Kathleen Christison

Atrocities in the Promised Land

Words fail; ordinary terms are inadequate to describe the horrors Israel daily perpetrates, and has perpetrated for years, against the Palestinians. The tragedy of Gaza has been described a hundred times over, as have the tragedies of 1948, of Qibya, of Sabra and Shatila, of Jenin — 60 years of atrocity perpetrated in the name of Judaism. But the horror generally falls on deaf ears in most of Israel, in the U.S. political arena, in the mainstream U.S. media. Those who are horrified — and there are many — cannot penetrate the shield of impassivity that protects the political and media elite in Israel, even more so in the U.S., and increasingly now in Canada and Europe, from seeing, from caring. 

Defending Palestinian homes: Tears amid the rubble

As we watched helplessly, the two Caterpillars, with pneumatic drills on their long dinosaur arms, systematically punched holes in the front of the house, then in the roof. Billows of dust began to rise as pieces fell off the house, then more as the roof began to fall in. The water tank on the roof was first dented, then punctured, sending out a large spray of water that was visible even from our distant perch. It all took only a few minutes. In fact, only an hour passed between the arrival and the departure of the Caterpillars, probably only 20 minutes from start to finish of the actual demolition. Kathy and Bill Christison write about just one day spent defending Palestinian homes. 

Building the Beit Arabia peace center

We spent three weeks in Jerusalem and the West Bank in August, working on a project to rebuild a Palestinian house demolished by Israeli bulldozers. What we were actually building — under the sponsorship of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) led by Jeff Halper — was a memorial and museum dedicated to the entire house-demolition/house-rebuilding phenomenon in Palestine-Israel. Although this building was not intended as a family home, it was constructed on the site of a home that the Israelis have demolished four times in the last five years, most recently in April 2003. Kathy and Bill Christison report from the occupied West Bank. 

War in a very small place

We sit in a Jerusalem hotel on Friday night — the third night of the war — watching what looks like the beginning of Operation Shock and Awe, or some variation of it, in Baghdad, wondering how our former colleagues on the Iraq Peace Team are faring under this massive bombardment, wondering how frightened they must be, wondering how we would be responding ourselves if we were there. We are not there, but we have another war to report on, another civilian population under attack and siege. We went to Jenin in Palestine on Thursday. Bill and Kathy Christison report on what they are finding on their tour around Palestine. 

Heading for Jerusalem

We have a picture taped above a computer at home, sent to us a month ago on the email circuit, of a naked Palestinian man who has just been strip-searched by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Ramallah and relieved of his clothes altogether, now surrounded by other Palestinian men trying to cover him.