Reprinted from Wallwritings
A personal friend of mine, a mother of three children, wrote from Jerusalem today:
"As I'm sure you are aware, the situation here is not good. I've wanted to write to all of you for two days now but have found myself very emotional and unable to properly express what is occurring here. Every morning we wake up to pictures and news of new deaths of young people. Innocent people.
"In the case of Fadi Aloon, murdered for being Palestinian and asking for help. Abed al-Rahman Shadi Obeidallah [above] was murdered at the age of 13. He was from the Aida refugee camp, where we just were, filming an uplifting video. Everywhere you drive there are remnants of the demonstrations from the night before, burned tires, stones, and communities in mourning.
"It is very heavy here right now. Everyone is waiting to see if this will turn into something even larger. The kids and I were caught in the middle of clashes with soldiers this week while returning home from school. It was a bit scary, with shooting and tear gas."
Another friend from Chicago, AFSC peace activist Jennifer Bing, reports on a recent visit to the Israeli Ofer prison. Her report, Inside Israel's Kangaroo Courts, Where Children are Held and Sentenced, is on the website AlterNet.
"Israel's Ofer military court provides a singular vantage point from which to observe the human impact of Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories. ...
"I knew the military court was not going to resemble a Law and Order courtroom or be like one of my visits to Chicago's Cook County courtrooms, but as I saw Ofer's barbed wire and concrete walls I knew I was stepping into the heart of the occupation.
"This was where the state of Israel put children on trial after they were detained by heavily armed soldiers, and it was where Israeli military law allows potential maximum sentences up to 20 years for a charge of stone throwing. A new law enacted recently inside Israeli targets Palestinian youth in East Jerusalem and allows for similarly harsh penalties."
Bing coordinates the advocacy campaign, Israeli Military Detention: No Way to Treat a Child.
Jonathan Cook writes from Nazareth:
"Since a boy named David slew the giant Goliath with a slingshot, the stone has served as an enduring symbol of how the weak can defeat an oppressor.
"For the past month Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tried to rewrite the Bible story by declaring war on what he terms Palestinian 'terrorism by stones.'
"There are echoes of Yitzhak Rabin's response nearly 30 years ago when, as defence minister, he ordered soldiers to 'break bones' to stop a Palestinian uprising, often referred to as the 'intifada of stones,' against the Israeli occupation.
"Terrified by the symbolism of women and children throwing stones at one of the world's strongest armies, Rabin hoped broken arms would deprive Palestinians of the power to wield their lowly weapon.