Monday, July 9, 2007

'Mowing the grass' in Nablus

"Israeli" Occupational Forces at their finest...

By Gideon Levy

What do you do for 21 hours, trapped in one room - 28 people, including children and babies? How do you pass the time? How do you calm down crying and frightened children? How do you care for an ailing grandmother? You can't turn on the light, or the television, or talk. Armed soldiers guard the doorway and they've confiscated all the cellular phones. You can go out to the bathroom, but only after receiving permission. Used diapers have to be tossed in a corner of the room. After protracted negotiations, two women are permitted to go cook something.

Why was it necessary to imprison six innocent families this way? If the Israel Defense Forces needed their apartment building, why not let them move into the neighbors' homes? And why choose this building, when right next to it another building of similar size stands empty? Were these people being used as a kind of human shield for the soldiers? And what sort of trauma was inflicted on the little ones who were put through this ordeal?

On the radio I heard the explanation: "We have to 'mow the grass.'" This was the picturesque description offered by military sources for the IDF's activity in Nablus. This is why the army enters the city almost every night, carrying out broad-scale operations every few weeks, like the one last week. Two IDF officers were seriously injured, two were moderately injured, one passerby was killed - and members of the extended Adalay family were imprisoned together for no good reason.

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