Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday pictures

As I woke up in the morning, I could hear loud booms coming from Bab E Zawiya, and crowds yelling. Black smoke was rising into the air. The clashes between the shebab and the army are a daily occurence. Often, people come out on the roofs to observe the confrontations.

Settler kids playing with Israeli soldiers. On the other side of the checkpoint, clashes are taking place. One of the kids is pointing a toy gun at the Palestinian side.

 One of the soldiers, beside a Palestinian boy who was kneed in the stomach by a settler boy. The soldier present at the scene reacted by immediately pulling the settler kid away. Some of the soldiers do treat the Palestinians with a certain level of respect and dignity, even though their job requires them to uphold a military occupation that is against international law.

A path where we walk when we go on patrols, close to Palestinian houses whose inhabitants are often targeted by their settler neighbours.

Settler graffitti on a rock

One of the concrete blocks that you will see during the patrol. 
The words "FREE ISRAEL" are written on it, similar I guess to how there is graffitti that says "FREE PALESTINE".
A major difference however is that the Palestinians, not the Israelis, are living under a military occupation that allows them to be humiliated and abused by their settler neighbours. Palestinians, not Israelis, are arrested on trumped up charges, and are shot and with live rounds when they throw stones.

In some ways, I would argue that the Israeli government and those who support its policies towards the Palestinians, are under an occupation. Controlling, degrading and abusing other people hurts not only them, but also the victimizer. 

One of the Israeli army bases in Hebron, close to a settlement.

A checkpoint close to Bab E Zaweyi. Clashes between Palestinian shebab and soldiers often break out on the other side.

Aftermath of one of the daily clashes. Expect to see a lot of stones, rubber coated steel bullets, live ammunition, sound grenades, teargas cannisters, lying around.

 The marketplace on Monday was almost completely empty. A general strike was called all over Palestine.

People entering the Ibrahimi Mosque from the Old City to pray have to go through metal gates and detectors. I have heard stories from Palestinians that in the recent past, some soldiers would randomly refuse to open the gates, so people would be delayed for prayers or not allowed to go.

Once people are allowed to leave the Old City, they need to go through another security check to enter the mosque itself.
One of the soldiers at the gate out of the mosque's courtyard. I have seen this guy being friendly and courteous towards Palestinians.

Shuhada Street, which is closed to Palestinians. The welded gates are what used to be Palestinian shops.

Notice the stars of David put on them in black spraypaint. Shockingly, the settlers have done this themselves, to designate that they are in control. 

Very disturbingly and ironically, German Nazis would paint stars of David on shops and property belonging to their Jewish victims, in the 1930s.

Of course, as disturbing and evil Israel's mistreatment is of the Palestinian people, it is not the same as Hitler's systematic holocaust of over 15 million Jews and non-Jews during the Second World War.

However, there are some disturbing similarities. 

A Palestinian house, close to our apartment. On the roof of the house is an Israeli military observation tower, that can also be used for sniping. The Palestinian family of course had no say about their home being used as a military structure. If armed conflict ever were to break out between Israeli soldiers and armed Palestinians, the family and their home would be put in danger.

Some of the Palestinian kids who play close to our apartment. 

After I took a photo of them, one of them insisted on being allowed to take a picture of me, and would not take no for an answer. I think he did a great job.

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