We are all ok.
Under cover of the Israeli Attack Forces' (IAF) obliteration of the country of Lebanon, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) visited our neighborhood about 1 hr ago, 11:15pm. A fleet of Israeli armored vehicles surrounded our block. At the time, all we saw from our front porch was a jeep parked smack at the end of our driveway. My two girls, Areen, 12, and Nadine, 6, were alone in the living room watching TV and playing the card game UNO, which they bought last week while in the US.
When they heard soldiers and walkie-talkie jabber outside they came running to advise us that the "jesh" (army) is outside. Both girls have been through this before (too many times!), but each time the fear that this creates is hard to explain. Areen just wants all of us to stay as far away as possible, probably because she is old enough to comprehend that many innocent Palestinians have been killed as bystanders when these lone ranger soldiers enter their wild west - our cities. Nadine basically just becomes confused and wants to ensure that they are not here to enter our home, as they did twice when she was younger.
Anyway, their target tonight was an apartment building, 4 houses down from our home. My Aunt Nameh lives 1 house away from this apartment building from the other side. The Israeli cowboys set off about 5-6 very loud explosive devices, most likely to gain entry to the building. Immediatly all of the lights in the building went on...most residents were sleeping at the time. While some soldiers entered the building others were surrounding the vicinity, like the one in front of our house. Out of no where, and I mean no where, about 10-15 Palestinian neighboorhood youth assumed their traditional role. They rolled trash canisters in the middle of the road and pelted the jeeps with stones. My car, which was on the sidewalk and in the crossfire was spared, no doubt due to the long time experience these youth have resisting this 39 yr old occupation force. The solders did not fire back...a VERY CLEAR example that when ordered to do so they don't fire at stone throwers trying in vein to pierce steel armor. At other times, they aim to kill under the same circumstance.
To make a long story short, Shiekh Fadel Hamdan was abducted and removed from the building and placed in one of the armored jeeps. Taken from in front of his wife and children to an unknown location. Shiekh Fadel happens to be an elected parliamentarian with Hamas, but that did not stop him from being arrested. Why would it? Yesterday the speaker of the Palestinian Legislative council was arrested from this home as well. That makes about 38 or so legislative council members and ministers that are now being held by Israel. No charge, no warrant, no trail...just plain abducted.
A friend of mine in the UK made an interesting comment to me today, before tonight's episode. He asked,
"How is the abduction of the speaker of the palestinian parliament said to be, by an israeli spokesman today, "a legitimate target" because he belongs to Hamas, whilst the abduction of the Israeli soldier in Gaza, who was sitting in a tank that was firing into Gaza indiscriminately is an act of war?" Well, that is one hell of a good question.
When the Israeli solders whisked away, myself and neighboors went to check the damage. I also went to check on my Aunt who was noticeably still shaken up. I can say one thing for sure, the doors and windows will all be replaced before noon prayers tomorow, but the internal damage to the kids and elderly and all of us may never heal.
Well, its dark outside, even street lights are out now. Traffic is nearly zero. Just like a good prision that announces "lights out", we go to bed knowing that the occupation stands at the,
Sam doors of our city, able to enter any home, anytime, and take any action they deem necessary. Only difference is that in this prison there is only one judge, one juror, and one prosecutor...Israel. All this under one law...the LAW OF THE JUNGLE, written by the best US lawyers you've ever seen.
Now, back to more pressing matters...Lebanon, or what's left of it. I wonder if Condoleza Rice has finished her dinner yet...
23 days left in my visa, to be able to remain with my family, in my home, and at my work,
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