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Few news reports on Sunday

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 16.02.2016:

Toine van Teeffelen

Bethlehem

16/02/2016

This Sunday: three factual news reports on the news site Ma’an Agency in Bethlehem.

On Sunday, two Palestinian men were killed at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem after they took automatic weapons from their bags. One started to shoot in the direction of Israeli police. They were from the security police of the Palestinian Authority.

Also on Sunday, 14-year old Yasmin al-Zarou and her sister were at an Israeli checkpoint in Israeli-controlled downtown Hebron. The army told afterwards that she tried to stab a soldier. Bystanders had a different version of events and saw her walking away from the soldiers. She too was killed.

On that same Sunday 17-year old Naim Safi, again according to the Israeli army, wanted to stab a soldier at a checkpoint east of Bethlehem. Ma’an published a revealing photo. The boy, a school student, lies dead on the street without being covered. A soldier talks, looking the other way. A vignette of occupation.

Last Friday Daoud Nassar, of the Tent of Nations – a peace organization and ecological farm south of Bethlehem – asked AEI for support of international volunteers. The Nassar family could not leave the farm because the Israeli army had closed off the neighboring village of Nahalin.

The evening before a Palestinian had stabbed a settler at the nearby settlement of Neve Daniel. The perpetrator had fled in the direction of Nahalin. AEI’s French and German volunteers went to the Tent of Nations to give some human security to the family. The presence of internationals in this kind of situations can make a difference. Daoud was concerned that soldiers or settlers would damage the trees or other properties, as happened in the past.

After the departure of the volunteers our taxi driver was a few minutes alone. An Israeli officer in citizen’s clothes approached him and fired a few questions. “It was so starnge,” the driver said, “he did not look at me, he looked at my breast.” As if he was talking to a robot. Afterwards the driver got the giggles. You become yourself like a thing, getting used to humiliation – but not quite.

Mary and I are today at a school celebration of Tamer and other pupils at the Freres. Around 200 pupils sit and stand in queues on the school stage ready to receive their certificates. Tamer is a few years younger than the boy who lied dead at the checkpoint east of Bethlehem. He is relaxed and energetic. What is his future? Fortunately he has more opportunities. Afterwards he gives me his schoolbag as he and Mary take a sandwich. I take his heavy schoolbag on my shoulders, look like a foreign backpacker on the streets of Bethlehem.

Back home, I hear loud march music outside. I look through the window. A dozen children demonstrate in front of the entry to ‘Azza refugee camp with placards. Mary tells that the picket line is an expression of solidarity with Mohammed Al-Qiq, a Palestinian journalist who started a hungerstrike against his administrative detention (detention without trial) and who now struggles against death.

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