Saturday, 1 May 2010

Breaking the silence!

It would need something pretty special to break my recent silence on this blog, but I guess the shooting of three children in their school is a pretty good reason. During my recent visit to Palestine, I went to a school where three pupils had been shot through the head the previous week for looking towards a Jewish settlement. In another school, one teacher left early to receive his son home from prison, after 18 months without charge. Another young prisoner was not so lucky. He had been beaten to death. I could go on... The situation in Palestine is much much worse than I ever imagined. Most of the men appear to have been in prison, for no other reason than being Palestinians. The ones I met were good people and certainly not terrorists.

On leaving 'Israel', I had everything in my suitcase taken out in front of everyone. Everything was read and I was questioned about it all - I was 2 hours being interrogated. I felt so angry at the intrusion into my privacy. Then I recalled how Palestinians had complained about soldiers coming into their house - always at night - searching and interrogating. I got a sense of the resentment they must feel.

But what am I doing about it? I knew before I left that I would come home and become absorbed by the mundane. And, I've been proved right. The people out there are desperate for the West to do something, telling me in no uncertain terms, that they wanted me to take the message back to Britain. So, this is a first attempt to break the silence about Palestine. Please help me in doing so, and don't let me forget it.

I remember the protests and collective condemnation of South Africa in the 1980s. But, what is happening in Palestine is much more than apartheid (which it is), it is ethnic cleansing in slow motion. Where is the collective spirit of protest?

Read Frankie Boyle's challenge about Palestine.

Ask me more!

By the way, the picture at the top is of a house from which Palestinians have been evicted. Their homes are now lived in by Israelis, while the original occupants live in a tent outside. As the Israelis go in and out of the house they taunt the 'former' owners (I witnessed this myself), apparently to provoke an incident. Apparently, they started throwing stones at one - an 87 year old woman the week before I was there. More photos here.