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The rockets

Contributed by Toine Van Teeffelen on 17.11.2012:

Mary listens to the local news about Gaza on her kitchen radio. In-between is national, solemn music, such as the melancholic songs of Marcel Khalifa and the famous “Jerusalem” song of Fayrouz. Thursday was a day off because of the day of national independence, which is of course no independence. Late in the afternoon is a demonstration in nearby Aida camp against the Israeli bombing of Gaza, and 6 camp dwellers are injured by whatever is shot at them: live bullets, rubber bullets and sound bombs, as Ma’an news agency specifies.

Friday, together with the Sunday the day off for the children, Jara is glued to Facebook and Twitter. She follows all the messages and photos about Gaza and shows me the demonstrations in New York, Tel Aviv and elsewhere. Mary listens at the university campus to the speeches of political factions; in one of them a Hamas leader says that they should give up thinking as factions, that they are all Palestinians. Mary is touched by the remark.

The Dutch youth news (Jeugdjournaal) calls. Jara decides to answer in English to the Dutch questions; that feels more comfortable to her. The interviewer prefers that Jara does not go into the graphic details of what she sees on the photos in Facebook and Twitter, such as kids whose bodies are terribly deformed due to the bombings. Jara tells that next day she will not go to school: Isn’t it “nonsense” to go to school and do as if you normally study while the people in Gaza suffer because of the bombings?

In Bethlehem and Beit Jala people saw the traces of the missile which came down not far from the Gilo settlement. The Ma’an agency shows a clear aerial photo. Two friends of Jara living in Beit Jala say that they could smell the missile after it came down. First people didn’t believe it. But it also turns out to be true that a missile came down not far from Noqedim, the settlement near Tekoa south-west of Bethlehem where Lieberman lives, the Israeli minister of foreign affairs. Is it a coincidence? It is clear that no Qassam rockets were used, but likely Al-Fajr missiles, with a much wider range and more precision.

A family member tells that four dababaat, Israeli tanks, are stationed nearby Talitha Qumi, the school on the top of the Beit Jala hill. He says that the Israelis might wish to prevent that Palestinian militants would shoot from Beit Jala towards Gilo, as happened at the beginning of the second Intifada, in 2000-1. But, we ask ourselves, who has weapons here?

Today, Saturday, no school. The children are happy not to have their exams, play together, and afterwards Jara goes back to Facebook and Twitter. The last message is that 45 Egyptian kids are killed in Cairo due to a school bus accident.

17 November 2012

Bethlehem

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