Friday, July 18, 2008

Khalil: Tel Rumeida neighborhood

After leaving the market, I then followed our guide to a street with a check point on it. Yes, there is a neighborhood which is closed off by a check point on the street. Palestinians who do not live in that neighborhood can generally not go through the check point- meaning that those Palestinians who live in Tel Rumeida cannot have visitors from outside. The Palestinians I was with knew they could sneak through if they stood in between our semi-large group of internationals (we could get through as we are US citizens). We walked forward and passed our bags through the check point not looking the young boys with big guns in the eye. We made it to the other side of the street and walked up the street and then behind a few houses through alleyways and up small wooded paths- we couldn't take the main streets- which are closed to Palestinians. We finally made it to the family's house we were visiting.

The Settlers live right above this house, and like the market place, they throw anything they can think of down the hill at this family's home. We saw an old washer machine which was launched down the hill, garbage of every kind, rocks. A small boy and girl- the children of them man who is speaking with us and lives in this home- stands nearby, as his father tells us that this boy, his son, was recently struck by a rock and needed to get stitches on his head. The woman who lives there recently gave birth- in labor she walked the treacherous paths we had just taken- where no car or ambulance can maneuver. The family tells us that settlers sometimes come right down to the house, inside even and tell them that they will come kill them if they don't watch out.

The Settler children in this area are raised throwing stones at Palestinians on their way to school; on Jewish holidays and on Israeli independence day hoards of Settlers are bus-ed in to attack Palestinian homes- crashing windows, tearing down gates, breaking everything inside. This is an extremist group of settlers that come from the Kach movement which is outlawed and considered a terrorist group by the Israeli and United States governments. A small minority of Settlers come from this group and behave this way, but that of course does not matter- this is the most inhumane behavior I have ever known, it is criminal and insane. And worse, it has the support of one of the most powerful militaries in the world. The soldiers stand by and watch all this happen. In many cases the soldiers who serve there come from the the Settler groups that live there.

Here are some awful but clarifying videos about this situation:
A Settler assaults a Palestinian woman and her children
Settlers assaulting Palestinian children on their way home from school

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