FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Believe It or Not

by Sam Bahour

For the last sixteen months my staff has suffered the humiliation of Israeli checkpoints twice a day, once coming to work and once going back home. Daily, I’m briefed of the horror stories, which unfortunately have become part of our ‘normal’ life, about the events that take place at the checkpoints — extended delays (at times 4-5 hours to travel what should take 20-30 minutes), shouting matches, walking through mud, climbing mountains, being refused entry, etc, etc, etc.

However, today’s briefing was special, so special I had to document it. One of my mangers lives in Bir Zeit, 7 minutes from Ramallah. When he arrived at the Surda checkpoint, two hours prior to the start of the workday, he was faced with a new type of Israeli solider. As part of Sharon’s reinforcement of all checkpoints around Ramallah to prevent Palestinian Authority President Yaser Arafat from reaching Christmas prayers in Bethlehem, Israel deployed Lebanese phalange soldiers to deal with the population. These are the pro- Israel soldiers that joined the ranks of the Israeli defense forces in Southern Lebanon when Israel invaded that country in 1982.

With about two hundred people stopped while on their way to work in Ramallah and in perfect Lebanese-accent Arabic, the solider ordered the Palestinians to make 4 rows as follows; pretty women, ugly women, men over 40 years old, and men under 40 years old. Out of necessity to make it to Ramallah and earn a living, three lines were formed, all females, men over 40 and men under 40. This bastard Israeli solider then proceeded to walk past the female line separating them into his taste of pretty and ugly.

When he reached a female friend of my manager he demanded that she stop chatting with the men. My manger made a remark to her that he must be Lebanese. The solider heard the remark and pulled my manager out of line and asked to see his identification card. When he saw on the card that his family name was Zeideh and that he was a Christian Palestinian (Palestinian I.D. cards are required by Israel to state a person’s religion) he loudly chuckled that he was better than the other Muslims in the row. My manager, being very politically aware himself, provoked the solider by lying and telling him that he was an Orthodox Christian, even though he is Marionette, just like the solider. The solider quickly reacted in the opposite tone and shouted to him that if that was the case then he is the scum of the earth. Little did the solider know that the Zeideh family is part of the family tree of the Khazen family, which is one of the famous families of Lebanon.

The solider then asked my manager if he was ever in Lebanon. When he refused to answer, the solider told my staff member that he wanted to ask him one question. How do you pronounce the word, tomato? My manager replied by offering two options as an answer, tomato, or tomoto. He asked the solider which one he wanted to hear. This infuriated the solider because it was now revealed that this Palestinian knew that in Lebanon one method of discrimination was for soldiers to hear this word pronounced, which can identify if your accent is Palestinian or Lebanese. In Lebanon, once that was known then the age-old divide and conquers tactics used.

From that point the solider grabbed my manager and a physical clash was about to ensue. Luckily, another higher ranked solider approached and saw that the situation may be explosive and thus put everyone waiting on his or her way.

This is the racism, the discrimination, the humiliation, the naked arrogance and the military occupation that Palestinians have been screaming to the world about. This is what the Palestinians will end, with or without the U.S. consent! Merry Christmas.

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American and General Manager of the Arab Palestinian Shopping Centers (www.apic-pal.com). He lives in the besieged Palestinian City of Al-Bireh in the West Bank and can be reached at sbahour@palnet.com.

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American business consultant in Ramallah and serves as a policy adviser to Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network. He was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio and blogs at ePalestine.com.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
Pete Dolack
Killing Ourselves With Technology
David Krieger
The 10 Worst Acts of the Nuclear Age
Lamont Lilly
Movement for Black Lives Yields New Targets of the State
Martha Rosenberg
A Hated Industry Fights Back
Robert Fantina
Hillary, Gloria and Jill: a Brief Look at Alternatives
Chris Doyle
No Fireworks: Bicentennial Summer and the Decline of American Ideals
Michael Doliner
Beyond Dangerous: the Politics of Climate
Colin Todhunter
Modi, Monsanto, Bayer and Cargill: Doing Business or Corporate Imperialism?
Steve Church
Brexit: a Rush for the Exits!
Matthew Koehler
Mega Corporation Gobbles Up Slightly Less-Mega Corporation; Chops Jobs to Increase Profits; Blames Enviros. Film at 11.
David Green
Rape Culture, The Hunting Ground, and Amy Goodman: a Critical Perspective
Ed Kemmick
Truckin’: Pro Driver Dispenses Wisdom, Rules of the Road
Alessandro Bianchi
“China Will React if Provoked Again: You Risk the War”: Interview with Andre Vltchek
Christy Rodgers
Biophilia as Extreme Sport
Missy Comley Beattie
At Liberty
Ron Jacobs
Is Everything Permitted?
Cesar Chelala
The Sad Truth About Messi
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail