sophistication in the methods used by Israel in its
systematic destruction of Palestinian society today
struck a raw cord with every Palestinian parent and
four days has passed since the beginning of the Palestinian
school year, where over one million Palestinian students
returned to their classrooms after a summer of living
under the direct physical, emotional and mental distress
of Israeli military rule. For the last four days the
world community closely watched to see whether Israel
would lift the 24-hour curfew/lockdown that has become
routine across the West Bank. Israel did lift the
total curfew from 6am-6pm to allow the school season
to start and in order to avoid international criticism.
But the worlds eye has barely blinked and Israel
is already escalating its violent practice of curfew.
Palestinian children and parents were exposed to the
latest cruelty of the Israel military occupation.
For the last four days parents prepared their children
for school, my wife Abeer and I included. Our eight-year-old
daughter Areen anxiously put on her school uniform
and had breakfast. For her, today was an important
day because the textbooks that were delayed the first
day of school (because of military closures and travel
restrictions) were supposed to arrive and be distributed
to the students. Areen couldnt wait for her
English reading book. At 7:30am we headed to school.
At 7:45am and with a big kiss, I dropped Areen off
at the Friends School and headed to an 8:00am business
meeting I had outside of my office. As I usually do
in business meetings I turned off my mobile phone
in order not to be disturbed. I will not turn it off
9:15am one of the persons in our meeting interrupted
to advise us that he received word that Israeli tanks
and jeeps had entered the city center and were announcing
that the cities of Ramallah and Al-Bireh were under
total military curfew. Israeli jeeps roamed the streets
announcing that anyone caught in public would be arrested.
By the time I turned on my phone to call my wife three
other persons in my meeting were already on their
mobile phones accessing the situation. Abeer, who
was at home with our two-year-old daughter, was frantic.
She had been trying to call me after seeing and hearing
an Israeli armored personnel carrier on our street
announcing the closure. Was Areen in danger? Who should
go pick her up from school? How could we go out, given
the curfew and military vehicles in the streets? Has
the school administration advised the students of
the situation? How is Areen, who is very emotionally
sensitive, reacting? Is school still in session? These
and a hundred other questions rush to the mind in
turned on Israeli radio and heard the Israeli plan.
The radio newscast announced that the Israeli military
had put Ramallah under full curfew starting from 9:00am
and would only lift the curfew from 1:00pm-3:00pm
in order for parents to leave their workplaces and
take their children home.
if the recent months of varying degrees of Israeli
military curfews were not enough violence to terrorize
the Palestinian society as a whole, the Israeli government
created a new and improved curfew - one that would
ensure that the violence of occupation would come
between every child and parent.
getting through to the Friends Schools hotline
we were assured that the gates of the school had been
secured and that the school day was going to continue
as scheduled. Although still a little nervous, we
trusted the school administration and knew that if
they felt the children were in any immediate danger
they would advise us. I agreed with Abeer that I would
pick up Areen at 2:15pm and the meeting I was in was
called back into session, albeit slightly less
focused. After the meeting I headed to the office
for an hour of work. I had two other engagements planned
for today, a training session for the Commercial Arbitration
Center being established and a seminar titled, From
Re-occupation to Reform. Both were cancelled.
1:45pm we closed our office and everyone headed out
to pick up their children. I headed home instead to
pick up Nadine, Areens little sister. When we
left the house this morning Nadine asked if I would
promise to pick her up to go get Areen from school
and both Areen and I agreed with her that I would.
Ill be damned if Im going to let an illegal
foreign military occupation make me break a promise
to my daughters. Nadine was waiting for me at the
front porch window. She rushed downstairs wearing
her new pink tennis shoes, a pick hat and had a pick
purse strapped across her chest. She was ready to
hit the town.
and I arrived at Areens school a little early
and I had the opportunity to chat with some of the
other parents that were also waiting. In twenty minutes
we all vented our anger and frustration, discussed
the political situation, and we even joked that all
the Israelis had left to do now was to publish a daily
ad in the newspaper with names of specific people
that the curfew would be applied to on any specific
the end of day bell rang the students rushed, as always,
to the main gate. The older students knew what was
going on, the younger ones did not. Areen came out
of her building with a smile from ear to ear and her
bright pink Jansport backpack on her back. She waved
a big bulky book in the air. It was her new English
reading book. Nadine gave her sister a big hug and
kiss and we were on our way. While walking to the
car I asked Areen if she heard what was happening
with the curfew. She had not. She told me that they
probably did not tell them so they would not be scared.
She asked if she could buy an ice cream cone for her
and her sister before going home. After quickly stopping
for three ice cream cones we headed straight home.
We pulled in the driveway at 2:40pm and as we got
out of the car an Israeli jeep passed on the main
Jerusalem Street next to our home yelling through
a loud speaker, To the people of Ramallah, the
curfew is applied. Anyone in the streets will be arrested.
as the world causally watches the entire Palestinian
people be terrorized by the most sophisticated form
of violence possible - Israeli occupation - life goes
on. And as the Israeli military generals dream up
new ways to batter Palestinians into submission and
strip away every sense of public and personal security,
I will be reading with my daughter the first three
pages her new English reading book wondering about
tomorrows curfew schedule.
This essay is a follow-up to The Violence of
Curfew which may be found at violenceof.html
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