Rami and his wife Dr Nurit Peled-Elhanan have become outspoken campaigners for peace in Israel. At a time when Israelis and Palestinians are struggling for new responses to the ongoing violence in the Holy Land, Rami articulates a rare inclusive vision for peace. But how does he manage to find enough resources within himself to respond in this peace-seeking manner toward an implacable foe that robbed him of his precious daughter?
For those of you who havenâ€™t heard a word from me the last week or so, I have been away in Amman for the last 6 days. I thought I needed to take some time off and go out to the nearest place where I have freedom of movement. I, along with my husband and daughters, Salam and Luna, went together to Jordan. My husband had to attend some meetings and I thought that since curfew is always imposed why not take the advantage and take the girls out. We spent a week in Amman visiting friends. During my visit I could not take my mind off the situation and I had to call my family and friends every day to ask if curfew had been lifted or not. I was surprised to learn that curfew was lifted only twice during the whole of last week; not much has been happening. It was a great feeling of freedom to go out with out the fear of running into an Israeli tank or soldiers. It is strange how the sound of Israeli tanks has become fixed in my mind, so that every time I hear a truck passing by it sounds like tanks are on the road.
I have seen the most disgusting scenes whilst crossing the bridge from the West Bank to Jordan. I had said to myself, â€œnever againâ€. I will not
put my two daughters through the hell of getting from Beit Sahour to the bridge and back and the humiliation that we have to endure as
Palestinians trying to leave. After many hours we finally were allowed to get on the bus that drives us to the first Israeli checkpoint between the
2 border control buildings. There we had to wait in the bus for two hours, waiting for our turn to have the bus checked by the Israeli
soldiers. Israeli buses and cars were allowed to pass before us, we had to sit and wait in the stifling heat. The bus was full of older men and
women and there were many children, but we were not allowed to open any windows. For two hours we sat in temperatures that exceeded 40 degrees. Finally we got through the first checkpoint, only to suffer the same treatment at the second. This time we only had to wait for about an hour, anxiously hoping for the red light to change to green and let us pass. Finally we reach Jordanian security control and have our passports
checked. There was no body before us, but you can see that the soldiers who are standing are talking and joking and you can tell from the look on there faces that they are enjoy being in power and controlling us. Children are screaming from the heat and babies are crying from hunger
and thirst. I could hear from the back, an older person, say in very emotional tone of voice â€œIâ€™d rather die that to live this lifeâ€.
I came back on Sunday and since then curfew was lifted only today, from 9 am till 1 pm. I rushed to work in the morning to try to catch up on what I have missed during the week I have been away. I learned that not much was done due to the constant curfew imposed here. It is impossible to get anything done under these circumstances. During the week I was away it was easy to forget the Israeli aggression and oppression that I have experienced for 24 hours a day for my whole life. But I was soon enough reminded by watching people rushing to the supermarkets and grocery stores to obtain the basic necessities needs for their families. Traffic jams are every where, the noise harsh, served to remind me that I am back joining the rest of the Palestinians in our prison. So many people have called me and said, why come back? Are you crazy, to have been free and to choose to come back? I think as much as life is difficult for me and my family, I am happy to be back in my own home. It is heartbreaking though. I go away for a week and when I get back and ask whatâ€™s new, every body answers the same. â€œWe are as you left us a week ago; we get up, we cook, we clean, the men sit and play cards the whole dayâ€.
By now most of you will have heard about the massacre committed by the Israeli military against unarmed Palestinians from Gaza. Israel bombed an apartment block, destroying the 5 story building. It collapsed on top of the people within. There are scores of injured, and Palestinians where 15 killed. Of those 15, 9 were children and Sharon has claimed the operation â€œone of the biggest successesâ€. Of the injured, some are in a critical condition. I was utterly sickened to watch the news. I had thought there was a small glimmer of hope and negotiations were finally in sight. We had all hoped that the Israeli forces would withdraw from the Bethlehem district within 48 hours, but now we feel nothing any more. Israel is always so well prepared to defend itself, committing such war crimes as the one last night in Gaza.
Surely it must be obvious by now? Sharon is the one who always places obstacles in the way of any implementation for peace talks. He does not want to give us freedom, ever. Does the world not realize that it is the illegal occupation and the continued attacks against our cities and
refugee camps stands in the way of establishing any sort of negotiation? Hamas spoke only yesterday of a possible ceasefire, an unprecedented
step. Today they swear vengeance and blood against Israel for the murders. Israelâ€™s plan was clever and had a clear intention. Provoke the
Palestinian activists so that they will talk of violence, not peace. Destroy the first offer of ending violence by using violence. It is not only 13 Palestinians who were killed; so was the desire to talk, to enter into sincere negotiations and to stop attacks.
Israel does not want to end the occupation or stop its campaign of terror against the Palestinian people. Only when we have been destroyed will
Sharon think he has won. The launching of such a horrific attack last night, an attack which targeted civilians, has not only severely damaged
the prospects for any peace but has revealed the true and immoral nature of Sharonâ€™s strategy when dealing with Palestinians.