I try to avoid reading news from the Middle East if I can because it upsets me so much that I get depressed for days and sometimes I get insomnia, but I feel I have to blog about this eyewitness account I read today on Z mag:

In the morning the Israeli soldiers entered people’s homes and we could hear loud banging from inside. A woman emerged from a house and begged us to come inside to see what the soldiers were doing. There were no soldiers in her house yet, but the clanging of the soldiers next door filled the house. It was so loud! It soon became apparent why. In the living room of her house we could see a small hole forming where the soldiers in the house next door were starting to break through the wall. When I think back on this experience, I realize how terrifying it must have been for those whose homes were invaded in this way. Imagine sitting in your living room waiting for men with guns to come tearing through your wall.
In the moment, we didn’t have time for fear. We yelled at the soldiers through the wall. “Stop! What are you doing? Can we talk to you about this please?” The effort to break through the wall didn’t stop, but some soldiers came to the door of the house we were in to confront us. We tried to reason with them. They insisted that they had to break through the walls of the house in order to search it. “Why don’t you come through the door?” we asked. They replied, “Because it’s not safe.” There was no reasoning with them. There was no explaining to them that they had just crossed the threshold of that house without harm, so breaking through the wall didn’t make much sense. At that point, the soldiers decided they’d had enough of us and they ordered us to leave the house. We refused and linked arms. A couple of them lunged at us and tried to pull us out of the room, but we resisted and they gave up pretty easily. Throughout all of this, the clanging on the other side of the wall never missed a beat. The most we could get out of them was an agreement to move the family’s stuff away from the wall that they were breaking through. Later, I visited that part of the camp again, and sat with a family in their home. On either side of us the walls were broken through in order to create a long passageway. The soldiers had spray painted arrows on the sparkling white tile of the kitchen walls, red pointing to the holes in the walls, black pointing to the real door of the house. When I asked some soldiers about this later, they explained to me that the purpose of this type of destruction was for the protection of soldiers in case of a gun battle in the camp. The idea was that the soldiers could move from house to house instead of running through the narrow alleys of the camp where they are supposedly more vulnerable. In other words, they had effectively turned people’s houses into a future battleground.

Eyewitness report from Balata

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