Letter from Bethlehem

I truly lost count of how many incursions we have been exposed to accompanied by curfews since March 2002. We have lived through many hardships in our lives under occupation, but never this cruel. I started to ask people around me for the real reason behind being under curfew. Nobody knows! The ironic thing is that the Israeli army is so creative at disrupting our normal lives and making us more miserable and depressed. I think that some Israelis are even delighted to know about what is happening to us, others don’t even know what their government is doing against us, and that others don‚t agree at all with what is going on.

Let me give you an example of how life is for us: Wednesday 10th July, we read on the local TV stations that there will be a curfew-lifting from 9:00-3:00 the next day. Now everybody started to plan their lives according to this time span and announce it on TV, like the weddings, the funerals, the children clubs, the university schedule for the students, etc. Bethlehem started to become alive Thursday morning and everybody was rushing to finish everything at least at 2:45 so as to be home before or at 3:00. I was able to squeeze my lecture at Bethlehem University at 1:00 o’clock because one teacher was not able to make it. At 2:30 the university campus was deserted. I arrived home exactly at 2:50 and at 3:00 o‚clock sharp Bethlehem became like a graveyard again except for a few rushing cars who are trying to race home before the tanks and armored vehicles did their round to make sure that all Bethlehemites are back to their cages. At 3:05, the local TVs announced that curfew will not be imposed until six o‚clock. We had an extension of freedom! How generous of them!

Today, Saturday 13th we were allowed our freedom again from 9:00-5:00 and everybody planned their day accordingly. At 2:00 o‚clock it was announced again that this time span is reduced and curfew will be imposed again at 3:00. When you have the power and the right ally then you can do what you want without being judged. We’ll wait tonight to see if they will lift up curfew tomorrow Sunday or the day after, and then we will plan our day accordingly. And this is how life is for us, Palestinians. If you were to live our life, how would you feel? I’ll leave you to think about it.