During discussions of the actions of the US in Iraq and Afghanistan and of Israel in Gaza and the West Bank, it is always so easy to get caught up in the polemics of party and policy. We too easily forget that people, men, women and kids, live in the midst of the repercussions of these debates – and we only occasionally notice the costs to them.
Sometimes, events break through the white noise – Wikileaks reminds us of the human costs of our actions in Afghanistan or the attack on the Mavi Mamara show us the real face of Israeli policy and our supply of weapons and cash for that policy – but day to day, families try to survive in the midst of this chaos. And children grow up in the midst of the horror.
So tonight instead of looking at the latest news that’s noticed, I’d like to share a few views from Gaza and the West Bank which tell that everyday story.
The video above is a short clip, showing a small boy in the Occupied West Bank watch his father seized by Israeli soldiers. His father’s crime? He’s charged with “stealing water.” The boy’s name is Khaled Jabari and he is five years old. The Israelis have decided that the local water system, sanctioned by the Palestinian Authority and supplying water which Jabari’s father pays for – is illegal and so Israeli police rip out the community’s water pipes and arrest the local men.
Another view of life in the Occupied Territories can be seen in this video which Max Blumenthal reported on last week. The Bedouin village of al-Arakib was razed by Israeli forces as part of their ongoing land grab. Max is doing astonishing work documenting events in the West Bank and his reports on this event include a discussion of the use of Israeli high school kids as part of the Israeli forces demolishing this community.
Phil Weiss this week also reminded us of the conditions Palestinian kids have faced for years with a link and discussion of Chris Hedges groundbreaking report in Harpers in 2001 about a trip to Gaza and the taunting and killing of young boys by the IDF.
And finally, the UK’s Channel 4 broadcast a stunning documentary about the Children of Gaza in the time since Operation Cast Lead. This film, which is available in five parts on Youtube, was produced by TrueVision who also have a foundation to help the children portrayed and others in Gaza. Their work reminds us that the violence our policies support leave children damaged – not only physically but emotionally – for the rest of their lives.
Whenever the pundits and politicians and “humanitarian hawks” speak of the rightness of their cause, we need to remind them about these children and the real costs.