Still following the News

In pretty much every country on earth, security forces are being attacked by members of the general public. Usually the assailant is brought under control, disarmed and arrested. In rare cases, the assailant is shot in self defence.

In Palestine, it goes the other way around. In rare cases (alleged) attackers survive the encounter with the Israeli military, while most are killed on the spot. The numbers alone should give a good idea of how little Israel values Palestinian/Muslim/Non-Jewish life. In addition, heavy surveillance by international groups and media regularly shows how people are being shot well after they are disarmed and under control. That’s what’s called extrajudicial execution but for some weird reason, Israel is still seen by the west as the shining example of human rights in the Middle East.

Israeli soldiers seem to have gotten a bit bored of killing males only and have switched to shooting girls as well. I wonder if anybody finds it implausible that a group of trained soldiers on high alert have no other way of reacting to a 17-year-old girl than to shoot her dead.

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Image taken from local media outlet

Left/liberal German newspaper sueddeutsche.de has reported on the Palestine issues in the past days and their language says a lot about their point of view. “Soldiers kill attackers” – whatever Israel reports, German media prints. Other media have the common sense to write about “alleged attackers”. But enough of frustration about Germany and its widespread support of human rights violations in the Middle East.

Part of me feels sad about having left so early. It feels like a failure, an abandonment. However the weeks of travelling after the sailing trip took a lot of energy and my tanks were pretty much empty. It didn’t take much to knock me out. And objectively it’s not the worst idea to leave an area where civilians are being killed in the streets on a daily base.

Will see how I feel in a couple of days. Looking forward to a quiet week or two with friends and family. No idea what’s up after that.

Preparing for my departure from Ben Gurion now. Deleting Palestinian numbers from my phone, pictures from my camera. Throwing everything away that has Arabic writing on it – SOP. Hope all goes well – departing Tel Aviv airport makes me more nervous than tear gas and gunshots.

Out

It’s 18:30 last night and the clashes have subsided. We head out to meet others for dinner in the city. A few metres down the road our eyes are watering and the noses are burning from tear gas that is drifting over from the 500m away conflict area.

We jump into the next taxi and tell the driver to take a detour around the affected Ras Al Jour area. No no he says, is fine, and rolls up the windows and stops the ventilation. Driving past the scene we see the road covered in rubble and rubbish with fires burning on the sides.

Israeli forces have used their usual arsenal of rubber bullets, tear gas and live ammunition, leaving one dead and more than 60 others injured. During the aftermath, people sit around, drink coffee and watch garbage men clean up the mess. After decades of Israeli occupation, people have pretty much seen it all.

Image taken from local media outlet
Image taken from local media outlet

This morning an Israeli settler shot and killed a Palestinian teenager in the streets and two hours later another was killed in Jerusalem. Presumably the killers will walk free, as have all the others in the past. Absolutely disgusting – every Auschwitz victim would turn in their graves if they knew what Israel is doing today.

Escalation in the area seems likely. Left Hebron this morning, booked a flight to Berlin for tomorrow.

The Teach

Friday prayers have finished and a lot of Palestinian flags and Keffiyehs can be seen in the streets. It’s the traditional time for clashes between Palestinians and Israelis, which means some parts of Hebron are better avoided.

The area around my accommodation is calm as always and people are hanging out in the streets. From what I’ve been told, it’s not much different in areas with clashes, though. Tear gas and rocks have become so prevalent, that people just don’t bother any more. Women continue their shopping, men remain sitting to drink their coffee, all that while youths and soldiers run through the streets. But again, that’s only from what I’ve been told, haven’t witnessed any of that myself.

Yesterday I had my first class and it was sub-par, to say the least. They put me in a room full of kids who hardly understood any English – total beginners. As I don’t speak any Arabic, chances of teaching them anything were rather slim, and after a rather frustrating hour, I had them play word games. Bit of a WTF, really.

The whole organisational circumstances are rather disappointing and reality is pretty far from the description I got in advance. After the last couple of weeks I’m in a general mood of not giving a fuck about anything and in regards to the volunteering position, it’s a coin-flip between whether I’ll stay or leave. And that’s not taking into account any of the current political situation.

Despite all that sounding rather negative, I don’t want to forget the amazing hospitality that random people on the streets have shown. This morning I headed out with another volunteer and on the way to the falafel shop, we were already treated to a coffee over a quick chat. After brunch we sat down for a coffee and were given plates of sweets to go along with it. One of the locals sat down with us for a chat and when we wanted to pay, staff refused to take a single shekel.

In general locals have been really keen on chatting and finding out where we’re from and what we’re up to. Germans are extremely well received here, the reason for which is twofold. Germany is allowing many Palestinians to either work or study in the country, which leaves a very good impression with the younger ones. Secondly, killing millions of Jews is something many Palestinians see favourably – the failure to distinguish between Jews and Zionists is something they share with most of the world’s population.

About an hour ago an Israeli soldier was stabbed in the city and the assailant – as per usual – executed point-blank on the spot. Guess I’ll be staying indoors for a while longer today.

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