Mud and Hope in South Hebron

26 June, 2010 — The Only Democracy?


Ezra Nawi, after a day in the mud

Bi’r el-’Id — There’s a strange beauty in the viscous black mud that comes up from the depths of the earth, from the bottom, or somewhere near the bottom, of the well we are cleaning in Bi’r al-’Id. Bucket after bucket of it, lifted by pulley from down below, straggles to the surface, where we unload it and pour it out on the rocky escarpment. Its texture changes remarkably over the long morning hours from a watery top layer to heavy, shiny dark loam to a granular, sticky brown. It has a strong smell, like the sulphurous mud from the Dead Sea (not very far away) that people smear over their bodies for healing. Yehuda says the Palestinians of Bi’r al-’Id should bottle it and sell it at the airport: “Sacred Mud from the Sacred Desert.” There’s no end to it. The buckets go down and up, down and up, heavier each time; the rope attached to the pulley is now caked solid with mud, and the escarpment has turned into a mire. Amiel, Dolev, and Danny are down in the dark recesses, filling the buckets alongside Haj Isma’il. Suddenly Ezra arrives—he was released from jail only a few days ago—and immediately lowers himself, like Spider Man, down the shaft. You can’t stop him. When they emerge hours later, they are black troglodytes, covered with mud from head to toe; and we, too, working the buckets above ground, are splattered, encrusted, soaked.

When I said goodbye to Amiel almost five months ago, he said, “We will meet in the spring, and when you get back, things will be the same here, just a little worse.” But actually in some ways they’re a lot worse. The continuing struggles against the occupation, on the ground in the territories, take their usual grim course, but inside Israel hardly a day passes without some new and sickening jolt.

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IHH Report on the Killings on board the Mavi Marmara

29 June, 2010 – Free Gaza

On May 31, 2010, the six ships reached 75 miles away from the coast of Israel. We constantly reiterated that we were traveling in peace and carrying nothing but humanitarian and construction aid to the people of Gaza. At around 3:00 am, the battleships were still following us along with nearly 30 zodiacs that surrounded the flotilla in international waters.

At 4:10 am, messages from the ship, Define stated, “Mavi Marmara, all of the boats and ships are approaching you.” Shortly after, when most of the participants were performing their morning prayers, pursuit boats carring masked, armed soldiers came alongside the boats. At least 10 Israeli soldiers were in every boat. As they tried to get onboard, they began shooting. Then we heard sounds that were similar to gas bombs. The third sound was the constant sound of machine gun fire. At the same time, military helicpters full of armed soldiers rappeled down, shooting as they descended.

This operation was hostile from the very beginning, directed towards killing and killing as many as possible. Israeli soldiers did not open fire on the ships as a warning. They opened fire to kill. The first two people on board were shot in the head, killing them instantly.

Download the Report (PDF)