Thursday, July 31, 2014

"This is not your business"

Around 10:00 PM Tuesday night, 3 Palestinian men were detained by the army after one of them got mad after a soldier made an offensive comment in Hebrew to some Palestinian women.

 The soldiers detained him, then settlers showed up and according to the Palestinians, pointed out 2 men who should also be arrested. I did not see this happen, when we came out, we saw the three men being made to stand against the wall. 

There were a few settlers, mostly teenage girls, who were laughing and clearly enjoying the spectacle.

The soldiers eventually moved aggressively towards thePalestinian men, and began forcefully marching them away.

Some Palestinian neighbours and internationals came out, asking the soldiers why the men were being detained. Some people began arguing with the soldiers, who began ordering everyone to move back, and threatening to make arrests. I was told if I did not move back I would be arrested, so I moved back temporarily, and continued filming. I and others began asking the soldiers what the men had done to them, and could they give us a reason for their detention. We got either silence or threats in response. 

The soldiers eventually threw two sound grenades into the crowd in an effort to disperse people. Neither the Palestinians or us left, so they continued threatening us before the Palestinian men were marched away.

During this time, more teenage settler girls and young women gathered, and they began laughing and taking photos of themselves beside the soldiers. Some of them joined the soldiers as they shone flashlights into our faces and cameras. It was like a sick carnival for them, at the expense of the Palestinians who just watched three people get detained for no reason.

The men were released some 2 hours later.

A brief reflection

Several times during this late evening, we were told by the Israelis that "this is not your business". I strongly disagree. The reason I am here and that other ISMers and activists- as well as the courageous Palestinian neighbours in that area who came out and continue to come out when others are being arrested and detained and worse- are here because justice being done is our business. Whenever people are being abused and harmed and mistreated, everyone has a responsibility to do something. 

Jesus said "blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness". We can't hunger and thirst for justice, and do nothing when innocent people are being abused. If we are Christians, either we follow Jesus, or we don't. It's really that simple.

Ironically, in some ways, some non-Christians follow His teachings better than some Christians do. All of the Palestinians who were out there that evening to stand up for these people are Muslim, and all of my fellow ISMers currently in Hebron who are with me, are non-Christians. They also happen to be some of the most courageous people I know, and are a lot of fun to hang around with. We have a bond that would be difficult to explain to anyone who isn't with us. 

Of course, works alone do not bring salvation and without the cross there isn't hope for anyone- I pray that everyone will get to know Him one day.  

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