[Imc-uk-features] Anti Roads protest in Hebron and The Town that Sharm Al Sheikh Forgot Feature proposal
pennieq at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 15 09:32:17 PST 2005
Feature proposal combining reports http://publish.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/02/305296.html
And the report below I will work on the feature in a more finished form later tonight and propose the finished structure to the list.
best PennieThe Town that Sharm Al Sheikh Forgot
By Aaron Lakoff
Hebron, Palestine February 10, 2005
--To view my recent photos of occupied Hebron, visit
I walked down the old stone steps from my apartment in the old city of
Hebron tonight to find an Israeli soldier pointing his M-16 gun at me. I
was carrying a large plastic bag. Shoo?!? he said in Arabic, wanting to
know what I was doing, and then realized I wasnt Palestinian. What are
Taking out the garbage, I replied, and plunked the bag down in the
street. This is why people dont like to leave their homes in this city.
A friend who has been here longer than I tells me that I had better get
used to this. I would imagine that the 120,000 Palestinian residents of
the city already have. In fact, today was quite a pleasant day in Hebron
one of the nicest Ive seen in the last ten days Ive been here.
Today was new years day for the Muslim calendar, and a holiday here in
Palestine. Children had the day off from school and flocked to the
nearby playground. Many women and men wandered around the streets that
are normally eerily silent here. Hebron felt a sudden surge in its
livelihood, but it will have probably dissipated by tomorrow. Funny,
because the same could be said about the political situation in general.
Just two days ago, Palestinians and Israelis watched the peace talks in
Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. Many Palestinians were glued to their TV sets or
newspapers, but the lack of anticipation or enthusiasm was astonishing.
Many scoffed a familiar scoff. Weve been in this situation before, and
theres no difference now, was the over-arching feeling.
Certain moves on the Israeli side were even met with sarcasm and insult
on the Palestinians side. The announcement that Israel is going to
release 900 of the 8000 Palestinians in Israeli jails was one of them.
And the fact that Israel is going to pull back from five cities
Ramallah, Tulkarm, Jericho, Qalqilya, and Nablus felt like the prison
guard giving the inmates an extra 15 minutes in the yard.
But maybe Im being too harsh here. After all, Palestinians do want
peace, and they seem happy with the relief that this period could bring
on. And of course, the Israeli people want peace too.
Ironically, I met a really nice soldier today who underlined this. His
name was Gal, and like me, he was from Montreal. Gal was guarding the
checkpoint outside the Ibrahimi mosque, and took the time to have a long
chat with us. I asked him about the peace summit, and he told me a
flipside version of what I had heard from most Palestinians.
We want peace in Israel, but the Arabs just want war, he explained in a
soft, timid voice, his riffle dangling by his side the whole time. I had
to take a step back a second, to take a look around Gal and think about
that statement. It was particularly had to digest in Hebron.
Poor Hebron. Its the city that Sharm el Sheik forgot, somehow slipped
off the paper, or maybe disappeared under Sharon and Abbas signatures.
Its a sad omission.
In Egypt, Sharon made an interesting remark yesterday. He explained to
the world that Israel has no interest in ruling over the Palestinians.
But in Hebron, these are either empty words or a bold-faced lie. Here,
hundreds of Israeli soldiers enforce the protection of nearly 7000 Jewish
settlers, many of them fanatic fundamentalists. The army wont be
pulling back from Hebron any time soon. If Gush Katifs 8000 settlers
can mobilize 150,000 for a demonstration in their support in Jerusalem as
they did the other week, surely Hebrons settlements, the oldest in the
West Bank, could pull out more. The settlers here enforce the
occupation, and theyre just too powerful.
>From Hebron, Sharm Al Sheikh feels like words floating about in the air
words that are left adrift and will never touch down to rid the city of
violent settlers, replenish the old market, kick-start the stagnant
economy, or halt the apartheid wall in the citys environs. Hebron feels
like a prototype for military control in Palestine, and the Israelis
certainly do have an interest in ruling over it. If not, why then has
20% of the city been explicitly designated as being under Israeli martial
law? There is a frightening feeling of being trapped.
With Sharm Al Sheikh behind us, many are declaring the second Intifada
over. Some are even predicting blindly that peace will somehow sweep
over the region. While this would be more than desirable for everyone,
at the moment it is nothing more than hot air coming out of politicians'
mouths. Palestinians want and deserve freedom, justice, and dignity
not just a temporary peace. If you stand at a checkpoint of a foreign
occupying force, underneath an illegal settlement at your own home town,
while an armed 19-year old detains your family, you can begin to
(Aaron Lakoff is a member of the International Solidarity Movement, and a
journalist with CKUT community radio in Montreal. He is currently
travelling and working throughout Palesine. To view his previous writing
and photos, visit http://aaron.resist.ca. He can be reached at
aaroninpalesine at hotmail.com)
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