It is difficult, living in the United States and watching the U.S. media, to see exactly what the Israeli invasion looks like.
We may know that more than 100 Palestinians have been killed, but we rarely see their deaths, nor do we often witness the daily acts of humiliation heaped upon hundreds of thousands, nor do we often hear their words.
Maha Sbitani is a Palestinian American living in Ramallah, near Yasser Arafat's compound.
"Today, at 5:00 a.m., I was awakened by what sounded like huge trucks," she wrote on March 30 in an article posted by Media Monitors Network. "When I looked out the window, I saw several tanks. A half hour later, the Israeli soldiers rang the bell. We did not answer. Then I heard them coming up the steps. . . . "My husband opened the door to find endless huge guns pointed at us. They pushed the door open and distributed themselves throughout the house and office. Over fifty heavily armed soldiers were now in the office and home. . . . They started to rip the curtains and break things. . . . They were everywhere, and doing what they felt like doing, including urinating on the floor."
Islah Jad is an Egyptian lecturer at Berzeit University.
"I want to tell you about 'their visits' to our houses. It is not at all different from being visited by a group of gangsters," she wrote in an e-mail on April 3. "They went to some of my very close neighbors' houses. They start by asking all of them to stay in one room with their faces against the wall, then they enter all rooms, they go to the kitchen and collect all the food they have and start eating while they are sitting in the 'salon.' The rest of the food they take it with them. They also take jewels, money, and electronic equipment (cameras, mobile phones, videos, etc.). Two of my neighbors have heart problems. The first thing they did when they knew about their sickness was to go and get their medicaments and destroy it in front of their eyes."
Jad tells of making her way to the hospital in Ramallah to give blood when she saw people being forced to bury their dead in the parking lot.
"The corpses started to arrive, and they put them on the ground for the prayer. Before moving them to their temporary grave, a woman arrived and started to open the white bags to see the face of her son.
Another one was looking for her husband, and one of her children shouted, 'Here it is, I read his name on his bag.'
At this moment, I collapsed, the tears covered my face. . . . "On our way out, a mother and a brother came in a car looking for their son. His corpse was on its way to the collective grave. . . . The mother pulled the corpse and said, 'Let me hug him first.' She entered the car and took his body on her lap. . . The whole scene was hair-raising, and I was blinded by my tears. . . . "I feel tired, frustrated, angry, humiliated, helpless," she went on. "My youngest daughter noticed my state [and] to comfort me, she said, 'If I can guarantee that I would kill with me at least twenty of them I will go for a suicider.' I felt horrified, and with my tears again covering my cheeks, I told her we want to live, we love life, and we have to defeat death. Then she insisted, yes, but how? . . . I could not answer her."
These are but two accounts. There are thousands upon thousands more like them.
Ariel Sharon believes his invasion will vanquish terrorism. Instead, it is humiliating an entire population and, in the process, breeding more terrorism.
Copyright 2002 The Progressive, Madison, WI