Arrests and Soldiers
Feeling very overloaded today. After the protest yesterday, teargas, rubberbullets and all – I went to Jenin today. We just managed to slip out on a backroad as the tanks rolled into the main entrance of the city. Then, I found out that my friend, Omar, was arrested by the Israelis. Twenty years old, he had just found out that he won a scholarship to South America to go on a speaking tour for his church. He’s not at all religious, but he is very smart, and any way out is a way out . . . He was arrested because he is active in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Apparently the Israelis wanted him because he had been hanging posters for his organization and spray painting (in Ramallah and Birzeit). He won’t be going anywhere now. They grabbed him out of car traveling between Ramallah and Birzeit after a celebration for PFLP (this week is their anniversary week), in the afternoon. Two of his friends were arrested with him, and two had been arrested the day before. He was expecting it . . .This is the same kid that I wrote about before – the one who said that each Palestinian life is only worth about 1 shekel, the price of a bullet.
We don’t know what will happen, but he will probably be held in detention for a couple months, then get a year or two in jail. For hanging posters. I’ve had several discussions with Omar about socialist political theory and the role of the international community in the conflict here. He reminds me a lot of Abdulla – but I guess I see my little brothers in most of the young men that I meet here . . . At one point he told me (after I had cornered him a discussion) that I was smart and cute . . . never mind that I’m 6 years older than him . . .
I feel sick to my stomach right now thinking of him in the interrogation cells of an Israeli prison. Especially considering that there was a suicide bombing this week and a soldier killed at Kalandia two days ago. . . not a good time to be in an Israeli jail. I don’t know what to think about any of this anymore. I’m glad that I will be going home soon – I’m beginning to lose my focus.
After I wrote this entry, I decided to go bed because my head was pounding so badly . . . I’d been in bed for about 15 minutes when I started hearing shooting, very very close. My street is a steep hill that leads down into a valley of olive groves, and the shooting was coming from there. It didn’t sound like the usual rifle shots, either – this sounded like heavier artillery (although I’m no expert). M and I got out of bed and were trying to watch out of her bedroom window (which faces the valley). She saw Israeli soldiers before I got there. We waited a while, then got back into bed. A couple minutes later I heard footsteps running on the street directly outside my window, and a shot that was so close I rolled out of my bed and laid on the floor with my head down until I was sure the footsteps had passed.