PALESTINE REFLECTION: Dreaming through fear for a brighter tomorrow

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CPTnet
7 April 2013
PALESTINE REFLECTION: Dreaming through
fear for a brighter tomorrow

Settlement expansion, mass arrest of children on their way to school, torturous fear, gunfire through the night close to home: through it all grace, love, hospitality and dreams give hope a place to thrive.

by a member of CPT Palestine

I am two weeks into my third stint
in Hebron. It was such a wonderful feeling to be welcomed back – so many offers
of tea and coffee. What wasn’t so wonderful was seeing the expansion that has
taken place at the Beit Romano Settlement. Since I was here two months ago the
building has grown by at least a third. How long will it be before the Israeli
military starts to seize Palestinians homes in the area to continue that
expansion?

 
  Soldiers close a checkpoint, delaying children on the way to school, 24 Feb. 2013.

Upon arriving on team I was told of
the twenty-seven children arrested by soldiers that day. A few days later I bumped into a
friend, a brother of one of the boys aged thirteen who was arrested. He told me his
brother is still suffering from shock and is scared to go to school, fearing soldiers
will seize him again. During school patrol a week later I witnessed a soldier
kicking a boy who couldn’t have been more than ten years old. I cannot imagine
how it is for children here who every day face checkpoints and fear being taken,
intimidated and abused by soldiers.

I was welcomed with great
hospitality by a family in Firing Zone 918 in the South Hebron Hills. They face
the risk of eviction any day or night and have to listen to Israeli soldiers using
live ammunition very close to their village. The children find unexploded
ordnance near their homes. This family taught me so much: from making goats’
cheese to how to live in the face of adversity. I slept in the house with the
women and children and was taken in as a member of the family. I practiced my
broken Arabic and as the grandmother of the family tucked me into bed she told
me “you are my daughter now”. What a privilege to spend nights with these families
and hear their stories.

I hope more people will begin to see
that no one in the world is truly free whilst there are people who have their
basic rights violated on a daily basis.

Christian Peacemaker Teams and the
other human rights groups in the South Hebron Hills have started to ride in a
Jeep that takes the children to school. The Principal worries that the Israeli
military will confiscate the jeep. Children share their dreams of becoming
doctors and lawyers, and their fears that any day the military could demolish their
school.

A visitor recently told me I was
amazing for being here and that CPT was doing a great job. It is not we who are
amazing but rather the Palestinians who face discrimination and daily hardship yet
stay strong and offer such gracious hospitality.

I hope one day to be able to visit
the children in schools not threatened by demolition and play with children in
streets free of menacing soldiers. I hope to be able to stay with the families
only as a guest because our presence as protection will no longer be needed. I
pray for a brighter tomorrow.

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