Thursday, November 1

MCC Palestine Update #30

MCC Palestine Update #30

MCC Palestine urges everyone to write their elected officials in order to urge their governments to pressure Israel to withdraw from Palestinian population centers. Israeli troops have reinvaded all major Palestinian towns in the West Bank with the exceptions of Jericho and the Palestinian-controlled section of Hebron. This move, the Israeli government declared, was in response to the assassination of cabinet minister Rehavam Zeevi; Zeevi's assassination, meanwhile, occurred against the backdrop of 36 Israeli assassinations of Palestinians (during which at least 19 bystanders were killed).

Israel demands that the Palestinian Authority arrest and extradite those responsible for Zeevi's murder, promising, in the words of Ariel Sharon, that if it does not do so, then the "era of Arafat is over"; the Palestinian Authority, meanwhile, promises to arrest those responsible but try them in Palestinian courts. MCC's Palestinian partners and colleagues are extremely tense about what the future holds: does Israel intend to topple the Palestinian Authority? Deport or assassinate Yasser Arafat? Unleash massive bombardment on Palestinian cities? Carry out Rehavam Zeevi's dream of transfer? [Surely not, we tell ourselves: the whole world is watching. Yet while the whole world is watching scores, hundreds die because of the occupation and is silent.] Or "simply" tighten the screws on an already oppressive siege which has sent unemployment skyrocketing well past 50% (much higher in some areas)?

Johnny Yusef Thaljieh, a cousin of two workers at the Wi'am Conflict Resolution Center in Bethlehem, was killed by a stray bullet while standing outside of the Church of the Nativitiy in Bethlehem on Saturday; he was buried in the Greek Orthodox cemetery on Sunday. He was one of 20 killed since Israel started its reinvasion of Palestinian cities on Thursday.

MCC peace development worker, Ed Nyce, remains in Bethlehem. He now sleeps in his living room, as his bedroom faces a hill on which an Israeli tank is now poised. The family of Zoughbi Zoughbi (director of Wi';am Conflict Resolution Center) has cleaned out the cave on which the family home is built: during times of war during the past century, the Zoughbi family has moved to the cave for protection.

Below are four pieces. The first two, by the Lutheran International Center in Bethlehem and the Roman Catholic (Latin) Patriarch of Jerusalem, call on Christians the world over to protest these latest Israeli moves and to call for an end to the occupation. The third, by Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, examines the politics of assassination. The final piece, also by Levy, narrates what happened to farmers in the village of Bardalah in the West Bank when Israeli settlers came to burn their fields and destroy their crops. Bardalah received substantial assistance from MCC during the 1970s through MCC's rural development unit.

1. From the Lutheran International Center in Bethlehem:

Palestinians in the Bethlehem area have become almost used to being trapped in our town, particularly in the last 13 months of the Intifada.

But, now, not only are we trapped, we also face the turret of a tank no matter which direction we look. (Israelis report they have deployed 30 tanks in the area now.)

Life has come to a stop. On Friday, no one could get to the Center, as most staff lived in areas in which heavy firing was occurring. For the safety of the students, all schools are closed (a 10-year old school girl was killed by Israeli fire on Thursday morning in Jenin), shops are closed today in memorial of the three Palestinians who were killed yesterday in their homes by Israeli fire.

Even now as we write this, tanks shells are exploding around the Bethlehem area and a young girl and a young women in Beit Jala have just been killed. Some of our staff have just called, Faten and Carol, and are in the middle of extremely heavy firing.

What do we feel?

There is no time to feel, to weep, death comes upon death, destruction follows destruction.

As the shelling becomes louder and nearer, as we listen to the wailing of the ambulance sirens going nearby, we urge you not to leave us 'orphans.' Do not forget us in our time of trial.

Pray for us,but in these days, more importantly, contact your government officials urging them to intercede before more people are killed.

"We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies." (2 Corinthians 4:8-10)

+ The Staff of the International Center of Bethlehem

2. Letter of H.B. Mons. Michel Sabbah to the Faithful

To our beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord!

The prophet Hosea says: Yahweh indicts the inhabitants of the country: there is no fidelity, no tenderness, no knowledge of God in the country, only perjury and lies, slaughter, theft, adultery and violence, murder after murder. This is why the country is in mourning, and all who live in it pine away (Hosea 4, 1-3). These words may be applied, at least partially, to our days. And we all carry the responsibility to purify our time and return to rectitude, justice and goodness.

