Convoy to Nablus: ‘This is our land!’

Sitting in between boxes of medicines, latex gloves, insulin and needles. Boxes all around me, I can’t see outside. We stop for short moments, and I wonder if the first convoy cars are running into trouble with the Israeli army. Are we at a checkpoint again? Will they let us through this time? Will the convoy be shot at or simply turned back to Jerusalem?

The car doors open, and I stumble outside. The sun is shining and our convoy is stopped at a checkpoint. Ahead of us the convoy representative is negotiating with soldiers to let the trucks of medicine, food and supplies through, into the ‘closed military zone’, into Nablus. The fighter jets are heard overhead.

We wait—

No one really seems to expect that we will be allowed through. No one really expects that we will be able to make it to Nablus. If they shoot at UN convoys, and strip search the ICRC, what will happen to us?

Time goes by. Reports filter in from those trying to convince the soldiers to allow humanitarian assistance to go through. Only two trucks, only two. Which two? No, everyone must be able to pass. Every car in the convoy might not be full of supplies, but we must all have access. All organisations must have access. We must all be allowed into Nablus.

While we wait at the checkpoint, Israeli settler cars drive by us. They drive freely, drive freely to their settlements, their bypass roads free and open for them, as they strangle and squeeze the Palestinians into tiny areas, smothering them with military outposts, closed, destroyed, or inaccessible roads.

Many of them, seeing our international flags and trucks of boxes, give us the finger as they drive by.

As we wait, wait wait wait-

“Go away! Go away all of you!”

We turn to see that some settlers have approached the lead cars of the convoy. One of the settlers, dressed in army uniform, but off duty, starts to shriek at us:

“Go away! You people are disgusting! This is our land! You are helping terrorists, terrorists! What are you doing here, terrorists!”

it was a tirade. A settler woman joined him and they continued to shriek at the crowd:

“These people, these arabs, they do NOT exist! They do not exist!”

“These people, they are murderers, murderers! Let me tell about how they murder the Jewish people! They are murderers, filth!”

“They do NOT exist”

“Go away! This is our land! You have no right to be here, this is OUR land! Read the bible, this is our land! God gave us this land!”

They’ve pushed into the crowd. One of them is armed. It could be really dangerous, but it seems that they are here to yell, and not shoot, at us. Not this time.