Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What is Cease-Fire?

At the end of my visit they started asking me to take pictures for their brothers, uncles, sons and fathers in Israeli prisons for over four months… a picture of a new born not yet seen by the imprisoned father, one father’s favorite girl and a picture of the detainees' pictures hanging on the wall to let the prisoners know they are missed, they are celebrated.

On March 19th Israel rounded up Assad Salach and his sons Fahmi and Salach and Assad’s brother Sa’id and his son Ghassan along with over 300 men ages 16 and above along its northern border with the Gaza Strip. It is not the first time that Israel arrests the male members of the Salach family.

These days when homemade Qassam rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip they are usually launched from within the cities, not these border areas. Thus, it makes little sense for these men to be arrested solely for security purposes. Rather, it seems to be a method of pushing the families inhabiting the border areas into the cities and deserting their only source of income, their land. Israel is successfully destroying the potential of the fruit basket of the densely populated Strip. The once luscious green land is now reduced to an arid no-man’s-land, easily overseeable by Israel’s security towers and drones overlooking it all. But more importantly the economic crisis caused by this ongoing intentional de-development of Gaza’s economy is destroying the society’s makeup.

The Salach’s main family home was destroyed in 2001. On March 25th eight Israeli bulldozers crossed the nearby border and flattened the fields. Shortly thereafter they came back and flattened the home with some family members still inside. That day the Abu Assad, the Salach family grandfather had a stroke, he and his wife, Om Assad were taken to the hospital. By the end of the day Om Assad had lost her husband, her home and the trees that had adorned the family’s fields. She moved half a kilometer down the road to her other son’s home. Today, Israel has taken him as well.

Assad and Sa’id used to collect the tank shells, things of ugliness, which Israel fired on them as they tended to their goats and fields. They would paint them and fill them with flowers and turned them into vases, things of beauty. “The day they started doing that the Israelis almost completely stopped firing at us,” Assad’s wife told me. As soon as the media spread pictures of their act- turning death into life, ugliness into beauty- the shells stopped falling. When the men were detained so were the vases, Israel did not want such a story to continue getting out.

Despite a cease-fire five of the Salach family members remain imprisoned without even a court case, their fields still lie in ruin as the Israeli army fires at them when they try and approach it, their old home remains demolished while the memories of the past continue to haunt them daily. But today, the case-fire allows them to host a guest.


Abe Bird said...

What do you want of Israel? to destroy her!
Israel left Gaza but you chasing Israel, eager to continue your war, sticking to each Israeli and not let them live one day in peace. You send you Kassams and suicide bombers, and still launch rockets after the Tahadiah. You digging tunnels of explosives and endanger yourself and Israel.
You cohld turn Gaza to be peaceful and flourish and you chose the war. And in war as in war, each side hurts. The wisdom is to stop fighting and behave peacefully, and you Arabs failed!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Again and again, one-sided propaganda for the English-speking world

northshorewoman said...

I hope that the Salach family's suffering ends. How cruel the actions of the Israeli regime, how cruel the words of people who cannot accept others' truths into their hearts.

Distressing to hear of the continued dispossession of Palestinians while the world remains silent, and worse, berates them as the perpetrators.

Anonymous said...

sorry...but if your hammas idiots had not struck israel ..your property and people would all be well.......i know you want everything back ...but it will never be....live at peace and you will have peace.....thats the way it is....i hope someday it can happen