The wounds of occupation

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Huwarra checkpoint in the West Bank, 2010 (credit: Harry Gunkel)
A retired pediatrician speaks out about the wounds of the Israeli occupation that are bloodless and invisible, but which will eventually find their way to pierce the heart.

By Harry Gunkel  | Mondoweiss  | Aug 19, 2021

But how will we calculate and honor the misery of despair, the emptiness of careers lost because of forbidden opportunities, the sadness of unrealized dreams, the ruin of relationships?

Between July 26 and 30, three Palestinian teenagers were killed by Israeli forces. During the same week, a fourth died of gunshot wounds suffered some weeks before. These four children were among the many killed in the West Bank so far in 2021, along with 66 children killed by Israel’s attacks on Gaza in May. Within hours, punctuating that week of unabashed violation of international law, human rights and morality, Israeli forces raided the Ramallah offices of Defense for Children International – Palestine in the dark early morning hours of July 29, forcing entry and confiscating computers and confidential client files. On August 16, four Palestinian young men, two of them teenagers, were murdered by Israel forces in Jenin.

More killings of Palestinians without reason, without remorse, without punishment or responsibility. No chance for families to grieve or mourn properly while scrambling to protect other children and waiting for the next assault on their neighborhood or village or city.

Then, this – a report from The Electronic Intifada of Palestinians prevented from visiting Mediterranean beaches despite proper permits and vaccinations. Amid all those deaths, why did this report catch my attention and evoke yet more sadness? Perhaps it was imagining the reactions of the people just wanting a day at the beach – the anger and exasperation at being denied a bit of pleasure, identities slammed in even the most ordinary setting, the efforts to follow the separatist rules thwarted by whim and the insult and indignation of that. That day in Akka, there were no shots fired, no deaths occurred, but there were wounds inflicted. And those wounds can kill.

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