AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Vacations from the Occupation


15 August 2011
AL-KHALIL (HEBRON):  Vacations from the Occupation

by Paulette Schroeder

When an unexpected surprise—like a small, fragile flower pushing itself through
a cement block—occurs,  I feel a
certain bliss, a moment of awe, an instant vacation.  For a moment, all is
well.  Some such moments I have
felt working in Hebron for the last three years include the following:

  1.  A Palestinian hearing the call to prayer,
    unfolding his prayer rug on the street, kneeling to pray.
  2. An Israeli soldier offering coffee to the
    Palestinian street cleaner.
  3. A full-grown sheep managing to go successfully
    through the checkpoint turnstile.
  4. A “flotilla” of kites flying overhead, one of them
    dressed in a Palestinian flag.
  5. A sick camel coming into my neighborhood to
    receive medicine.
  6. A day at the checkpoints with no ID checks.
  7. A shopkeeper leaving his shop unattended to take
    me to another shop to find what I need.
  8. A small child kissing my hand, and then raising
    my hand to his/her forehead as a sign of honor.
  9. Two young men after an hour of detention coming
    back to thank us for our presence at the checkpoint.
  10.  A
    shepherd offering hospitality after settlers stole his donkey.
  11. 11. The
    Palestinian woman pouring perfume on my face as a tonic when I was choking and
    crying from tear gas.
  12.  Small
    visiting Jewish children attentively watching the Palestinian potters as they
    paint their wares.
  13.  A
    Jewish shopkeeper crossing the street to have coffee with his Palestinian
  14. Children
    skipping up and down the stairs that lead onto a violent street.
  15.  A
    Palestinian mother refusing to allow soldiers to drag her son they have just
    beaten behind a military gate.
  16. Large
    groups of internationals coming to see for themselves if what they have heard
    about the occupation is true.
  17.  Israeli,
    Palestinian, and International folks working together for peace in this land.
  18.  Rain
    falling in May!  How happy the
    farmers must have been to have rain since the military cut their irrigation
  19. Four
    teenage Palestinian youth smiling at me every morning as they have just been
    stopped once again for an ID check.

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