Brothers and sisters: We are close to you. Together with you we experience the storm happen during these days. With Gods help this crisis will pass. We are with you in these difficult times. We would like to encourage you: Love each other with patience and faith. With the psalmist we say: Princes persecute me without a cause. But my heart stands in awe of Your word (Ps 118, 161), and further: Consider my affliction and deliver me, for I do not forget Your law. Plead my cause and redeem me; revive me according to Your word (118, 153-154).

Our destination is to be born under occupation and be exposed constantly to death. Every human person has the right and the duty to do all possible to him in order to obtain his own liberty. The international community finally has to come to understand that the Palestinian is a human being like all the others and has the right, as every human being, to reconquer his proper dignity and liberty in his own country.

Killing is evil. All violence is evil. All war disfigure the countenance of God, and is therefore evil. Only the murderer strives for murder. He opens the gates of death and makes the person enter. In our Holy Land the element that opens the gates to death is the military occupation. Therefore we say: the suffering of the Palestinian people until today is enough. Its time to end its tragedy.

To the Israeli people we say: you merit also security and peace. We wish you security and peace. In everybody and in everyone of you we see the dignity which derives from that of God and which is a gift to every human person being Palestinian or Hebrew. The key of death or peace is in your hands and in that of the government you have elected. It is the government that can open or close the gates of death. It is the government that can give you peace or take it away from you. Those who today fight each other and are thrown into the abyss of death have the right to live and enjoy security. Therfore, it depends on your government to put an end to all occupation that has been pressing upon the Palestinians during decades from this part, depriving them from their dignity and liberty. The United Nations have formulated regulations as base of peace. It would be sufficient to implement them.

With our Brothers, the Patriarchs of the Holy City and all the Heads of the Churches of Jerusalem we declare: It is enough with the bloodshed; it is enough with the fight! Shut the gates of death, of hatred and terror. Stop the shedding of blood that call for other bloodshed. The blood of all victims cries before God and before every human conscience. Restitute the occupied land to the real owners, thus allowing the hearts to regain serenity and for every human being to regain the proper humanity, and for Palestinians and Israelis to regain in equality the proper dignity given by God!

+ Michel Sabbah
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem

3. The price of liquidation
Gideon Levy

What is the difference between the assassination of Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi and the assassination of Abu Ali Mustafa, the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine? It's important to understand that in the Palestinian perception, at least, there is no difference. Both of them headed extremist political movements, which advocate uncompromising solutions, yet were nevertheless considered legitimate in the eyes of their people.

The answer to the contention that Mustafa's Popular Front engaged mainly in terrorism, whereas Ze'evi's Moledet (Homeland) party did not is somewhat more complex. Beyond that most Palestinians consider the struggle against the Israeli occupation to be legitimate, Mustafa was above all a political leader, and no sufficient proof was adduced for Israel's accusations that he
was personally involved in planning acts of terrorism.

Moreover, in the Palestinian view, and in the view of part of the international community as well, the Israeli security cabinet, of which Ze'evi was a member, and which authorized operations involving liquidations, house demolitions, shellings and curfews, also bears a significant moral responsibility.

The outburst of nationalist emotion in the wake of the two acts of murder is also remarkably similar. Mustafa was the leader of the movement that is second in importance in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and Palestinians saw his assassination as a blow to their national honor and their sovereignty, no less than the Israeli public's reaction to the Ze'evi assassination.

Ze'evi's provocative approach - his advocacy of the transfer of the Arabs, his likening of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to Hitler, his assertion that the Palestinians have no right to live in their land -fanned the fire even more, perhaps like the political position of the Popular Front, which, at least in the past, called for a solution in the form of one secular, democratic state.

This is not the place to discuss the relative merits or demerits of a binational state; in any event, neither the advocates of one solution or the other deserve to die. And things look different depending on where you stand. The image in the mirror was reflected from both sides of the divide in the wake of these two unnecessary and vicious acts of murder.

But the discussion of the similarity between the two assassinations is ultimately a matter for the historians. At this moment, after the murder of Rehavam Ze'evi, what requires discussion is the continued policy of liquidations. Whoever is responsible for the fact that Ze'evi had no protection, responsibility rests also with those who conceived and executed the policy of liquidation, pushing the bar ever upward and not taking into account the consequences.

