Nablus: We opened the schools

I woke up this morning at 8 o’clock. Lots of cars in the street. This was unusual. I thought the curfew was lifted but I soon figured that people in Nablus were breaking the curfew and taking their kids to school.

Today, all schools in Nablus opened. More than 70 percent of the students in Nablus went to school. The governor of Nablus and the Palestinian Ministry of Education were forced to announce suspending emergency classes and the opening of schools as a direct result of the pressure, the appeals and protest of the kids and their parents.

I called my sister. She told me how hectic it was to bring her sons to school in the morning. Israeli tanks were everywhere in the city. She had to bypass occupied roads until she finally reached their sons’ school. The destroyed Fatimiya girls school, where the children of Nablus held their sit-in on Thursday, was opened today as well. Students were sitting in the few remaining classes that were left undamaged.

Around 10 o’clock residents were running, cars were rushing through the streets, as the occupier called ‘mamnou’ il-tajawol’, reminding Nablus that the Israeli-occupation-imposed curfew was not lifted and that movement in the street was not allowed.

Israeli tanks drove through every street. They located themselves in front of almost every school. The occupiers shot in the air. The occupiers shot tear gas in the Fatimiya school. This school hosts girls between the ages of 6 and 15. They were trapped.

Despite all of this, students remained in their classes. Teaching continued.

The sounds of bullets could be heard in many places. The occupiers stopped cars and told passengers to get out, as the cars were confiscated. My brother told me that people were told that to retain their car they had to pay up to $1,400 as a fine to be paid to the occupier for the ‘crime’ of breaking the curfew. This is approximately 300 percent higher as a parking ticket. ‘Do people really care paying this fine for to get their car back?’ I thought. These cars have been no use in the past six months.

My sister picked up her kids at a quarter past twelve. It was more difficult to pick them up from school. She was afraid but managed. Despite the fear and psychological impact, the kids were happy. They finally got back to school. They broke the curfew and opened their schools.

I can still hear the sounds of bullets. I think that the occupier is trying to send a message to those brave students and their parents warning them. They know that there are no limits for the Israeli soldier. They know about the impunity. But they are defiant and determined to obtain their right to education. Even on their own, without any help from the silent world. What happened this morning strengthened them. They have courage and are determined to win their struggle.

One hour ago, I listed to the radio. Students and parents were calling in. One girl asked: ‘Who will be held responsible when I or any of the students get shot?’

In any case, the mothers and children cannot be blamed. It’s the occupation, stupid. It’s the United Nations, the so-called international community. Those who speak about human rights but not enforce. It’s those who are silent. It’s those who do not care.