Americans have need to know what it is our government is supporting when it interacts with nations around the world and underwrites or condones their actions, because it does affect the lives of ordinary, decent people, sometimes in lethal ways, such as in Iraq and more recently in Lebanon and Palestine. It also affects the lives of children.
Nazlat Issa is a Palestinian village located in the North of the West Bank next to the Green Line. The village has been divided since 1948, but since that time its communities were able to keep family and community ties alive within the village, that is, until recently when Israel began to construct the Wall (or Fence as it is called in Israel). The Wall has been built right down the middle of the village, separating families and neighbors, shopkeepers and customers from their markets, people from their work, and children from their schools. Two hundred and sixteen shops and houses were demolished close to where the Wall has been built, and six hundred out of the previously existing 1,200 shops had to close. The Wall is only the latest episode in the 40 year long struggle of the Palestinian people under military occupation.
The stories and drawings of the children of Nazlet Issa express the people’s suffering and urnings for freedom and justice.
Manar Awwad’s story
"It was a sunny and nice day when the soldiers started demolishing houses in the villages around Nazlet Issa. They destroyed or demolished the houses that made building the wall difficult and that were in their way. They started from the morning. From that time everything turned dark in my memory.
The nice things were not as nice as they were before and while the Israeli military kept on destroying there were an announcement in the mosque asking the women and children to go away from the houses that would be destroyed. At that time I thought they would destroy all the houses in my village so I couldn’t stand up. Because I thought we would be left without a home. Ideas came to my mind without stopping. I couldn’t keep my fear away.
I wanted to start crying but my brother told me about everything. Only the houses near the wall would be destroyed. I felt a little bit more comfortable. But one thing bothered me. Some people will miss their homes and will feel like I felt before..."
Nevin Nizar’s story
"It was the darkest day of my life. It was the day of the wedding party for one of the Palestinian youth in the village, Moin Mahmoud Assad. The soldiers came when he had his party. They demolished his house the same day.
Some people came to the party and said: "There are a lot of Israeli tanks and big bulldozers. They want to destroy your house." All the people ran to the house and they began to talk to the Israeli commander to discuss with him if they could take something from the house. The man whose house was about to be demolished cried. He refused to leave the house and he told the people: "If they want to destroy my house they can do it on my head." But some of the Palestinian youth they held him and got him out of the house. You cannot imagine the scenery that day.
His sister came. She was married in Kafin and she was there for the party. But the party didn't finish because they demolished his house. A beautiful house but that was the end of the wedding party. They demolished his house."
Zeyneb Yousef’s story
"They occupied the land and uprooted the trees. People have no work. The teachers can't reach the school because of the Wall. They stopped me from being in a wedding party for my aunt in Baqa Gharbiyya."
Hanan Awwad Abdel Wahab Hussein’s story
"A bad accident happened ... but no one noticed it. Things became worse after the Annexation Wall or the Apartheid Wall as they call it.
This is a permanent prison that will leave us as slaves because people didn’t save any coins or money from their salaries but they wasted it for worthless things. And then the disaster happened: The building of the Wall. So from that day no fathers went to work. No
mothers visit their family. The children can’t go to school. No teachers, engineers or workers are happy anymore, not even the bride experience happiness on her wedding day. Kids are forced to leave their schools. The baby is prevented from being breastfed by its mother because she has to leave to work from 4 o’clock in the morning till 7 o’clock in the evening. How long will this poison continue?
Every person has been affected and I hope to see Palestine free of any harm."
This is sadly speaking the benign side of the story. Since 2000 and the Al Aqsa Intifada, over 600 Palestinian children have been killed.