Did those who gave the order to assassinate the leader of the Popular Front take into consideration that the inevitable result would be a parallel upgrading of targets by Palestinian terrorists? That they would henceforth try to eliminate Israeli political leaders - a mode of action they had avoided in the past? Either those who sent the Israeli assassins didn't take that into account, in which case they stand accused of arrogance ("it won't happen to us, we have the Shin Bet security service") or blindness; or they did take it into account, in which case they must bear at least part of the responsibility for what happened.

What did they think: that the Popular Front would forgive and forget the assassination of its leader? That it would move on to the next order of business on the agenda? That it would make do with random shooting of settlers on the roads?

If the fomenters of the liquidations took into account a Palestinian response in the form of political assassinations of Israeli leaders, they carry a heavy burden of moral responsibility. No one can claim that the writing was not on the wall. On the very day of Mustafa's assassination, the Popular Front declared his blood would be avenged. Those in charge of the Israeli liquidations must now say whether they considered that possibility when they made their decision to assassinate Mustafa. Was his liquidation, whether justified or not, worth the life of an Israeli cabinet minister?

The argument that Palestinian terrorism exists in any case, as though it were a force of nature, doesn't always stand up to scrutiny. Not a little Palestinian violence is perpetrated in reaction
to Israeli violence, and the most direct and clearcut connection is the reaction to liquidations. Two Israeli restaurateurs, Etgar Zeitouni and Motti Dayan, were murdered last January in Tul Karm in the West Bank by a cousin of Dr. Tabath Tabath, who had been liquidated; the murder of Lior Kaufman last Thursday night near Ma'aleh Adumim in the West Bank, took place close to the village of Ataf Abayat, who was liquidated a few hours earlier.

No Israeli leader was assassinated by Palestinians until the liquidation of Abu Ali Mustafa. Since the liquidation of Hussein Abayat - the brother of Ataf Abayat - last November, Israel has liquidated at least 35 Palestinians, six of them in the past week alone. Beyond the moral and legal questions that must be asked about a state: that sends its sons on hit missions, that publishes hit lists and kills even when it would be possible to arrest and try the targets. We must now ask in all seriousness whether the advocates of this horrific policy also took its price into account.

The assassination of a cabinet minister in response to the liquidation of a leader from the other side is an opportunity to pause for a moment and consider whether there is any point to continuing this policy. Is the terrible price that is paid worth what's achieved? Have the liquidations reduced Palestinian terrorism or only aggravated it?

That hardly any time passed between Ze'evi's internment and the liquidation of three Palestinians, for which an Israeli hiker paid with his life, shows that the government and the defense establishment have not drawn any sort of lesson from the events. Past is prologue: we will liquidate, they will murder.

4. Bitter harvest
Gideon Levy

They arrived in the night, two busloads of men and youths, accompanied by soldiers. Bent on revenge for the murder of Salit Sheetrit of Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu, they destroyed the crops and the
hothouses of the farmers of Bardala. The police, called to the scene, arrived nine hours later

The ruined hothouses of Bardala: "This is the only source of support for us and our children." (Photo: Miki Kratsman)

Izat Maslamini was distraught. He walked about in his field, limping, his shirt dripping with sweat, his face unshaven and his throat hoarse. Here was another torn-up tube and more irrigation pipes pulled out of their places, another wrecked hothouse and another eggplant bush that will never bear fruit. Maslamini picks up from the ground each remnant of the destruction, as if believing that everything he beheld - cucumber after cucumber, irrigation pipeline after irrigation pipeline - would somehow be set right again.

Maslamini raised the ruined tubes and waved them about; he threw the lost vegetables to the ground in despair. Walking has been difficult for him ever since he was beaten by Jews on that terrible night; he still carries the scars, and wants everyone to see. He says that those who were armed forced him to stay by the door of his hut, where he sat for two hours, watching the settlers destroying the fruits of his labor. All the hard farming work of the past year went down the drain that night.

Maybe only a farmer can truly understand. The harvest was due to begin exactly five days after this pogrom by the settlers, who are farmers themselves. "By God, I didn't harvest anything this year," the disconsolate farmer repeated over and over again. The damage is estimated at NIS 150,000.

