Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Palestine/Israel: The Village of Bi'lin

<http://bit.ly/XMuEI>. <http://bit.ly/HGJWx>. The first is a link to a blog kept going by the people of Bil'in, a Palestinian village that faces the Israeli Defense Force over a barbed wire barrier to keep Palestinian farmers from their lands, their olive groves and farmland. The second is a you tube link to a non-violent protest by the children of Bi'lin, chanting, "We Want to Sleep," as they march towards the barrier. These strange mix of letters, making no traditional sense, now carry us into the daily lives of those who others want to suffer in silence. Look and you will see soldiers with heavy guns and full military gear gather to ponder how to silence the children--then these young men--it seems like young men--pull together to move the barbed wire fence so they can arrest and carry over to the Israeli side, a 14 year old resident of Bi'lin.

In recent months, the IDF has been using night raids into the village to punish the non-violent citizens by arresting village leaders and activists. In the cover of night they come to break a people's spirit and no one sees other then the soldier and his targets. We must see, my Jewish eyes must see beyond the night, beyond the barrier, beyond the settlers' rage at the sheer survival of the hated--how did we come to this? I know as more and more push through the silences, Israel will have to rethink its human face--but how much more will be asked of the people of Bi'lin, of the Bedouins of the Negev, of Gaza, of the West Bank, of East Jerusalem? While the cafes flourish, the universities preach excellence, tourists come from all over, while the economy keeps many pleased, while Israelis can go and come as they please, bath in the seas, walk in the desert, stand on mountain tops, take pride in their children's futures, those behind the wall pull life from the hardest places. What kind of Jew am I? Like so many others, one that cannot live in silence at such inhumanity.

I know I had said I would put my writings on the Womeninblack.org.au site, but I have decided that there is no separation between this struggle and all of my life.

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