HEBRON: Rude awakening

April 28, 2004

HEBRON: Rude awakening

by Phyllis Bergquist

[Note: Berquist was a member of CPT's most recent delegation to

Startled awake by lights flashing past the windows, yelling, and the sound
of breaking glass, at 4:00 a.m., I get out of bed to see what is happening.
Last night, the Palestinian woman of the house told us their home is slated
for demolition, so I am concerned that the Israeli authorities have come to
demolish the home. I realize that the Israeli soldiers are not at the house
we are in but are at the neighbor behind us. The full-time CPT person that
has brought me here to visit this family tells me the soldiers are yelling
for the people in the home to "come outside." I find my heart is racing and
I am feeling disoriented and frightened.

The mother of the home we are in--larger than life, with such confidence,
strength, self-assuredness, and delightful sense of humor, now seems small
and frightened. We tell her we are looking out of our windows at the
soldiers. She says, "No, please do not watch them; don't let them see you;
I don't know what they might do if they see you."

What can we do? If we attempt to go outside to aid this family, the
soldiers may think we are a danger to them and start shooting
indiscriminately. So, here we remain, listening and feeling useless.

The soldiers leave and we are invited to join the family as they go to check
on their friends. A group is standing on a knoll watching the Israeli Army
vehicles as they leave the area. The young girl who sat in the living room
in silence, without expression yesterday, is there and begins to cry. I
find out the Israeli soldiers have taken her brother this night.

The Israeli Army vehicles reach the main road and drive out of sight. A few
moments later a man arrives and announces that the Israeli soldiers have
also taken his son. Our hostess says she is sure there are others.

It is now the call to prayer. The men leave to go to the mosque, the young
woman of the home prepares for prayer. The Palestinian mother, who has just
had her son taken away, disappears and returns with tea for all who are at
her home to support and comfort her.

She now leaves the group to pray. Upon her return, she begins to cry
softly, she says some words in Arabic and I am told she has said, "Why!"
"Where is God?"

None of us have an answer for we all have the same questions. We know God
is with us, but at this very moment it is difficult to feel his presence.