Thursday, May 15, 2008

Today wear black ....

Today we wear black; as we solemnly mark the 60 years of the nakbeh (the catastrophe) in Palestine; and lest we forget the basis on which the State of Israel was founded, here is just one story that symbolizes this never ending struggle for justice for all in the holy land. And here is another: J

It was an afternoon in late May, 1973, when I pulled into the school yard at St. George's School on the Nablus Road in Jerusalem to pick up my 7 year old son. The Head Master was waiting to tell me and all the other parents that he would see us next fall. He was closing the school as of that afternoon for the summer. He said he didn't know what else to do. A couple of boys had thrown stones at an Israeli army jeep on the street in front of the school and had run away. The soldiers came into the school and confronted the Head Master with an ultimatum. Either he turns over the boys in the morning or the soldiers would take two boys from every class into custody until he did. This fine man in an impossible position made a wise and honourable choice. The school was shut down and stayed closed until September.

This simple story took place during the first decade of the Israeli military occupation of Jerusalem and the West Bank when Arabs could still move from one town to another without hundreds of road blocks and an 8 meter wall in their path. Now at the end of four decades of a brutal occupation the world continues to turn its back on the human rights of Palestinians and to label them as terrorists because they dare to resist. What nation can celebrate its 60th birthday with dignity when it was created and maintained at the expense of another?


I remember in 1994 after the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel was signed a telephone call late at night from an Israeli (don't know how they got my number) asking me to do an interview with the Israeli pilot who had shot down my husband over the West Bank in 1966 whilst defending his country from an incursion into Jordan by Israelis forces. I was so upset and thought to myself do these people want to show that what they do is ok and for them to show me forgiving the Israeli pilot? Absolutely no way will Israel ever live in peace until they recognise the rights of the Palestinians and a Palestinian state is formed. T


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