Terrorist Among the
by Art Gish (1/30/2003)
Hebron, West Bank
All of Hebron
was under total curfew today. I could sense something was wrong.
As I walked up the street I soon realized there was trouble at
Al Manara. I was horrified at what I saw. There were two tanks
and two bulldozers leveling the produce market, which extended
over two blocks. Produce lay scattered and smashed everywhere,
here in this city where many are hungry. Shop owners were scrambling
to save boxes of tomatoes, oranges, bananas, and more.
My first response
was to just stand there, weeping and sobbing. The scene was so
horrifying, so disgusting, so depraved. I could not emotionally
bear it. I felt completely helpless.
market was at Al Manara because the Israeli military closed the
former produce market in response to the massacre of Muslims in
the Ibrihimi Mosque in 1994. In every peace accord since then,
Israel has promised to reopen the market. It has never been reopened.
Israeli settlers now live in that building.
to feel helpless, but I also felt I had to do something. I started
carrying boxes of produce out of the way of the bulldozers. I
saved maybe 12 crates of produce from being crushed.
I began confronting
soldiers. In a loud voice, I asked them if they were proud of
what they were doing, if this is peace, if this is what they want
Israel to become. I shouted, "Baruch hashem Adonai"
(Blessed be the name of the Lord).
tried their best to ignore me, but I am sure they heard me. I
ignored their commands for me to leave. One soldier spit at me,
so I walked right up to him and invited him to spit on me. He
declined the offer.
aimed their guns at and moved toward a group of Palestinian bystanders.
It looked to me like they were going to shoot. I quickly jumped
in front of the soldiers, raised my hands in the air and shouted,
"Shoot me, shoot me, go ahead and shoot me." The soldiers
A tank came
roaring toward me, its big gun barrel aimed at me. I raised my
hands in the air in prayer, and shouted, "Shoot, shoot, Baruch
hashem adonai." The tank stopped within inches of me.
I then knelt
in the street in prayer, with my hands raised. I felt alone, weak,
helpless. I could only cry out to God.
afternoon I went back to Al Manara and watched shop owners dig
through the huge piles of rubble, trying to salvage what they
military had put all of Hebron under total curfew today, saying
they were looking for terrorists. Now I wonder if there really
were terrorists hidden among the apples and oranges. Or, are the
Israeli soldiers committing acts of terrorism against the civilian
population of Hebron?
I fear for
what may come next.
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