An EAPPI human rights observer reflects on the mixed emotions felt day to day while witnessing life under occupation.
by Orla, October 9, 2013
This afternoon we were called to a school in the Palestinian village of Jalud where masked men from a nearby Israeli settlement came, smashed the windows of 5 cars belonging to teachers cars and threw rocks at the classroom windows whilst the children were in class. The children told us they cried and were terrified.
As we left the scene, we noticed smoke coming from the fields behind the school and saw that the settlers had also set the olive groves on fire. Only yesterday I helped my neighbours harvest their olive trees and just this morning a family, gathered in the shade of their olive trees, offered me tea as they were getting ready to harvest. I felt so privileged to be part of such an important family occasion.
This afternoon was a different story. I felt useless as the flames and smoke forced me back. I watched scores of men and children run down from the school, breaking olive branches in an attempt to extinguish the fire and save not only the olive trees, but also people’s livelihoods.
This is not a one off incident. Such acts of terror and intimidation are part of daily life for Palestinians in the West Bank, yet the Israeli authorities do very little to prevent such incidents or bring the perpetrators to account for their crimes.
*This post was originally published on Orla’s personal blog.