- Posted July 17, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The Children of Gaza
More than two hundred Palestinian children have died in the last week at the hands of the Israeli army. Right now, it's hard not to cry at the thin hopelessness of their future.
Despite reading others writer papers about the Israeli-Palentinian conflict, nothing genuinely coached us for observinging the occupation and its consequences on Palestinian population and Israeli society. Striking and unexpected was seeing the daily torment shouldered by Palestinians trying to direct their lives. Modern belt-way roads link up Jewish settlements and tremendously demarcate from those that Palestinians must travel. There are roadblocks set upright just outside towns and Palestinians must drive off their transportation, cut cross the roadblock on foot for a short while and attain another vehicle at the other end, making their journey irksome and pricey. They run into this maze several times on a stretch of road, a short step can take them hours to travel. Visualize the entanglement getting to work or to a neighboring village!
Palestinians can’t travel in their own country...
The largest city in the West Bank is Ramallah. There, children run between the roadblocks. Its said that the barricades are for security but the army polices them occasionally, leading to believe that they are there simply to make travel arduous for the local population.
We also saw army checkpoints along roads and at the entrances to towns, which can be barricaded off for no reason and at any time. Newborns had died at checkpoints because their parents could not get them to a hospital. In the towns and villages surrounded by the "Wall of Shame" --the proper name should be "Apartheid Wall"-- life is even more difficult. There may be only one alternative and it is used at the discretion of the Israeli army, denying farmers passage to their fields and greenhouses. Families cannot visit other relatives in different villages and all travel is restricted by often difficult if not impossible-to-get "laissez-passer".
Eighty percent (80% ) of the water is distributed to the settlers, the rest goes to the Palestinian villagers, despite their greater numbers. We saw a flaming school bus, eleven children died due to the lack of water. This lack of water also alter the potentially to grow crops on what little land the Palestinians have left.
You get moved to tears by children, many children curious about strangers. Their lives aren't easy : they will point out the bullet holes in the houses, construct with gestures what happens during the Israeli army incursions. These children are seen as a pitfall to the Israeli state; the high birthrate is one of the reasons the Israelis are so ardent to ban civil rights and confine the Palestinians in small “Bantustans”. We watched a Peacekeepers Team chaperoning children to school through army barricades, where the soldiers point guns at them, and past hostile settlers who dart abuse and sometimes physically attack them.
Many houses have been demolished, a form of generic punishment consciously forbidden by international law. Like us, they have seen people being treated as if there were no Human Rights. We noticed what seemed from every way we look at it to be ethnic cleansing. Whichever view we looked through the picture seems the same : everywhere we went in Palestine we met with people, children who are in despair and wretched...
Nelson Mandela fought 67 years of his life against South African Apartheid. The example settle by the South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission leaded by Nobel Peace Prize Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, is an inspiration to the world and should serve as a new warpath for nations to make progress after be exposed to war, civil antagonisms and outrage.
Few weeks ago I met a girl on the mystical Mountain Table in Cape Town. Her prayers really captured my attention, particularly her hands. She then explained to me that she was scared and overwhelmed, she invoked her God using what they call the "Weapon of the Believer" which is "Dua" (prayer in Arabic).
"Dua is petitioning God and it makes continually miracles happen in my life and is what brings peace and tranquillity in my heart. Just God is fine. Hes on everyone"-- Shouhena Bhanu
On these sad days of war let's unite and offer prayers for the children who are suffering from Apartheid in Palestine. Let's pray together. No matter our different languages, religious and moral beliefs, ideas, feelings, ways to learn, or tones of skin. Let's unite our common humanity in prayers for the children of Gaza!