The Israeli army is cheating us one more time from our basic right to education in this land. The only hope Palestinian children have for any future is a good education to be viable members of their society and of the world community. But unfortunately the Israeli Occupation continues to rob children out of their basic rights to a fundamental education. The Bethlehem area has not had school for the last four days.
The Israeli army is cheating us one more time from our basic right to education in this land. The only hope Palestinian children have for any future is a good education to be viable members of their society and of the world community. But unfortunately the Israeli Occupation continues to rob children out of their basic rights to a fundamental education. The Bethlehem area has not had school for the last four days. Schools can not open until it is at least safe on the streets. With Israeli military tanks choking up the city of Bethlehem since last Wednesday, gunfire everywhere, and the boom of tank shells day and night does not indicate a peaceful and just solution in sight. Teachers in the area report shooting from midnight to six in the morning. It is impossible for children to sleep through the night and the majorities have to leave their beds and sleep in lower areas of the house and away from windows or glass that might shatter in the middle of the night.
The Bethlehem area is suffering and seeing the worst this week but the Ramallah area also has areas under curfew where Israeli military tanks are blocking students from entering Birzeit University. The university has been officially closed since the Israeli Tourist minister was killed last Wednesday. People are denied freedom of movement even for going to work or going to the hospital. All members of the Palestinian society are punished when Israel feels pain. But who is keeping the score when over 700 Palestinians have been killed this year. Who is punishing the Israelis for the collective punishment they carry out? This collective punishment is absolutely wrong and punishes an entire group of people who most of them want to live in peace and harmony and co-exist side to side with their neighbors.
On Wednesday morning we woke up to a beautiful sunny day and gave glory to God that the two major checkpoints into Ramallah had been finally uplifted so it was not a two-hour drive to school from the village. For the first time this school year we did not have to see children getting out of one taxi at the checkpoint, carrying their heavy backpack which sometimes feels like it has rocks in it from the heavyweight books, walking quickly in front of soldiers, armed jeeps and tanks and picking up another taxi on the opposite side of the checkpoint (after a long wait of course) just to make it to school. The smile on childrenâ€™s faces making it to school that day was like kids being in Disney World for the first time. It was a great sight and a welcomed change. However, quickly throughout the day rumors spread that the Israeli tourist ministry was killed.
There has been no quality education in Ramallah since that day. Even when the children make it to school, the teachers can not because the Israeli army has invaded all Palestinian areas. How sad that even the bullets have reached the Holy Nativity Church in Manger Square. How sad that people continue to die. It is very confusing to me what terrorism the international community is trying to fight these days when I see Palestinian children on a daily basis traumatized by the Israeli army. It is very confusing to me who the terrorists really are when my own children say â€œMama, what if Sharon does like Sabra and Shatilla againâ€ It is really confusing to me that an entire nation of people has suffered a catastrophe of the worst type since l948. It is so confusing to me when small children and university students can not get their basic rights to education in the Holy Land. I can only take comfort in the words of Reinhold Niebuhr â€œGod grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.â€
If you are a reader that can make a difference in the Holy Land by contacting your government officials for a just and peaceful resolution, the children of this region are in grave need of your help.