The Brighton Tubas Region Friendship and Solidarity Group is a network aiming at fostering links between community organisations in Tubas, occupied Palestine and Brighton. The Tubas Region, which includes the Northern Jordan Valley, is an area Israel wants to ethnically cleanse and annex. Israel is doing this by making life impossible for the people of the valley.
I spent some time in a village plagued by army raids in the night, sometimes. Night after night was spent on the highest rooftops interpreting signs like tea leaves (and with about as much accuracy). The soldiers light fires in the area when they come, but also they do not. Or they patrol in the daytime first, or the days before, or the weeks before. Every noise a jeep, every scuffle a soldier on foot, every sound a command to enter, to intrude. But the intrusion is already complete. Whether the army come or not, the villagers are at their mercy. They may not be in Israel yet, but Israel is in them. And so the waiting continues.
A short visit to Al-Quds requires us to wait at a faceless checkpoint whilst a voice over an intercom barks orders at us and microphones around us let us know that we cannot even shout back. We wait in front of a turnstile like cattle, everyone prised for the moment the green light above it gives us permission to go through. Sometimes they unlock it for just enough time for a few people to scramble back to their lives, only for it to stop, crescendo, we go back to waiting.
We meet families whose houses have been bulldozed over and over. They must rebuild their lives, perhaps in new areas which they may have to evacuate, or perhaps they will have their children there. Perhaps they will have their children at a checkpoint because the soldiers have not had a good day. Not even born yet and under control. We met a woman who named her child ‘prisoner’ because he cannot get a Palestinian or Israeli ID. Will he have problems when he is older because of this? This is certain, but we will wait and see what form they take.
To force a people into a state of perpetual second-guessing leaves no question as to who’s in control. These are just a few experiences. Of all the strategy behind the occupation I find this the most damning - that Palestinians are condemned to imprisonment, always waiting, waiting for their time to be free. Insha’Allah