gopnik of New York City who offered $200 million for two small shops in Hebron. Again Not for sale. Reminded me of the blockbusting in American cities which produced white flight.
This is the praiseworthy Sumud that many Palestinians show…steadfast resistance to Occupation.
Trying to document this for US and Canadian consumption seems to be well lnigh impossible. The phenomenal Franciscan nun we met Sr. Paulette Schroeder from Toledo, Ohio told me that her diocesan newspaper refuses to run her first-hand witness. Little truth seen or heard regarding Israel in church organs. And Jesus the Palestinian Jew laments, “Oy vei iz mir”!
Reminds me of that Jewish prophet Groucho Marx who said, “Who do you believe, me or your eyes?”