The rampagers came to his fields four days after the murder of Salit Sheetrit of Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu. Now the road to the farmer's ruined fields are blocked as well: On Sunday, an IDF bulldozer came and dug a trench to separate the fields of Maslamini and his neighbors from the main road. This week, Maslamini composed a declaration to the world, the cry of a tiller of the soil whose fields were sabotaged and whose world has been destroyed, written in awkward script on wrinkled cigarette paper. He keeps it in his shirt pocket, which is already stuffed with notes.

"In the name of God the merciful. We farmers of the northern region, the land of Bardala, tell you that the settlers have destroyed our fields and wrecked our hothouses. This is the only source of support for us and our children. And now we must go on living. The settlers also beat Izat Maslamini on the back and legs. We call upon all the organizations to provide assistance to these farmers who have lost all they had. We ask Saudi Arabia and Prince Walid bin Talil to support us, like he donated $10 million to New York to build the Twin Towers ... "

When Maslamini finished reading his proclamation, there was a deathly silence in the shady spot at the edge of his fields, where we sat, interrupted only by the quiet humming of the bees up in the fruit trees. Then farmer Jihad Darajma said, "We all agree," and all the other farmers sitting there nodded their heads.

Maslamini angrily passes through his ruined fields, bewailing his tragedy. "From what am I going to eat now? You tell me. How will my children and I eat? It's all over. Tell me, what are we to do? It's all gone. They've killed us. They beat me on the back and legs with their weapons. What are we going to do? I have 12 big and small children [eight children and four grandchildren] and what will we do for them? Where am I going to get food for them? I need NIS 1,000 for fertilizer and for plastic. Where am I going to get it from? I haven't harvested one thing. They came in the night and then fled. What shall we do to them? Tell me.

"Here, look. Two dunams of hothouses - all gone. Over there, three dunams of eggplant - all gone. And now the road here, you can't get in anymore. If there were soldiers here now, they'd take your ID and you'd sit here and wait. When is the soldier coming back? In an hour, two hours, five hours, seven hours, maybe not all night. What does he care? He's happy. You can't come in here. Here's the cucumber area. They destroyed everything, dug it all up. What are we going to do? I saw it happen at night, at 2:30 in the morning. They grabbed me and beat me.

"Am I causing problems? Look at this boy here, you see? No shoes. We thought the crops would grow and we'd all eat, this boy, too, and now it's all gone. Isn't that a shame? I told the policeman, `If I did this mess, then come and take me.' Look at the irrigation pipe. It's all torn up. What can we do with it. Look - it can't even be fixed. They cut it all up. By God, I haven't harvested anything. By God - if you believe in God. Here, this is the first eggplant I've picked this year. Look at it. I've been sick at home until now. There's no money for us to try it again. Look how they tore the plastic sheeting of the hothouses. They have these things like pruning shears that slice the tubing. Look, they left one here. Everything is ruined, all 60 dunams, and there's another 100 dunams that belong to the neighbors. They destroyed everything there, too. All in one night.

"We wait a year for the crops to grow - all through the winter and the summer. And then they come and wreck the whole area, everything, even inside the hothouses. They wouldn't let us speak. `Sit, sit and keep quiet,' they told us. They hit us in the leg with their M-16s. How is it possible to live like this? How can we make peace? Did I cause them trouble? I didn't even have a knife to slice tomatoes. They tore everything up with box-cutters."

Salt of the earth

Like an abdomen sewn up after an operation, the torn plastic sheeting of the hothouses are closed with crude black stitches. But the vegetables inside are a total loss - yellow, rotten cucumbers and green tomatoes that will never ripen. The torn-up irrigation tubing lies scattered on the ground, beyond repair. Yazid, a bespectacled young boy, shows a piece of evidence from the place of destruction: a cutting tool left behind by the vandals. A neighbor, Jihad Darajma, who was in charge of irrigation on thenight of the rampage, hoists his little nephew on his shoulders. "What does it have to do with this child?" he asks.

All the fields close to the main road, the Jordan Valley Highway, were totally destroyed, plowed up by the avenging bulldozers. The land was completely ruined; whatever crops remained have withered and yellowed. They came to avenge the murder of 28-year-old Salit Sheetrit of Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu, killed four days before. Not radical settlers from Yizhar or violent settlers from Tapuah, but "colonizers" of the Jordan Valley - apparently together with religious kibbutzniks from Sde Eliyahu inside Israel, who had never been considered "settlers."

