Just a day in Palestine
In the morning we head down to Jerusalem to visit Mohammed Al Kurd. His family have been forced to give up half their property to settlers. As a result half his family, including his twin sister and his mother have moved to a different town. It’s too cramped for all of them to live in the small house that remains theirs.
On our way back to Nablus we stop to check in on Khaled, in his farm that settlers covet. Yesterday the settlers came and beat his wife. He was unable to film the incident because his camera’s hard drive is full and he lacks the equipment and tech skills to transfer the footage and make room for more. Tomorrow he will leave his family to face a court hearing in the military prison of Ofer. This is a common occurrence in his life. He knows at what time he will enter the compound but not if nor when he will exit. He doesn’t mind the imprisonment, but the thought of leaving his wife and children alone to face the violence of the settlers distresses him.
We pick up some produce for dinner and continue on north. As we pass Huwwara we see a crowd gathered, holding Palestinian flags. They await the return of a prisoner due for release. It’s a rare moment of joy. Thousands of prisoners still wait for their turn, and perhaps this man’s cell will be filled by khaled tomorrow.
The taxi drives by Balata camp. The Palestinian police is out, securing the area after a spat of family feuds that killed two people a few nights ago. Balata concentrates 35 000 refugees in a quarter of a square kilometer of two storey concrete cubes, one can only imagine how conflicts can escalate in such conditions.
We make it home. I open the news. My facebook newsfeed is full of pictures of a dead young man from jenin camp. Majd Lahlouh was shot in the heart by a live bullet. The Israeli army had invaded the camp in the middle of the night to arrest one of his neighbors. Camp residents confronted the soldiers with stones and empty bottles.Two other men were critically wounded. My friend posts pictures of himself hanging out with the victim. During the past month his younger brother was shot three times in similar circumstances. I dread the day when I will see his face on the martyr posters. Sadly, with every passing day it seems like the unknown is more of a When than an If.