AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) REFLECTION: Gaza and the end of Ramadan in Hebron

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CPTnet
28 July 2013
AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) REFLECTION: Gaza and the
end of Ramadan in Hebron

by a CPT Palestine
team member

Israeli soldiers monitor Friday Ramadan Prayers

The streets of Hebron
were unusually quiet on the 26th night of Ramadan.  These are the final days of holiest
time of the year in Islam.  As we
stood at the entrance to the Ibrahimi Mosque we noticed that the numbers of
worshippers were significantly down from a year ago.  A year ago we also saw more venders selling falafels,
pastries, corn, tea, coffee, juice, ice cream and kabobs.  A year ago so many people flowed
through the streets of Hebron’s Old City to attend the Mosque services or to
shop, that walking was difficult.

This year, perhaps
out of fear, people were at home watching the news on TV.  (We heard that in Jerusalem there are
fewer numbers also on the streets of and worshipping in the mosques this month.)  At Bab iZawya on this night, we found a
small crowd of young and middle aged men who had showed up even though no
demonstration had been called for that scheduled.  At 2:00 a.m., they were still standing around, looking as
though they were waiting for something to happen.  Every now and then, a boy threw a stone and ducked for
cover.

 A young man approached us and inquired
whether we were spies or Israeli agents.  He warned that bad things would come of our continued
involvement with Israel.  I was
tempted to judge his words harshly, but understood that his words contained a
complicated technique of dealing with what is going on.  Some of his words expressed hatred for
those he holds responsible for all that is wrong with life in Hebron.  That night his thoughts were also about
Gaza.  He was thinking about how
the lives of Palestinians in Gaza do not matter to Israelis.  He thought about the conspiracy of
silence surrounding the hatred of some settlers and others for Palestinians, and
the impact that had on his life and the lives of others in Hebron.

 But the conversation, at least in this
instance, released his bitterness and resentment in a creative way.  As I listened, I heard him travel from
despair to possibility. He said that all of this pressure exerted upon the
people of Palestine, leads to hatred, and hatred leads to spiritual death.  He told me at the end of the
conversation that he affirmed life.

According
to the Palestinian health ministry, the death toll in the Gaza operation has
passed the 1,000 mark.  The
United Nations says some 80 percent are civilians, among them at least 168 children.  Over the last
few days alone, Israeli forces have on average killed at least one child in Gaza per hour.  Children also make up one-third of the
more than 4,000 wounded, many with debilitating injuries that Gaza hospitals
are ill-equipped to treat properly due to dire shortages caused by the Israel’s
siege.  Meanwhile, more than
100,000 Palestinians in Gaza are internally displaced, access to clean drinking
water is increasingly scarce and electricity is practically non-existent. Forty-three
Israeli soldiers have died in the Gaza Strip. 

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