The salt of the earth, who went to settle in a part of Israel that someone, for some reason, once promised them would forever remain in Israel's hands (according to the Allon Plan) and whose world is now crashing down around them. Ehud Barak put the future of "their" Jordan Valley on the table at Camp David, farming isn't the big hit it used to be, and Palestinian terrorists are shooting at them on the road that just yesterday was also thought to be a part of Israel.

Maslamini, 49, has four daughters, four sons and four grandchildren. For 10 months of the year, from August through June, they live in a hut at the edge of the fields, without electricity. On Sunday of this week, the laundry was hanging on the line after having been boiled over coals. The children go to school in the nearby village of Bardala, a kilometer and a half away. For two months of the year, the hottest part of the summer, they stay in the village of Tubas. Maslamini has been working this land for three years. Before that, he worked the nearby fields. A tenant farmer, he splits the income with the owner of the land. Last year, he reaped a crop worth NIS 155,000 from the 30 dunams that he works, half of which went to the owner. It's all written in his notebook - the income and expenses, each crate of cucumbers sold and each sack of fertilizer purchased. Gas - NIS 6,100. Plastic sheeting
NIS 2,223. According to his notebook, he sold 16 crates of squash at NIS 30 per crate. He gets up at four in the morning to go to work and goes to bed at eight in the evening. They rest between noon and 2 P.M., because of the heat, and finish work at six.

He planted here in July. Eggplant, squash, cucumbers, zucchini, hot peppers, sweet peppers, fava beans. The prime crops he sells right there to merchants who come from Jenin, Nazareth and Tiberias. The rest, they send to the market in Nablus - whenever it's possible to get there. A crate of prime produce sells for NIS 40, the rest is sent to the market for NIS 10, not including high transportation expenses, due to the situation. These days, it sometimes takes nine hours to travel the 40 kilometers to Nablus, traveling on makeshift roads. Now that the dirt blockade of Maslamini's fields is piling up before our eyes, as the IDF officer gives the signal and the bulldozer gouges the earth, getting there will take longer and be even more difficult.

Maslamini awoke in a panic in his hut when he heard the mob closing in. It was after two in the morning. He pulls out his notebook, where he has it all written down. On the night between September 27 and 28, it says. "Your holiday, your Kippur, had just ended," he says. The vandals arrived just hours after the conclusion of the fast and Yom Kippur prayers. They came in two buses, for a well-organized rampage, escorted by two IDF jeeps as quiet and unseeing backup. Before going to sleep that night, Maslamini had watched the news from New York again and again on Jordanian Television. "Only in New York, only in New York," he'd said to his wife.

Maslamini was stunned by what he found when he went out of his hut. He saw dozens of people running wild in his field, which was illuminated by the headlights of an IDF jeep. "They were kids - 16, 17, 19 years old. Each one armed with a box-cutter and wire cutters. They spread out all over. For every three kids, there was an armed adult. Then the tractors came. There were three of them ...

"Four armed men stood next to my house. `Sit, don't say anything,' one of them said, and then he hit me. They were settlers, not soldiers. My neighbor, Salah Darajma, came with a tractor and wanted to go to his children. They told him to beat it. Tell me, what were we to do? It went on for an hour and a half or two hours. They kept on destroying everything, with the IDF jeep showing them the way. I was afraid that if I started yelling, they'd do something to my children. That's all I was thinking. You can talk to the soldiers, but it's not possible to talk to these people, to the settlers. They were from Sde Eliyahu, from Mehola and Sdemot Mehola. You think anyone was there from Tel Aviv? What do they care? They knew that neither we or our children had done this."

As Izat is telling his story, his neighbor Jihad arrives. "They came off of two buses," he says. "And they had knives and pliers and shears. Each group of three was accompanied by someone armed with a gun. I told my uncle, who was with me, to take his children and wife and escape with them to the area above. We took all the children and fled, my wife and I and our 6-month-old baby. I went and sat with them in silence. Where could I go?"

Jihad Darajma called the police around 2:30 A.M. "This guy answered and I spoke to him in Hebrew. I told him that people had come and were plowing up our crops and wrecking our hothouses and that we had little children that were seeing all this. He asked where I was. I told him that I live in Bardala. So he said, `Where's Bardala?' I told him it's in the Jordan Valley. I explained to him exactly. He said, `Wait, I'll ask where Bardala is.' I heard him talking with a young woman. I heard him ask her where Bardala is. She said, `Here, next to Sdemot Mehola.'

