As we watch new tragedies unfold at the checkpoints as more soldiers shoot at innocent people that try to get to the hospital, work or school, we are still keeping the faith that one day we might see peace in the land of Christ’s birth.
As we watch new tragedies unfold at the checkpoints as more soldiers shoot at innocent people that try to get to the hospital, work or school, we are still keeping the faith that one day we might see peace in the land of Christ’s birth. I always thought priests and nuns had special privileges at the checkpoints and could easily pass these miserable spots thus I was completely shocked to see the Rosary Sisters School Bus from Beit Hanina parked for the evening on the grounds of the Latin Patriarchate Church in Ramallah. Usually the Director of the Rosary School, Sister Ortans escorts the students to return home to Ramallah daily after their school day in Beit Hanina. On Tuesday afternoon the school bus which is registered inside Israel and has a special permit to travel and a huge sign in front of it stating “Rosary Sisters School Bus” could not return back to school after dropping the girls in Ramallah. Fr. Ibrahim Hijazin was hospitable to the bus drivers and Sister Ortans while they spent the night in the Ramallah convent. The next day they spent over six hours at checkpoints getting to school.
One of the worst experiences for children these days is when a checkpoint exists between their house and school because they must deal with the same humiliation every day. Some children are not so lucky to drive through the checkpoint and must walk a great distance down mountainsides and dirty roads to get to school. What is the purpose behind these checkpoints other than total harassment, humiliation, aggravation, and long delays that influence a generation to hate the other side. No matter what discrimination Palestinian students’ experience their wishes reflect their hopes and desire for freedom and peace:
My wish is to see the Palestinian people free, safe and independent. I want all the Israelis to get out of my country and give the refugees their right of return to their homeland. Israel seized this land by force. We are staying on our land Palestine to learn and struggle against the occupation until we get our freedom and independence. Everyday they kill children, men, and women, arrest people and put them in prison. But we are very determined to liberate our country….(Bnan Khalaf, 7th grade Aboud)
Since l948, the Palestinians have been living under occupation…the Palestinian children don’t live the same life as other children in other free countries. The Israeli army doesn’t allow them to continue their life in peace. Their guns, tanks and helicopters are distributing death everywhere in the West Bank and Gaza…Finally, I want to say that my wish is to stop acting in this way, and to stop the discrimination. (Mohammand Silawi, 6th grade, Nablus)
I’m like all the Palestinian children who wish to see my country free. Every child in the world has lots of wishes…I wish to have a free country to see it well, lot of people will come and visit my country…(Jeries Kort, 7th grade, Tabyeh)
I hope to free Palestine and Jerusalem the capital of Palestine with her leader and president Yaser Arafat. (Sundos Shakeeb Abu-zant, 6th grade Nablus)
My wish is about Palestine to liberate Palestine and to stop the violence…stop the shooting…stop the martyrs… (Muna Sameer, 6th grade, Ein Arik)
…my country is the most beautiful place all over the world and it has very generous and kind people and I think we have the right to get our freedom and we must fight for it. (Majd Ammar, 7th grade Taybeh)
It must be remembered that we are brave and our determination will be forever. We will never give up or yield … let’s go and fight to be free, to be great, to be honorable nation that history will bear our name everywhere. (Saleh Ghannam, 7th grade, Nablus)
The People of the Holy Land have become victims of the absence of peace. If I had a wish, my wish would be to live in peace forever. (Maha Jarrar, 7th grade, Zababdeh)
I don’t feel that I’m safe. I always feel that I live in fear and I’m disappointed because there’s no stability…so I wish peace would be coming one day. (Mary Sayez, 6th grade, Birzeit)
I wish our life could be better as well as I hope to live peace fully and freely. (Wala Bassim, 6th grade, Zababdeh)
If I had a wish my wish would be the liberation of Palestine…I ask God to give us peace to live peacefully in this life and each one enjoys his life without occupation (Manawel Salameh, 6th grade, Jifna)
My house was hit twice by the Israeli soldiers. I just cried and couldn’t sleep. So if I had a wish, I would say and scream to every responsible person in the world to give us our childhood and stop the tears flowing from the mothers’ eyes for losing their children and husbands and the tears of little children who lost their mothers and fathers…the war is bad, evil and painful…the war is now in my lovely homeland, in Palestine. (Mariam Abu Amsha, 6th grade, Beit Jala)
I want to be safe from all these things, all day blood and damaged houses and fire. Who can help my friends and me? I wish to be safe just one day. I want them to go away from my dreams. (Loudy Shaheen, 6th grade Birzeit)