Residents boast about the size and scope of Askar and Balata, “largest refugee camps in the West Bank”; Balata, birthplace of the intifada, Askar the less glorious cousin. But from the hundreds of stricken faces watching as they pulled the body out of the smoldering rubble it suddenly becomes clear that Askar is a very crowded small town of 13,000.
“Min?” (who) they ask, looking as though they know the answer.
“Faez.” The name travels rapidly through the crowd, heads go into hands among those digging and those scavenging and those collecting cloths and other salvageable items in makeshift sheet parachutes of brought from neighboring houses.
This is not, of course, the first time the Israelis have broken the Hudna. There was the murder of little Machmoud Quabaya and the severing of his sisters arm by an`accidental’ burst of machine gun fire into their car at the Notorious checkpoint at Barta, a village trapped between the wall and the green line.
He is one of 11 palestinians killed in July, including extrajudicial asasinations, the 280 wounded the 316 quietly arrested even as a few hundred others were released in the full glare of the flashbulbs. That is not even to mention the 100 house demolition orders in East Jerusalem alone, the land confiscations and the unconscionable progress of the suffocating apartheid wall through the farmlands and villages of the West Bank.
And yet the resistance faction, these godless bands of savages and terrorists have held their hudna even as the most moral army in world wreaks its calculated havoc.
So as the world rubs its eyes and finds no `terrorism’ to splash across front pages with which to nullify and marginalize the reality of occupation, some people began to notice the wall, under construction for a year, and the brazen theft of yet more vast tracts of Palestinian land as well as almost the entire western aquifer.
And what is the only democracy in the middle east to do when `the terrorists’ will not cooperate as distractions from their crimes?
Here is what to do. Early in the morning on Friday August 8 (Nagasaki day) enter Askar refugee camp with 3 tanks, 15 jeeps, several personel carriers and an apachee helicoper and suround the house of a leading figure of Hamas. Fire a tank shell into the 4 story house and cause an explosion that kills the `wanted’ man and shatters every window around throwing matresses and couch cushions into neighboring trees . Next, drag his body out onto the pavement and leave it there in the hot sun for 7 hours before loading it into a military ambulance and stealing it from his grieving family. Leave only a bloody print behind.
In the meantime pump thick gas down the narrow alleys of the camp so that all anyone can see through their own teary eyes this morning is glimpes of others in the street obove the hands cupped over noses and eyes and all one is aware of is slivers of onion pressed into hands and the sound of gunfire beyond the blindness.
To really ensure maximum provocation pump sufficient gas through for one more death from suffocation and kill a stone throwing boy for good measure.
Now run over the ravaged house for two hours in a bulldozer waving a large blue and white Israeli flag , make sure nothing is salvageable form this home. And always, always hold back the ambulances by whatever means necessary to ensure a maximum number of shaheeds.
Now pull the army back and leave the 4th body to be discovered under the rubble by family and friends clutching meager almost delicate scooping tools.
This is how to end a ceasefire when everyday prolonged brutality and the occasional murder just wont do, the pragmatic occupier must use a recipe of grand scale, flagrant and outrageous provocation. We’ll see what they manage to cook up.
Tommorow: closing all checkpoints detaining hundreds between every village and town and ascribing it to threat of terrorism based on the attacks in Askar. In other words, collectively punish others for your crimes.
JULIANA FREDMAN is a film maker working on a documentary about Health care under occupation in the West Bank. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org