"I could tell that he thought he understood now. He asked me where I was calling from. I told him that I was calling from the house in the tent, from my uncle's cellular phone. He asked me for
the number and asked my name. I gave him my name and he said: `I'm sending a patrol car now.' I said: `There's a blockade here and a blockade there and you could stop them in a minute.' Then I hung up the phone.

"I waited. I said to myself that if the police wanted to come, it should take 15 minutes or a half-hour at most. They didn't come. And meanwhile the vandals are plowing up our fields. I tried again. I dialed 100 and spoke to a woman there. I told her I'd spoken to a man there before, that there were people who were destroying our crops. She asked where it was and said she'd send another patrol car. I hung up and waited another hour or more. And all this time, they're still at it. I waited and they didn't come. So I said, What can we do? From now on, I'm just watching. And I turned off the cell phone. I sat there smoking a cigarette and looking at the field. I played with my baby and told him that tomorrow, we're going back to Tubas. That we're done with farming. And now he's in Tubas and I'm here trying to pick whatever they didn't have time to pull up. If
we had the money, we'd try to grow things here again."

`You can replant'

The police arrived at 11 the next morning, almost nine hours after they were called. Maslamini: "They looked around, they took some pictures. One of them asked why I killed that girl on the road and I said, `You think we killed anyone? If one of my children did something, I would have called the police. What are we doing here? Are we here to cause trouble? We're here to be able to eat. The policeman said that if there's one rotten tomato in the bunch, then the whole bunch is rotten. But if it hadn't been on the news that a girl had been killed around here, I wouldn't have known. He told me, `You can replant.' I told him I didn't have any money, so he said, `Go to the Palestinian police and let them give you money.' Now we're waiting. Maybe someone will come by and give us money. We don't have enough money to buy food."

Superintendent Rafi Yafeh, spokesman for the Judea and Samaria police district: "On September 28, at 2:10 A.M., a phone call was received by the Samaria police from a Palestinian resident of
Bardala who said that Jewish settlers were causing damage to Palestinian agricultural areas. A message regarding the incident was relayed to a patrol car at 2:23. The police car arrived at the
scene at about 3:40 A.M. after the suspects had already fled. It should be noted that the Samaria sector is quite large and response times are therefore sometimes longer due to the distances that must be covered. The investigation of the matter was entrusted to an investigative team in Samaria, which preserved the crime scene, collected evidence and took statements from the
Palestinians and the security forces. The district intends to continue collecting evidence against the suspects and to bring them to justice."

An American attorney, the legal advisor to the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, is seeking to file a complaint with the police on behalf of the Bardala residents. She says both of the inquiries she made this week have been ignored.

Sdemot Mehola secretary Moshe Dermer: "I don't know who did these things, this vandalism, but I would guess that the ones who did it are good Jews who couldn't bear to see a person murdered on the road while the Arabs keep on working their tomato fields as if nothing happened. Jews and Arabs have lived together peacefully here. But as soon as someone struck at our side, a response was quick in coming. They knew that as soon as someone did something to us, the other side would get hurt."

Mehola secretary Amram Dayan: "As a community, as an organization, we had nothing to do with it, either in planning or execution. It was the action of some individuals and I don't know who they are. That's all I can say at this point."

Sde Eliyahu secretary Shaul Ginsburg: "I don't know anything, just that the police reported that our tractor was there. We condemn any kind of violence. But, above all, we condemn and are grieving over the murder of our member, Salit."

No response from the IDF spokesman had been received as of press time.

Goats now graze over the remnants of Maslamini's crops. Across the road, the ruins of the neighbors' hothouses also stand silent. They belonged to the Ahmed family. Of their seven hothouses, four were completely destroyed. On Sunday of this week, the brothers tried to repair what was left. But the vegetables had all withered among the wreckage. Not far away, between Maslamini's ruined field and the Ahmeds' ruined hothouses, the IDF's mighty bulldozer, guarded by an armed sergeant, was making progress in its work, leaving a cloud of dust behind it. "It's so the residents of these villages won't be able to go out to the road," said the officer, explaining the operational objective as the machine under his command continued its destructive work.

No comments: