Celeste Caeiro, de 79 anos, foi a mulher que fez do cravo o símbolo do 25 de abril de 1974. Trinta e nove anos depois, "Celeste dos cravos" - como é conhecida - recorda um dos momentos mais marcantes da sua vida.
"Children of today are the leaders of tomorrow and education is a very important weapon to prepare children for their future roles as leaders of the community." ~ Nelson Mandela at home, Soweto, South Africa, February 1990 #LivingTheLegacy
"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." ~ Nelson Mandela during his Speech from the Dock, Rivonia Trial, Palace of Justice, Pretoria, South Africa, 20 April 1964 #LivingTheLegacy
Oigo de fondo el Réquiem Alemán,muy apropiado para la despedida de un genio de la Literatura con mayúscula.
Aunque es una cita a la que ninguno dejará de asistir,la desaparición física siempre es impactante para los que nos quedamos.
Tuve ocasión de saludarlo en algunas citas literarias,a pesar de la desbordante imaginación de muchas de sus obras,que te hacen pensar en una fuerte personalidad,la realidad es que era tímido,cálido y muy amable.
Le descubrí hace muchos años,al unísono con Carpentier,Cortázar,Sábato y mi querido Benedetti.Qué honor,qué inmensa suerte poder disfrutar de su creatividad.
Les habían precedido,Sénder,Borges,Gallegos,en fin esa ebullición que nos llegaba de América vía Argentina o México,esquivando la censura franquista,sorteando la inquisición de aquella iglesia represora.
Afortunadamente hay más como vosotros,pero fueron vuestros libros los que me abrieron la puerta a ese nuevo mundo.
Un honor,una alegría y todo mi agradecimiento a los paisajes en los que me introdujisteis a través de vuestra escritura. Eráis como una ventana por la que entraba el oxígeno del aire y la luz del mar.
The Economic Costs of Inaction on Immigration Reform
Last June, the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill that would grow our economy and shrink the deficit. But without action from the House to move forward in the last year, our country is losing out on these economic gains.
Vaya por delante que lo que escribo lo viví en directo en distintas etapas de la andadura personal.
Cuando llegué a estudiar a Madrid,hace de esto muchos años,dos cosas llamaban la atención,la gran suciedad de la ciudad y los montones de ruinas de la Guerra.
El Alcalde era un florón,hijo de Romanones,no hacia nada,no al menos que se notase.
La ruinas impactaban mucho, viniendo de las Islas,donde la Guerra no se libró en las calles,donde todo era más soterrado,el ver aquel escenario de tragedia y pérdida impresionaba.
No mucho tiempo después,comenzó a hacerse evidente un proceso de retirada de escombros,era una contrata conseguida por un judío polaco,Koplovitz que,a cambio de quedarse con todo lo que hubiese entre los cascotes,retiraba toda aquella masa de tragedias sepultadas.
Recuerdo,siguiendo la tradición familiar,haberme parado más de una vez a admirar rejerías impresionantes pendiendo de fachadas que se mantenían en pie contrariando las leyes de la gravedad.
Ese fue el origen de la fortuna.
Años más tarde,siendo Enrique Tierno Galván Alcalde,persona a la que me unió una cordial amistad,con el entusiasmo democrático que vivíamos muchos, propuse recuperar las naves industriales de orilla del Manzanares.Siguiendo a la Institución,la idea era restaurar y habilitar tantos miles de metros,para construir un gran espacio cultural, donde los artistas sin medios económicos pudiesen trabajar gratuitamente y a cubierto.Enrique del Moral era el Concejal de Cultura,también le recuerdo con afecto.
Preparamos un borrador general y comencé a bosquejar el presupuesto mínimo,imposible de llevar a cabo si no era con mecenazgo.
Un día,en el Ayuntamiento,un buen amigo me llamó aparte para comentar la situación,en Urbanismo no habría el más mínimo apoyo,aquellos ladrillos eran de los mismos que llevaban años repartiendo sobres mensuales entre el equipo de Urbanismo,creo que fue la primera vez que me topé de bruces con la corrupción.
Hablamos con algún técnico sobre la situación,persona con la que teníamos una relación laboral fluida.Nos explicó que esos sobres eran esenciales,no se podía renunciar a ellos,te señalaban,tampoco se podía denunciar,el Ayuntamiento quedaría en evidencia,única solución,renunciar y mirar para otro lado.En resumen,el Ayuntamiento estaba en manos de un privado.Hablamos e intentamos encontrar soluciones,imposible.
Tierno se quedó anonadado,cuando supo parte de la historia,no quisimos entrar en detalles.
Solo restó renunciar a las hermosas naves industriales y a la república de la cultura que intentamos instaurar.
Con el tiempo te enteras de todo,aquellos solares estaban ya repartidos entre los del ladrillo,demoler,recalificar y construir,a cambio, dejar un pequeño espacio para actividades culturales,la Arganzuela.Y así se hizo.
Años después,ya fuera de la actividad política,me contaron que el sobre seguía vivito y coleando.
Ahora hablamos del agua,un bien imprescindible y vital para los humanos.Hoy,Alcazar de San Juan le ha ganado la partida a los sobres de turno,y me alegro mucho por ello,pero en otros muchos lugares,el sobre esta ya estrechamente ligado al control del agua.
El mismo largo,floreciente negocio familiar continua impertérrito a través de regímenes políticos y partidos diversos,aunque,al estilo de Orwell,unos más que otros.
Es descaradamente llamativa la forma en que estos sucedáneos de sabandija se siguen repartiendo nuestra hacienda y nuestros medios.
Creo que todos estaremos de acuerdo en que es muy sano refrescar la memoria de la gente y ponerla en antecedentes de las canonjías ad infinitum que siguen lastrando nuestra realidad.
A galopar!! P.D. Ninguno de los que trabajamos en la idea cobramos nunca nada por nuestro trabajo,como dije,eran los años del ardor democrático.
He was an “Oslo criminal,” perhaps the “Oslo criminal.” In a country where war criminals are heroes and peace heroes are criminals, Ron Pundak was a different sort of hero.
With the exception of Uri Avnery, who at 90 has just published the first part of his fascinating Hebrew-language autobiography — “Optimistic,” he titled it — Pundak was the most optimistic person I’ve ever met. He was an incorrigible optimist where peace was concerned, and no less an optimist about his long, cursed illness. A man full of hope who is no more.
Pundak was the youngest, and nearly the last, of the believers in peace. After him, the abyss. He wanted peace for peace’s sake, without pathos or guilt. Simply peace.
He wasn’t anti-Israel; he was a Zionist and a lover of Israel. He wasn’t an Arab-lover; he was clearheaded, one of the last few who still met with Arabs and saw them as equal human beings. Nor was he a romantic.
His dreams were realistic, even if they fit a reality much saner than the crazy one we’ve created here. Pundak didn’t miss a single initiative. He came to peace from a very patriotic place. The fire that burned in his soul was ignited not by injustice to the Palestinians but by the future of the country he loved and that never repaid him for his labors.
Fire? Pundak was a cool man, as befits someone who grew up in a Nordic home, a Scandinavian-Israeli. His father Herbert (later Nahum)was perhaps the only journalist in history to be the editor of two newspapers in two countries at the same time — Denmark’s Politiken and Israel’s Davar Hashavua. (And he also worked for the Mossad at one point.)
He and his wife Susie have now lost their second son. Their eldest, Uri, the great hope of Tel Aviv’s Ironi Aleph High School graduating class of 1970, died in the Yom Kippur War.
I remember Ron on the beach of the legendary Sinai resort Aqua Sun, another province of dreams that is no more. Only once did he join his sister Michal and the special group that vacationed there regularly. Not once during his stay did he take off his safari jacket or obligatory moccasins.
Ron didn’t like the sun and sand. Maybe it was no coincidence that two of the main Oslo architects, Pundak and Yair Hirschfeld, of Danish and Austrian descent, respectively, weren’t your typical backslapping Israelis.
Something went wrong with their Oslo. To his dying day, Pundak remained convinced that the problem was the execution, not the plan or vision. In his Hebrew-language book “Secret Channel” — like another work he published in 2013 presumably knowing his days were numbered — he describes the incredible, rocky path that he, Hirschfeld, Yossi Beilin, Uri Savir and a handful of others traversed on their way to Oslo. It was from there to the White House Rose Garden for the signing ceremony, to which Pundak was not invited.
Pundak, a noble man, did not call to account in his book those responsible for the failure of the Oslo Accords. He was not one for hate, bitterness or petty accounting, not even when he was forced to leave the Peres Center for Peace because he focused more on peace than on Peres.
Once, at a modest birthday celebration that Beilin held for Shimon Peres in his home, in a corner near the stairs, Ron sat on the floor — pale, bald, weak and clearly in pain. Even then he didn’t complain. I’ll never forget that sight. On April 11, 2013, one year before his death, Ron, with chilling precision, texted me: “Your op-ed should have been the front-page lead.” The op-ed was titled “A letter from a ghost.”
Now Ron is dead, a ghost, just as another desperate attempt to blow life into the moribund peace process is set to give up the ghost. The man who wrote in his book, without even a touch of cynicism or desperation, “Fundamentally, the chance for a peace agreement remains,” would surely find fragments of hope even in these dark days. Now Ron won’t speak either. No one will speak of peace in Israel anymore.
Recientemente recibí los dos magistrales trabajos efectuados por el Dr.Henry Siegman,por una parte,y de un grupo de Senior advisers del Proyecto U.S./ Middle East,incluido él,por otra.
Ambos circulan ya por las redes,no se puede expresar de forma más clara y precisa la situación entre palestinos e israelíes y sus posibles soluciones.
Como estudiosa,considero al Dr.Siegman uno de los mejores politólogos que he conocido a lo largo de los años.
Su trabajo y compromiso por la Paz en Oriente Medio es total,al igual que el de todos los integrantes del U.S./Middle East Proyect.
Valentía,perseverancia,saber hacer,cualidades todas que merecen el máximo apoyo .
Vivimos tiempos en los que la banalidad se ha acentuado de forma llamativa.
Redes mafiosas diversas intentan sistemáticamente engancharnos en sus garras.
Ya nos conformamos con poco,sobrevivir y mantenernos fieles a unos principios éticos que cada vez se ven más y más minusvalorados.
Por todo ello cuando, de tiempo en tiempo, surge una figura como la del Dr.Siegman,y un proyecto como el U.S./ Middle East,sientes como si una bocanada de aire distinto,procedente de ignotas montañas,te llenase el espíritu.
Recuerdo mucho a Don Quijote,no al triste caballero con la razón perdida,no,recuerdo al caballero por cuya boca habla uno de los mayores genios que ha dado la Humanidad,autor de parlamentos únicos,insuperables, sobre la Libertad,la Ética.
Leyendo estos artículos,que continuaré releyendo varias veces,para ahondar mejor en el texto,me he sentido en ese especial trance que produce la obra perfecta,nada más, nada menos.
Estas líneas solamente pretender expresar la admiración y el respeto que merecen todos aquellos,y muchos son,que trabajan cada día por un mundo más justo,que defienden a los indefensos,con verdad,con trabajo,con riesgo.
It’s time for the
secretary of state to insist on America’s
position on Middle East peace.
By ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI,
FRANK CARLUCCI, LEE HAMILTON, CARLA A. HILLS, THOMAS PICKERING and HENRY
April 08, 2014
We commend Secretary of State John Kerry’s extraordinary efforts to
renew Israeli-Palestinian talks and negotiations for a framework for a peace
accord, and the strong support his initiative has received from President
We believe these efforts, and the priority Kerry has assigned to them,
have been fully justified. However, we also believe that the necessary
confidentiality that Secretary Kerry imposed on the resumed negotiations should
not preclude a far more forceful and public expression of certain fundamental U.S. positions:
Settlements: U.S. disapproval of continued settlement
enlargement in the OccupiedTerritories by Israel’s government as
“illegitimate” and “unhelpful” does not begin to define the destructiveness of
this activity. Nor does it dispel the impression that we have come to accept it
despite our rhetorical objections. Halting the diplomatic process on a date
certain until Israel
complies with international law and previous agreements would help to stop this
activity and clearly place the onus for the interruption where it belongs.
Palestinian incitement: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s
charge that various Palestinian claims to all of historic Palestine
constitute incitement that stands in the way of Israel’s acceptance of Palestinian
statehood reflects a double standard. The Likud and many of Israel’s other political parties and their
leaders make similar declarations about the legitimacy of Israel’s claims to all of Palestine,
designating the West Bank “disputed” rather
than occupied territory. Moreover, Israeli governments have acted on those
claims by establishing Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and throughout the West Bank. Surely the “incitement” of Palestinian rhetoric
hardly compares to the incitement of Israel’s actual confiscations of
Palestinian territory. If the United States
is not prepared to say so openly, there is little hope for the success of these
talks, which depends far more on the strength of America’s political leverage and
its determination to use it than on the good will of the parties.
The Jewishness of the State of Israel: Israel is a Jewish state because its
population is overwhelmingly Jewish, Jewish religious and historical holidays
are its national holidays, and Hebrew is its national language. But Israeli
demands that Palestinians recognize that Israel
has been and remains the national homeland of the Jewish people is intended to
require the Palestinians to affirm the legitimacy of Israel’s
replacement of Palestine’s
Arab population with its own. It also raises Arab fears of continuing
differential treatment of Israel’s
Israelis are right to demand that Palestinians recognize the fact of
the state of Israel
and its legitimacy, which Palestinians in fact did in 1988 and again in 1993.
They do not have the right to demand that Palestinians abandon their own
national narrative, and the United
States should not be party to such a demand.
That said, Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, provided
it grants full and equal rights to its non-Jewish citizens, would not negate
the Palestinian national narrative.
Israeli security: The United
States has allowed the impression that it supports a
version of Israel’s security
that entails Israeli control of all of Palestine’s
borders and part of its territory, including the JordanValley.
Many former heads of Israel’s
top intelligence agencies, surely among the best informed in the country about
the country’s security needs, have rejected this version of Israel’s
security. Meir Dagan, a former head of the Mossad, dismissed it as “nothing
more than manipulation.”
Israel’s confiscation of what international
law has clearly established as others’ territory diminishes its security.
Illegal West Bank land grabs only add to the Palestinian and the larger Arab
sense of injustice that Israel’s
half-century-long occupation has already generated, and fuels a revanchism that
sooner or later will trigger renewed violence. No Palestinian leader could or
would ever agree to a peace accord that entails turning over the JordanValley
to Israeli control, either permanently or for an extended period of time, thus
precluding a peace accord that would end Israel’s occupation. The marginal
improvement in Israel’s
security provided by these expansive Israeli demands can hardly justify the
permanent subjugation and disenfranchisement of a people to which Israel refuses
to grant citizenship in the Jewish state.
The terms for a peace accord advanced by Netanyahu’s
government, whether regarding territory, borders, security, resources, refugees
or the location of the Palestinian state’s capital, require compromises of
Palestinian territory and sovereignty on the Palestinian side of the June 6,
1967, line. They do not reflect any Israeli compromises, much less the “painful
compromises” Netanyahu promised in his May 2011 speech before a joint
meeting of Congress. Every one of them is on the Palestinian side of that line.
Although Palestinians have conceded fully half of the territory assigned to
them in the U.N.’s Partition Plan of 1947, a move Israel’s president, Shimon Peres,
has hailed as unprecedented, they are not demanding a single square foot of
Israeli territory beyond the June 6, 1967, line.
Netanyahu’s unrelenting efforts to establish equivalence between
Israeli and Palestinian demands, insisting that the parties split the
difference and that Israel
be granted much of its expansive territorial agenda beyond the 78 percent of Palestine it already
possesses, are politically and morally unacceptable. The United States should not be party to such
efforts, not in Crimea nor in the Palestinian
We do not know what progress the parties made in the current talks
prior to their latest interruption, this time over the issue of the release of
Palestinian prisoners. We are nevertheless convinced that no matter how far
apart the parties may still be, clarity on America’s part regarding the
critical moral and political issues in dispute will have a far better chance of
bringing the peace talks to a successful conclusion than continued ambiguity or
co-authors, senior advisers to the U.S./Middle East Project, are, respectively,
former national security adviser, former U.S. secretary of defense; former
chair of the House Foreign Affairs
Committee; former U.S. trade representative; former under secretary of
state for political affairs,
and president,U.S./Middle East Proyect
Why America is irrelevant to Middle East peacemaking
With the U.S. having failed to use its leverage over Israel, the only way to convince Israelis to accept a two-state outcome is a Palestinian non-violent, anti-apartheid struggle.
Secretary of State John Kerry’s extraordinary exertions to achieve a conflict-ending Middle East peace accord have been nothing short of heroic. He is as well-informed about the issues in this conflict and as familiar with the major players as any of his predecessors. So what is it that Kerry did not know that is responsible for this latest breakdown in the peace process?
Has the formula for a permanent status accord turned out to be so much more complex than even this well-informed statesman imagined? That is hardly likely, for the outline for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is better known and more widely accepted than for virtually any other international conflict. That “everyone knows” the shape of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement has been a cliché for years now. Virtually every detail of a permanent status accord has been known since President Clinton presented his formula for a peace accord in December 2000. No one, including Kerry, has deviated from that plan in any significant respect.
America has been seen by the entire international community as “owning” the peace process, not because its statesmen are believed to be wiser than all others, but because it enjoys leverage with Israel that uniquely enables it to influence the Jewish state’s policies. No other country possesses that leverage, for it is the consequence of the many decades of unprecedented U.S. generosity towards the Jewish state in the form of virtually unlimited military and economic assistance. Of no less importance, America has had Israel’s back against any and all efforts by the international community to sanction it for its repeated violations of international law with its colonial project in the West Bank, violations that continued even as the peace talks were underway.
It has long been assumed that a point would surely come when Washington would use its long-accumulated leverage to inform Israel’s government that it could no longer fend off international criticism of Israel’s occupation without incurring serious damage to its own credibility and national interests. It was believed that when the U.S. reaches that point, Israel would have no choice but to withdraw from the West Bank to the pre-1967 lines, subject to minor mutual border swaps and appropriate security guarantees.
But that moment of truth never came, and no one believes any longer it ever will. Not only is the U.S. no longer seen as the indispensable peacemaker, it is now seen as the leading obstacle to peace, for it is repeatedly threatening to veto all efforts to allow the Security Council to deal with the issue of Palestinian statehood or to adopt a framework for a two-state accord. The U.S. has therefore become as relevant to Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking as Micronesia, the country with as impeccable a pro-Israel voting record in the UN as that of the U.S.
President Barack Obama’s key advisors, including Benjamin Rhodes, have now upbraided Israelis and Palestinians for their inability to make tough decisions. Secretary Kerry has fallen back on the chestnut that we cannot want peace more than the parties themselves in explanation of the latest break in the talks. These alibis are at best unseemly. For if the parties were able to make the tough decisions on their own, they would have been made long ago. From the beginning, they were in need of an outside party that they trusted, and about whom they could say to their respective constituencies, “We had to make these controversial compromises because otherwise we would have lost support that would have left us more insecure and worse off than we are now.”
The U.S. needed to say to Israel that its border is the 1967 line, clearly identified as such in UN Resolutions 242 and 339, and that neither the U.S. nor the international community would accept deviations from that line other than limited and mutually agreed territorial swaps. It needed to say to the Palestinians that its refugees cannot expect more from Israel than a sincere public apology and generous compensation and reparations for the crimes committed against them when Israel expelled them from their homes and villages in the areas assigned to Israel by the UN Partition Plan of 1947 and also from territories beyond those areas.
Kerry’s efforts failed because instead of telling the parties that the U.S. intends to establish red lines for a peace agreement, he allowed them to tell him what their red lines were for such an American framework. And by assuring Israel repeatedly that there could never be “any daylight” between the U.S. and Israel, Israel’s leaders were led to believe there would be no consequences for Israel’s rejection of America’s proposals and for Israeli actions that damage American interests.
Kerry should have known that the U.S. has no role in achieving an Israel-Palestinian peace if it is not prepared to use the leverage it possesses to get Israelis to abide by previous agreements and international law. Of course, there are domestic costs for any U.S. government that decides to get serious about demanding Israel to end its occupation. But there is something fatuous about our preaching to Israelis and Palestinians about the painful sacrifices they need to make to end this conflict when we refuse to do our far less painful part unless it is cost-free.
It is true that a majority of Israelis consistently tell their pollsters that they favor a two-state solution. But this has no practical political traction, for most of those who say this also believe that Israel has no Palestinian partners with whom they could reach a two-state accord. Their belief in a two-state outcome is eschatology, not politics. Still, a two-state solution would yet be attainable if Washington were to put Israel on notice that it will be on its own in dealing with the consequences of its occupation and settlement policies. But given our politicians’ addiction to the adulation and the other perquisites offered by AIPAC for their unquestioning support of Israel’s policies, that is about as likely as snow in July.
More realistically, a two-state outcome is still possible if Palestinians were to take their fate into their own hands, rather than waiting for a deus ex machina, by shutting down institutions such as the Palestinian Authority that serve their subjugators and launching a non-violent, anti-apartheid struggle for equal citizenship in the de facto Greater Israel to which they have been consigned. Such a determined struggle may even convince Israelis to accept a two-state outcome, for the loss of their state’s Jewish identity in a single state in which Jews are outnumbered by Arabs is a price most Israelis will not pay for a Greater Israel.
Should Israelis reject Palestinian statehood even in the face of a Palestinian anti-apartheid struggle, one that undoubtedly would have wide international backing, it would risk losing America’s friendship and support, also a price Israelis are not ready to pay. And while Washington has not abandoned Israel because of current differences over where Israel’s borders lie or the capital of a truncated Palestinian state should be located, in a struggle for equal rights, America could not support an Israeli apartheid for long. It is true of course that a de facto Israeli apartheid has been in place for some time now, without America calling it by its right name. That is because a dishonest peace process has served to mask that reality, by design. A Palestinian anti-apartheid struggle would put an end to that deception.
Henry Siegman is the president of the U.S./Middle East Project. He served as a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and as a non-resident research professor at the Sir Joseph Hotung Middle East Program, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He was the national director of the American Jewish Congress and of the Synagogue Council of America.
Existen muchas formas de matar,de dar muerte a los seres humanos.
No hablamos del ciclo de vida natural,cita a la que acudiremos todos.
Hablamos de la muerte antes de tiempo,antes de que llegue su hora,de millones de seres humanos.
Terrible es la muerte física,pero no infravaloremos la muerte del espíritu.
Cuando leo sobre las convulsas elecciones en algunos países.
Cuando me desespero por la larga agonía del pueblo palestino,prisionero de los intereses de otros.
Cuando leo sobre la paulatina degradación de la sociedad israelí,aún y a pesar de los héroes que cada día arriesgan su vida, en la búsqueda de una solución de PAZ para la zona.
Cuando en fin,hablamos de casi toda África,parte de América,Asia y Europa,lo que más aprecio es la destrucción de los espíritus,robándoles la esperanza,la ilusión y los sueños.
No hay leyes claras para castigar a los devoradores de espíritus,a los destructores de generaciones de jóvenes a los que se les cercena cualquier posibilidad de un futuro,y también un presente,vivido con dignidad.
Por contra,el espectáculo de los pedruscos y excesos suntuarios de esa caterva de nuevos ricos mezclados con las familias de "siempre", que no tienen la más mínima duda en prostituirse de todas las formas posibles,como digo,ese espectáculo es de lo más nauseabundo que darse pueda.
Máxime cuando la muerte en directo es algo cotidiano en todos los medios audiovisuales.
La deriva del mundo es cada día más peligrosa,y algunos ayudan con entusiasmo a que así sea.
Ignorancia,fanatismo,hambre y guerra son los Jinetes del Apocalipsis al día de hoy.
Y mientras el mal avanza,aquí están algunos cretinos,soliviantando a todos con sus mentiras de libro y su inmensa estupidez,que bien estaría si repercutiese solamente en sus actos,pero es que en su caída arrastran a muchos,muchísimos,y esto es lo que no podemos permitir por un minuto más.
We went to the breach in the fence where his son was killed. We walked along the dirt trail that descends to the separation fence, which cuts off the family’s land from the village. The hole is very wide – both the barbed-wire fence and the concertina wire behind it are torn – and according to the villagers, it has been this way for a long time.
The boy, Yusef a-Shawamreh, did not, apparently, sabotage the fence. His father, Sami, is insistent about this – as though, if the 14-year-old boy had actually damaged it, his death would have been justified.
The camouflaged soldiers were hiding in their lethal ambush on the hillock opposite the breach, on the other side of the security road and its safety railing. There was no way the three youths – who were picking akub (Arabic for “gundelia”), a thistle-like edible plant, as they do daily in this season – could have seen the soldiers.
The trio walked the same trail we did this week, alongside olive trees, wheat fields and a peach grove. The soldiers spotted them from a long way off; the whole area is exposed. It is also rife with security cameras. But the soldiers waited until the three went through the barriers and started to walk toward the field on the other side, which belongs to the dead boy’s family. Then they started shooting – using live ammunition, it must be emphasized.
Yusef ran for his life. A bullet struck him in the back of the thigh as he tried to get over the safety railing. He collapsed, bleeding badly. It took a long time – about half an hour – for a military ambulance to evacuate him, according to an investigation by the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem.
The two others were handcuffed and forced to lie down on the floor of an army jeep, with a soldier pressing down their heads with his boot, according to their testimony, before being interrogated for several hours and then released. One of the youths related that a soldier brandished his rifle, threatening: “Be quiet, or I’ll kill you, too.”
The Israel Defense Forces Spokesman stated after the March 19 incident:
“A force from the 77th Armored Battalion was in an ambush at night adjacent to Deir al-Asal. Three Palestinians approached the fence and started to cut it. The force executed the procedure for arresting a suspect, and according to its report first fired in the air and only afterward fired at the Palestinian [sic]. One of the Palestinians was hit by a bullet in his hip and later died of his wounds. The circumstances of the event are being examined.”
Asked Thursday whether there is anything new in regard to the investigation of the boy’s killing, the spokesman's office sent the following reply: “An investigation by the Military Police is underway. Upon its conclusion the findings will be passed on to the military advocate general’s office for examination.”
After arriving on the scene, we too went through the hole in the fence, like the three youths. Sami, the bereaved father, showed us how and where his son was shot, as Yusef’s two survivor friends had explained to him. (The two are Muntassar Beallah a-Dardun, 18, and Zahi Shawamreh, 13, who was the dead boy’s classmate.) The bloodstains left by Yusef have since faded and disappeared.
No warning apparently preceded the shooting – certainly the boys didn’t hear anything of the sort. Two or three shots were fired from an ambush at an unarmed boy who was not endangering anyone. No attempt was made to apprehend the three youths, no use was made of nonlethal means – only live fire. These details are important if one is to grasp the scale of the criminality that informs the killing of this boy.
Minutes after we crawled through the fence – which even now, two weeks after the killing, no one has bothered to repair – three IDF jeeps charged at us. They had spotted us with the security cameras.
“Capt. Or,” who introduced himself as the local commander – a good-looking, soft-spoken, all-Israeli young man, the boy next door – asked why we had crossed the fence. “I am the commander here. This is my turf,” he said when the father tried to explain that the fields belong to his family.
“You murdered the boy,” Ezra Nawi, the dedicated activist at Ta’ayush (an Arab-Jewish organization) who was with us, told the officer. “Shoot me. After all, that’s the way you behave here.”
“Talk to me with respect. You are presenting this in a romantic light. You weren’t here and you don’t know what happened,” the captain said. “This is mine, I am the law here, I am the sovereign.”
I tried to explain to Capt. Or that the man in the keffiyeh next to us was the bereaved father.
“There’s nothing personal here,” the captain said, leaving a bit later with his troops after we had returned to the village, on the other side of the fence. The officer did not have a word of regret to offer, and his sleep no doubt remains untroubled. Parting shot
Deir al-Asal al-Foqa is a large, ancient village on the slopes of southern Mount Hebron, opposite Israel’s Lachish district. The entire population belongs to the Shawamreh clan. The compound of the bereaved family consists of two 2-story houses, an animal pen and a courtyard. Posters of the dead boy have been hung everywhere. One particularly meaningful photo shows Yusef, a small boy, blue-eyed, next to the fence on one of his plant-picking excursions. It was taken a few days before his death at the very spot at which he was killed.
Sami, the bereaved father, who is known as Abu Walid in the village and whose real name is Naaf (only his ID card says Sami) is 56 and speaks fluent Hebrew, which he picked up during his long years of working in Israel. He has fathered 18 children from two wives. Yusef was the third youngest.
After having killed his son, Israel has now also revoked the entry permits he and his other sons had so that they could work there. “Your permit is canceled,” Walid, the eldest, was told this week at the checkpoint when he tried to enter Israel, where he worked in construction. His father’s permit was canceled too.
Israel always behaves this way with the families of those it kills, lest they take revenge. Thus it inflicts a double punishment: killing and taking possession.
When we went to the fence, Sami said drily, “First they took my land, then they took my son and now they have taken my work. They have taken everything.”
He shows me his documents of ownership of the land across the fence, where Yusef was killed, and his sons’ entry permits, signed by Capt. Haim Ben Haim from the Tarqumiya office of the Civil Administration. Yusef did not have a permit, because he was too young (though not too young to be killed). On that Wednesday, he had decided to play hooky.
“God sent him to die on that day,” his father says with characteristic acceptance.
Yusef left the house about 6:30 that morning without telling his father where he was going. He met up with his two friends, who are still shell-shocked from the incident; together they went down toward the fence, to pick akub, as young people do in February-March, selling it to a local merchant at 3.50 shekels ($1) a kilo. Only the heart of the plant is picked, for cooking. The three brought scissors to do the work; here they are, old and rusting.
Usually they would do the picking after school, but on that bitter day they decided, for some reason, to skip class. Soldiers had never shot at them before, at most they had stopped the youths, sometimes confiscating their meager harvest.
Shortly after 7 A.M., Sami heard two or three shots from the direction of the fence. He had no idea what had happened. At 8:30 he received a phone call from an Israeli Bedouin acquaintance at Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva. He asked Sami if he knew Yusef a-Shawamreh. “He is my son. What happened?” the father asked. “He was wounded and taken to Soroka.”
Sami rushed to the Meitar checkpoint but was not allowed through, only told that his son had indeed been taken to the hospital. He waited at the checkpoint until 3:30 P.M. His distraught sons, who joined him, were beaten by the security guards, he says. Finally, Yusef’s body arrived, in the private jeep of the Bedouin acquaintance. No one bothered to tell him what had happened.
The body was taken to Al-Alia Hospital in Hebron. Yusef was buried in the village at dusk.
“If I were a judge in Israel and saw what was done to the boy, I would send the soldiers to life in prison,” the bereaved father says now. “There is nothing left for me to say to you.”
Someone has scrawled the inscription “Yusef a-Shawamreh Trail” in red on a rock on the way to the fence. It’s the improvised, new name of this path of death, a memorial to the boy who skipped school to pick plants.