Monday, July 18, 2005

When will it end?

I spent much of today talking to Palestinians trying to cross the Netzarim checkpoint today. It is basically a 6m deep trench dug deep into Gaza's coastal road, which has in recent days been ripped apart by nocturnal armoured bulldozers that come out from behind the lone sniper in he distance, and dissappear before dawn when their work is done.

The checkpoint, along with one further south at Abo Holi, has divided Gaza into three isolated segments for over five days now: Rafah and Khan Yunis in the south; dair al-Balah, Maghazi, and Nseirat refugee camps in the central Gaza Strip; and Gaza city, Beit Hanun, and Jabaliya in the north.

It was a painful site, as I heard testimony after testimony of the hardship endured in what would otherwise be a daily routine. Commerical trucks, donkey carts, fruit vendors, taxis, all attempting to make it down the trench and across to the other side. Young women heading to college carrying textbooks, walking over 3 km around the checkpoint; Women with infants; Elderly Palestinians trudging across on canes through mounds of sand; And most heartbreaking of a all, a man who was suffering from Parkinson's, and had come back from al-Shifa hospital with a bag full of medicine and a medical transfer to Egypt, though he would be unable to travel there because further south, Abo Holi checkpoint was completey sealed off to commuters.

I heard accounts of "close-calls", of bullets just missing commuters heads, fired in "warning" by the lone sniper overlooking the checkpoint, and when it was over, I headed home, relieved that none of those bullets had been fatal, satisfied with a job well-done, and wrote the story out.

I made it home in time to meet with a colleague from the BBC (and former boss of mine at Aljazeera) who was here on assigment for a radio program. "I just heard a 14-year-old boy was shot at Abo Holi, but the IDF hasn't yet confirmed it," she said.

I checked my sources. I called the hospitals, the families in Dair al-Balah, and sure enough, 14-year old Raghed al-Masri was brutally killed, as he was waiting with his family in a taxi at Abo Holi.

But the world's media was too busy covering a press conference Abbas was holding, and a meeting between Hamas and Egyptian delegates on the "ceasefire."

I immediately called an Israeil Army spokesperson for an explanation. THey dodged my phone calls, and finally, late in the night, they called me back, only to tell me the matter was "under investigation".

"All we know is that Palestinian cars attempted cross the checkpoint by force, so the soldiers fired warning shots into the air, not at the cars, and we have not received word of any injuries-there wasn't even an ambulance there."

Suddenly, all I could think about was Tom Hurndall. And Rachel. Iman al-Hams. Norran Deeb. And her mother's tears. and her father's silent anguish. And the lies. the terrible lies.

The doctor who examined Ragheb's body said the bullet hit him in the back and came out through his chest, tearing his fragile heart apart. There is no chance this bullet was fired into "open air".

Now I think to myself as I head to bed, having just submited a news story on the tragic incident, after rewriting my initial story that merely talked about the closure's impact (how could I know the impact would be so deadly?), I feel a sense of emptiness inside.

I compiled the facts and snapped he photos and wrote them out, nicely arranged, on a page, on a site, that soon, will be forgotten. Along with Ragheb. Along with all the innocent angels that have fallen. And I think to myself, when will it end?


Blogger solitarioh2005 said...

One more post that I liked !!! I also liked this text because in the end..,there is a sad note : "When will it end..?"- You ask yourself.
Conflicts end when people start hating each other. Conflicts end when individuals ( and peoples) start hurting each other. Of course you can say : Well.., but its the ocupation !! How can you blame the palestinians for the violence when israelis ocupy our land..? ".
Well..,and we would start the old argument of who shoots first and when.
Maybe in palestine the conflict will never end but each one of us can contribute to it not hating the other side, so to speak.

10:31 AM  
Blogger solitarioh2005 said...

correction :

Where it reads " Conflicts end when people start hating each other. " , it should be read : " Conflicts end when people stop hating one another".

Many times the hate between individuals and groups only make things worst.

In another post I wrote that human beings are very alike.

" Suddenly, all I could think about was Tom Hurndall. And Rachel. Iman al-Hams. Norran Deeb. And her mother's tears. and her father's silent anguish."- You wrote.

But israelis also have neighbours , friends , sisters and brothers blown up to pieces in restaurants.

And since in the checkpoints the soldiers are israelis..., sometimes too often they shoot.
I am not saying it is right to shoot people.

I would never say that.
What I mean is that the road forward is not more hatred between the peoples.
The road forward is more dialogue and understanding.

10:47 AM  
Blogger solitarioh2005 said...

Last one for today.

as I head to bed,

I feel a sense of emptiness inside.

I compiled the facts and snapped the photos
and wrote them out, nicely arranged, on a page,
on a site, that soon, will be forgotten. Along
with Ragheb. Along with all the innocent angels
that have fallen. And I think to myself, when will
it end?

I really liked these lines. They convey , show.., your sadness .

Having reached that point a human being can either became more radical or less radical so to speak.

In case you think that israelis must suffer also..., you will became MORE radical.

In case you that many israelis feel exactly what you feel..,(since they had loved ones blown to pieces also ), you became less radical since you realize that hate and violence will lead only to more shootings in a endless cycle of violence and retribution in wich each side will feel victim of the other.

When it comes to your question ( when will the violence end in palestine ) I am not very optimistic.

Since the dawn of times people killed other people.

I think tought that we , at an individual level , should not contribute to an increase of hatred between human beings.

11:19 AM  
Blogger solitarioh2005 said...

The last for today.

I did found out a jewish blogger in wich the suicide bombing in netanya is portrayed.

This Just In: Bombing in Netanya Mall

Posted on 07.12.05 by esther @ 11:39 am
Sorry to bring down the conversation, but I knew you’d all want to know–and be devastated to know–that there was just a bombing in a mall in Netanya. This is the report from Hatzolah, which Chutzpah forwarded to me:

(6:40 Israel time), a bomb exploded in a Netanya Mall. Initial reports are about 30 wounded and a number of dead. Our prayers go out to the victims of this horrible crime.

The report in Ha’aretz:

At least two people were killed and 30 others wounded Tuesday evening when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the Hasharon mall at the entrance to the coastal town of Netanya.

Reuters news agency reported that Islamic Jihad had released a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, in a telephone call to the agency’s office in the West Bank city of Tul Karm.

According to initial reports, at least three bodies were found at the scene of the bombing, at the main entrance to the mall, including that of a suicide bomber.

And all we can do right now is to continue our prayers for peace.

Comments: 21 Comments »
I’m very close to Netanya, they’re evacuating some of the wounded to the city where I am.

Having seen the security barrier outside Tulkarem (it’s a high wall with security towers), I’d be interested to know how the bomber made his way to Netanya. I would guess he wasn’t from Tulkarem, but I could be wrong. Anyway, the barrier needs to be finished and secured. Oh, and I’m reading CNN now and it says the Islamic Jihad said the bomber was from Atil.

I wonder if this has anything to do with the Maccabiah games taking place near Netanya.

And, of course, another empty condemnation from the PA, who wouldn’t do anything about Islamic terrorism even if it could.


Comment by michael — 7/12/2005 @ 12:28 pm

I am devasted. It will never end, right! Theu ll just keep killing us. One bomb at a time, huh?!!
I am lost. Can anyboody help?!

Comment by client — 7/12/2005 @ 12:48 pm

Mostly7 I was just angry when I heard about it…
and tired. So tired of this/.../

(End of quote)

2:31 PM  

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